Talk:Abraham Lincoln

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Former featured article Abraham Lincoln is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Good article Abraham Lincoln has been listed as one of the History good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on May 5, 2004.

Thomas not Abe's biological father - Rumor allayed[edit]

While Thomas was clearly Abe's familial father there issome evidence that he was not the biological father, e.g. there are discussions that Thomas was castrated before puberty (at 10) and unable to father children.

Troy Cowan, Quora, 11/28/15 cites Emanuel Hertz, The Hidden Lincoln from the letters and papers of William H. Herndon, Blue Ribbon, Inc. 1938, pg 176

This then leaves an open question of who Abraham's biological father was. Troy mentions Samuel Davis..

This online source document NIU Lincoln / Net, items 673, 674 describe Enloe's denial and substantiate Thomas's inability..

These are murky facts and add little to an appreciation of Lincoln's life. Still they should be documented somewhere. The Life main page - Unproven Rumors] is reasonable, but not visible in the Early Life section here.

The [African-American Heritage - Lincoln] section contains similar information.

BTW: the Quora link above is about Lincoln's Mother. If you open it and it resolves to Clinton, something went wrong. The link works for me.

LarryLACa (talk) 00:24, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm not sure what your point is.
The Quora linkage is a user-edited discussion board and does not qualify as a reliable source so that basically cannot be used on Wikipedia.
The lincoln-live linkage is to a single letter dated 1889 from Charles Friend to William Herndon (not the most reliable of biographers) containing many unsubstantiated rumors and hearsay. The one unequivocal statement is by Abe Enslow stating that he was not Abraham Lincoln's father.
By the way, the date of the letter is also somewhat problematic, since it was written in 1889 some 24 years after Abraham Lincoln's death. Charles Friend is recollecting times, places, people from probably 30 or 40 years in the past.
Now as to the claim that Thomas Lincoln was possibly "castrated":
All I can find in the lincoln-live reference is:
"I heard a Cousin of my fathers Judge Jonathan Friend Cessna(*) say that his father Wm Cessna(*) say that Thomas Lincoln could not have been Abes Father for one of Thomas' testacles was not larger than a pea or perhaps both of them wer no larger than peas,..."
So. There is nothing in that source that states Thomas Lincoln was castrated, meaning that testicles were cut-off, removed, or suffered severe damage. Charles Friend, the speaker/letter-writer, is saying that he (while probably a child or young man) heard a cousin of the speaker's father - this Judge - say that his (the Judge's) father said that maybe one or both of Thomas Lincoln's testicles were small. Maybe at least one. Maybe therefore he could not have fathered Abraham Lincoln, but this is not true in and of itself. The smallness of a man's testicles don't prove that a man is sterile. Besides, this "testimony" is hearsay at best, not even a good oral tradition or history. It's the speakers' recollections of what the speaker's relative said that the relative heard the relative's father assert. At some point in the past. But we don't know when. Or how often.
(*) - comment: Jonathan Friend Cessna lived from 1804-1885, William Cessna lived from 1776-1866, Thomas Lincoln from 1778-1851. The judging as to the size of Thomas Lincoln's testicles would had to have taken place at least 38 years before the letter was written, spoken about by William Cessna at least 23 years before the letter was written, and remembered by Jonathan Friend Cessna at least 2 decades after the fact,
Historian Edward Steers, Jr. dissects the various rumors and assertions that collected around Lincoln's legitimacy in Chapter Two - "Lincoln's Father - The Paternity of Abraham Lincoln" - of his book Lincoln Legends: Myths, Hoaxes, and Confabulations Associated with Our Greatest President. His building upon the work of William E.Barton and Steers' own scholarship in laying forth the various claims and seeing if they stand up to careful scrutiny should lay any questions about Thomas Lincoln actually being Abraham Lincoln's father to rest.
Frankly, in my opinion, the various assertions mentioned in your post above have no place in Abraham Lincoln, I think the "rumors" section in the Early life article is sufficient. If you disagree, I suggest you open up an WP:RFC on this talk page to see what the consensus from the editorial community is. Shearonink (talk) 04:24, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
Agree with Shearonink, and for the record, I will note that the whole of the section is bloated, so someday I hope some great and bold editor really takes their editing pen to it. Alanscottwalker (talk) 14:16, 24 November 2016 (UTC)
I also agree with Shearonink--leave it out. Rjensen (talk) 17:25, 24 November 2016 (UTC)

To all who have contributed to this talk page, my sincerest Thank you! When I opened this item, I had let myself be provoked by rumors. In the contemporary landscape of dis-information and 'false' news, the need to rebut what is not true, and find that rebuttal easily, is becoming as essential as digesting the base information itself. If I had been able to find a page where this rumor (among many more) was refuted, this would have been a trivial discussion. LarryLACa (talk) 01:56, 30 November 2016 (UTC)

Noted historians - Thomas Lincoln article[edit]

I worked on the Thomas Lincoln article three years ago, before I knew not to group citations at the end of a paragraph. There are also places where multiple sources are cited unnecessarily. So, I am going through and making changes to address those issues in the article.

It would be helpful, though, at the same time to use noted historians for references. Would someone mind taking a look at Thomas Lincoln#Sources and seeing if there is someone used as a source that should not be. For instance, Carl Sandburg often has good detail about AL's life. Would he be considered a good source - or is it better to use a more modern historian?

It would seem to me that people that may be included as good sources are:

I don't know about

  • Carl Sandburg - someone I've considered a noted Lincoln biographer, but I don't know the extent to which his positions may have been discounted by modern historians - use him, particularly for details
  • Charles H. and Mary Coleman may use him- this is a self-published book, so I think we want to replace it, right?
  • Don Davenport - ok for locations
  • Bradley R Hoch
  • Ward Hill Lamon - I think I've seen that historians have discounted some of his points, but I'm not sure
  • Brian Thornton - author of 101 things you didn't know - fact check with Burlingame
  • Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln by Wilson, et. al.
  • some others just used once

Your input would be greatly appreciated to help improve the article!--CaroleHenson (talk) 18:18, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

Sandburg is early 20th century and is quite good on details but misses or ignores larger picture. Yes, do use him -- readers can easily find his books at thir local public library. My opinion of * Bradley R Hoch = not useful; Don Davenport = ok for locations; Coleman is a good historian (Chair of the Department of History at Eastern Illinois University) and can be used ok; Ward Hill Lamon = negative --all his good ideas have long ago been used by Sandburg, Beveridge, Randall & others; i would use Brian Thornton = for fun stuff only and then doublecheck w Burlingame--he makes lots of mistakes. * David Hackett Fischer seldom writes about Lincoln. Guelzo is old fashioned but ok on Lincon and good on religion. in my opinion. Rjensen (talk) 18:48, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
Rjensen Thanks, that's very helpful - I added comments in underline, and struck out the ones to replace above - just so I can keep it straight.
Fischer wrote Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America and it's used as a source twice in the Thomas Lincoln article. Once about the Lincoln's intermarriage with Quakers and another time about Nancy Hanks Lincoln being superior to Thomas Lincoln. It sounds like I should find a different source for that info - or remove it if I cannot find one. Is that right?--CaroleHenson (talk) 20:06, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
Never mind, I'll replace Fischer.--CaroleHenson (talk) 22:15, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
Keep Fischer, he's a major scholar. Avoid Herndon's Informants -- that's all primary sources & hard to evaluate. All the good material in it is in the main biographies. Rjensen (talk) 22:25, 29 November 2016 (UTC)
Oh, ok. Thanks a bunch!--CaroleHenson (talk) 22:39, 29 November 2016 (UTC)

McClellan 1864 election.[edit]

The articcla says, "While the Democratic platform followed the "Peace wing" of the party and called the war a "failure", their candidate, General George B. McClellan, supported the war and repudiated the platform". But every source I've ever read states that McClellan vowed to end the war. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:306:B845:4D50:0:0:0:48 (talk) 20:59, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

Most officers "vowed to end the war", but was McClellan actually opposed to the country going to war initially? After the stunning defeat at Bull Run, Union morale was very low. Lincoln signed two bills, each authorizing the enlistment of 500,000 men, a million men. McClellan was instrumental in organizing the new recruits and turning them into soldiers and in the process restored morale. This doesn't seem to add up to the idea that McClellan opposed the war. It would seem any high ranking officers who openly opposed the war would not be chosen for important command positions in that war. Seems like easy math. Unless there is a RS that says in no uncertain terms that McClellan "opposed the war", we can safely assume he was behind the Union war effort. -- Gwillhickers (talk) 19:28, 12 February 2017 (UTC)

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