Talk:Sexuality of Abraham Lincoln/proposal
C.A. Tripp's perspective on the sexuality of Abraham Lincoln is disputable. Since the word "homosexual" was not used until after Lincoln's death, however, it is not clear to what extent modern concepts of sexuality apply.
Relationships with women
- Lincoln's stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, said that Lincoln "never took much interest in the girls."
Note that his contemporaries suggest a strong but controlled passion for women.
- While Lincoln was devastated over the death of Ann Rutledge, his love for her is disputed by many. An anonymous poem about suicide published locally exactly three
years after her death is widely attributed to Lincoln.
- His courting of Mary Owens was diffident. Around the time she rejected his handwritten, dutiful marriage proposal, Lincoln wrote to a friend: "I knew she was oversize, but now she appeared a fair match for Falstaff."
- His marriage with Mary Todd, his wife, with whom he had four children.
Relationships with men
- Lincoln met Joshua Fry Speed in Springfield, Illinois, in 1837. They lived together for four years, they shared a bed and developed a friendship. They would be friends until Lincoln's death.
Joshua Speed married Fanny Hennings February 15, 1842, and the two men seem to have consulted each other about married life. Despite having some political differences over slavery, they corresponded for the rest of their lives and Lincoln appointed Joshua's brother, James Speed, to his cabinet as Attorney General.
- Captain David Derickson was Lincoln's bodyguard and intimate companion between September 1862 and April 1863. They shared a bed during the absences of Lincoln's wife, until Derickson was promoted in 1863 .
Derickson was twice married and fathered ten children. Their sleeping arrangements raised eyebrows of one Elizabeth Woodbury Fox, the wife of Lincoln's naval aide. After hearing the rumor, she wrote in her diary for November 16, 1862, "Tish says, Oh, there is a Bucktail soldier here devoted to the president, drives with him, and when Mrs. L is not home, sleeps with him. What stuff!"
Sexuality will never be confirmed
It is unlikely the exact nature of Lincoln's sexuality will ever be either confirmed, no matter how much evidence is accumulated on either side, and it will likely remain an issue of interest and contention as long as Lincoln's name is remembered.
References and footnotes
- Jonathan Ned Katz, Love Stories: Sex Between Men Before Homosexuality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001). On Lincoln and Speed see chapter 1, "No Two Men Were Ever More Intimate," pages 3-25. For more on Lincoln and sexuality see the notes to this chapter.
- Abraham Lincoln and Ann Rutledge, John Y. Simon
- The Suicide Poem, New Yorker article
- Library of Congress source document and commentary
- Tripp, C.A. : The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln (NY, 2005), p.1
- Tripp, Ibid
- Hay, John (1890). Abraham Lincoln: a History. Unknown parameter
- Michael F. Bishop, "All the President's Men," Washington Post February 13, 2005; Page BW03 online
- Martin P. Johnson, "Did Abraham Lincoln Sleep with His Bodyguard? Another Look at the Evidence," Journal of the Abraham LincolnAssociation Summer 2006 online
- Book Questions Abraham Lincoln's Sexuality - Discovery Channel
- "The sexual life of Abraham Lincoln" by Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, Jan. 12, 2005 (requires subscription or viewing an ad before reading)
- The Lincoln Bedroom: A Critical Symposium Claremont Review of Books, Summer 2005
- Exploring Lincoln's Loves Scott Simon in conversation with Lincoln scholars Michael Chesson and Michael Burlingame. National Public Radio, February 12, 2005