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tv   Abraham Lincoln and Joshua Speed  CSPAN  May 21, 2017 8:00pm-9:01pm EDT

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weekend on c-span3. >> announcer: a history professor at psychoanalyst, charles strozier, discusses abraham lincoln letters. he is the author of, "your friend forever, a. lincoln: the enduring friendship of abraham lincoln and joshua speed." the lincoln group sponsored this hour-long event in washington, d c. [applause] charles: thank you. it is a great honor to be here. i am very impressed with what a robust group you have and all your activities. you take trips and go to the lincoln sites. it is wonderful. in mid-december, my wife and i got a dog, a maltese dog.
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we named it lincoln. at least, i named it lincoln, and my wife agreed reluctantly. it started recognizing itself in the mirror. it recognized something that looks like another dog in the mirror. -- when wequence was watched nature shows or he saw a will or a there and he would run over to the tv and growl, and at the end of january trump came on the tv and growled. [laughter] charles: i thought that was a smart dog. i want to try an experiment. it is dealing -- thank you very much for your nice comments. one of the dilemmas of my book is that the punchline comes
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towards the end with the speed correspondents. andn't emphasize and not -- not the significance of this correspondence. this is when the only people he opened up to and totally trusted. notletters, lincoln did keep speed's letters. but speed cap everything he got from lincoln. are, without question, the most important source of insight into lincoln's inner life. bey also happen to authentically in lincoln's words and a primary source. this is in the context of what
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has emerged in the last couple of decades as for me a inressing false positivism the lincoln field. in the last century have never been fully appreciated. themselves, speed did not have children, but they ended up in the hands of his nephew. 19-teens soldhe them to a great collector who shared them with carl sandburg in the 90's. then he died in 1952, the springfield library bought them 52,800 which was this deal. but they had been in the public realm before that. herndon was carrying out
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his oral history he asked speed for a copy of these letters. it was the famous letter from and june 22 1865, and then november 30, 1865. copies of letters -- the letters to herndon. that is why he had them and they were available to herndon. also another ended up with those copies in 1894 in a 10 volume biography. they published the letters in their works in 1905. they were in the public realm. for 400 years nobody knew what to do with them. nobody knew what to do with them. beginning with lord turn with in ood in 1917. chernw
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carl sandberg was the first one to get at them. he did not know what to do with it. all of the biographies from comments, --then .oris kearns goodwin and others whether full-length biographies or biographical studies, all of them use parts. they quote a passage but nobody dives into the letters themselves. in my first job in 1972 in springfield, illinois. i had gotten my phd in european
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history so i stumbled on lincoln , what else are you going to do in springfield, illinois except study lincoln. i was 28 years old. in 1973i stumbled on these letters and i said, wow, amazing. i started working on them and thinking about them. after 1976, what convinced me that i should stay with this was i got to know the editor of the collected works. garrulousonderful type. he said you have to keep at this. tosaid carl sandburg used tell me he did not know what to do with these letters. somebody has to really interpret these letters. i had to back off from them because i did not feel i was qualified. that was all very encouraging. i then wrote it as a chapter in my first book. realized it was
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much too abbreviated because what it set in motion was out of that book, because we slept in the same bed for four years, what it occasions was the stuff about gay lincoln. i'm responsible. part of writing this book is to atone for that sin and to show why that hold. is wrong. but you can't just say it is wrong, you have to show it in detail. , manyole literature others have written books about gay lincoln taking off from nothing and going nowhere. that in turn has occasioned another literature in the last 20-25 years, a defense of lincoln against the image of gay lincoln. that ourey figures in
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books by two writers with a high testosterone lincoln. matilda edwards becomes the foil in that soil. -- that story. i've been watching this unfold for many decades becoming increasingly frustrated and feeling strongly that everybody has it wrong. it was time to revisit this whole subject. i writelike to say, another book about lincoln every 40 years. -- in want to do in lucky s, iing at these literature want to attempt what the french of text,xplication looking closely at the texan than explaining the meaning of what it is about. the first letter is dated january 3, 1842. it happens that there is no
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postmark or date on this letter. the reason is that it wasn't mailed. speed inad visited kentucky and gone to see his plantation in farmington in late august or september. he was a very large slave owner. speed had come back to springfield -- more about that, they were living together above the store where they had been before speed had left the non-back to kentucky. there is this wonderful image as they are about to part that speed is about to leave in springfield and go back to kentucky. lincoln is writing the letter that he is going to get to him as he departs. my image is he probably stored it in his top hat after sitting in the law offices working all day, he would write it, and has the left he handed it to him. the date in the collected works
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, and he hasre january 3? it is in parentheses because there is no postmark. he is actually wrong. it matters that it is wrong inause speed road to herndon september 22, 1866 that he remained in springfield until the first of january 1842. that means he left on the first. why does that matter? it matters because what it elicited psychologically was an anniversary reaction, particularly on the part of lincoln because the letters are from lincoln. we actually know much more, thankfully. i would rather know more about lincoln than, but i want to know about both of them.
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it is a very important anniversary reaction, to a day lincoln always called "the fatal first." lincoln road, speed, i have responded to your last letter. it gave me more pleasure than the total sum that i have i brokeced since when up with mary todd. since then i should have been entirely happy but for the never absent idea that there is still one unhappy life contributed to make so. his sense of remorse having broking the -- broken the engagement and leaving mary unhappy. , i'm sure engagement most of you are familiar with the story, mary had come to live in springfield in late 1839 to live with her elder sister. lift inh edwards, they
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the mansion on aristocracy hill or quality hill as the locals called it in springfield. clear thaty it is they began that winter. things in thehe recent literature is the denigration of mary. i find that amazing because she was a wonderfully interesting, sprightly, exciting, educated, she was very political, she could quote poetry at great lengths. she was this ride this one friend has certainly very pretty with her blue eyes and complexion. she had a perfect arm and hand. she was a bright faced eager
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girl, warmhearted, interested in everything, joyous in life. mary was the very creature of excitement. she can make a bishop forget his prayers. she was a wonderful conversationalist. immediately lincoln fell for her. elizabeth, mary's older sister with whom mary was living during this courtship drama and later, is by far and away the best witness to this unfolding drama and the significance of lincoln's love for mary. she said that lincoln was charmed with mary's wit and fascinated with her will, nature, and culture. i have happened in a room where
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they were sitting and mary let the conversation. lincoln would listen and gaze on her as if drawn by some superior power you resistible he so. he -- resistible irresistibly so. there is no question that they were engaged to be married. lincoln talks about the broken engagement. what baffled everybody in late december, lincoln broke it off. reason he talked about the first of january, 1841 as the fatal first, that was the day they were to be married. the broken engagement was a week or 10 days before that. the anniversary reaction a year later is twofold psychologically
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because the other thing that happened on that date is lincoln separated from speed, with whom he had been living and sleeping in the same bed for the previous 3.5 years since he first arrived in springfield from new salem. he moved upstairs to the male dorm where herndon lived for two years and slept in another bed. other people came in and out. happened, i go into this in great detail in the book, what happened as a background was speed, because his father was died and he was head of the family and they needed him back in louisville to run a plantation, he had made the decision in late summer that he was going to leave. the process of getting rid of the store was long and laborious. the real shadow that hung over lincoln throughout the fall of 1840 was the imminence of
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speed's the parts are. the notice of the store and the separation of their mutual head appeared in the local paper "the springfield journal" on january 1, 1841. when i argue is that separation from speed is what through lincoln into a panic that led him to be confused about all kinds of issues of love and intimacy and let him to break off his engagement with mary todd. in this first letter if you look at it, he goes on and he says, as i know you do, feeling as i know you do, he knows what speed feels. speed'shimself into
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existence. he extends himself into speed's life. on, is it reasonable that he will feel very badly sometime between this and the final consummation of your purpose. what is the purpose? speed has left springfield because he is going back to kentucky to marry on february 15. net -- noun consummation in this context is interesting, to say the least. why he says it is reasonable that you will feel very badly yet are because of three special causes. i just want to say one thing i forgot to mention, the fact of handing him the letter gives the
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talisman, akes it a magical thing that speed is supposed to carry with them and hold him. whenever he feels badly and feels depressed he can take a letter out and read it and presumably feel better. it is a further way of connecting the two men as they park and as speed goes off to marry fanny in kentucky. about how he has a naturally nervous temperament. hypo,n shortened it to which he talked about in some of his letters as an affectionate term. basically it is depression. feelse feels -- what he is that they are both depressed
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-- i have so many pieces of paper i can't find what i want to find. ton lincoln had gone kentucky in late summer of 1841 , almost the minute he arrived back in kentucky with his friend, speed at that point suddenly and very dramatically fell in love with fanny and asked her to marry him. it only could happen for speed with lincoln at his side. thed later wrote to herndon following, in the summer of 1841 i became engaged to my wife. he, lincoln, was here on a visit when i courted her. strange to say, something of the same feeling which i regarded as so foolish and him took possession of me and kept me very unhappy from the time of my engagement until i was married. himself words, speed aboutpressed, anxious
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intimacy, anxious about love, -- he was not melancholy and oppressed in the weight lincoln was, but as soon as speed himself was engaged, he adopted the same foolishness that lincoln had adopted when he is becoming engaged to marry top. -- mary todd. about,s things to worry bad weather, getting busy, but the third is the rapid and near approach of that crisis on which all your thoughts and feelings concentrate, which is of course the imminent marriage on february 15. page, samenext letter, i know the painful point with you is at all times when you are unhappy. it is an apprehension that you do not love her as he should.
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just before i give some theory about this, go to the letter on february 3, the next page. desk -- two passages there in the next paragraph. forever banishll those horrid thoughts about the truth of your affection for her. the death scenes of those we love our painful enough, that those we are prepared for and expect to see, they happen to all and all know they must happen. they are not an unlooked for sorrow. should you be destined for an early grave, it is great consolation to know that she is so well-prepared to meet it. there's no indication there was anything wrong with fanny. [laughter] this is all in his imagination. what is going on? this is a series of profoundly
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important contradictions in lincoln's thoughts. two parts to it, what is, those you most loved died. this is when he is projecting onto speed. those you most love die. and, you bear in your relationship to the person who dies, you bear some unconscious responsibility for that debt. .- that death what is evoked in speed leaving and marrying fanny and by the fact of marrying fanny means lincoln loses speed. he wants them to marry, you will see the double role that he played, and it you folks, to be certainly we don't have much evidence, but it evokes what must've been the serious
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drama lincoln suffered when his mother died when he was nine. was -- he was it her beloved son. rich andionship was abiding. she was a wonderful mother, then she suddenly died. his sister died which he was 18. i don't know how germanic that was. the next great trauma is when and died in 1835. this was a serious relationship. it has been reconsidered for a long time. middle of the 20th century it was regarded as a lot of bunk, but because of new work in the 1980's, everybody recognizes it was a very serious relationship. and he wasy died absolutely distraught and was
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suicidally depressed. , probably it evokes the death of his mother. you're been to new salem, it is just 25 cottages spread out on a dirt road. his friends set up a suicide watch. they watched him all the time. he told a federal legislator that he was afraid to carry a pocket knife. noticed the significance of lincoln telling a friend in the legislature that lincoln was afraid to carry a pocket knife, that is because he was afraid he would commit suicide. he was afraid he would slip his wrist. that is why in psychiatric hospitals you are not allowed to have a pin, pencil, not even a night. -- let alone a knife. then lincoln in january 1841 a broken engagement and separation from speed.
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they split from their common bed and left a couple months later. he was staying with the butlers. they took away razors and knives. was particularly fond of lincoln. they were on a rotating suicide watch. herndon was hallucinating. in clinical depression, people often hallucinate. lincoln was hallucinating in the middle of january 1841. somebody said he was crazy as a loon, because a he stopped his law practice and stop attending the legislature. it was a very serious event. moving on -- where am i, i'm still on the february 3 letter. he said, why if you do not love her, although you might not wish
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her death, perhaps this point is no longer a question with you and by dwelling upon it is a rude intrusion on your feelings. if so, you must part. you know the hell i have suffered on that point and how tender i am. this is a reiteration of the same theme, those you love die. makes speed's dilemma, courtship, and relationship with fanny on extension of his own. he is speed, speed is lincoln. so thoroughly has made speeds dilemma hispeed's own he can experience it vicariously as his own experience. that is really the power of that passage.
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tension begins to mount. you get to the february 13 letter. mounting isthat is as the marriage approaches. the first of february, when this shall reach you, you would have been fanny's has been several days. ceaseow i will never being a friend while i know how to do anything. he writes the letter knowing that speed will read it after the promise marriage and consummation of the marriage. he is clearly highly agitated by knowing that that was about to talismanic quality of the letter. speed will be reading it in that context. at the end of the letter, there
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is a ps which has been controversial. he says, ps, i've been quite a man ever since you left. it could mean he is going off to prostitutes. i've a whole chapter in my book about sex and prostitution. some people don't get it. it is very important because all of the stories about lincoln owing to prostitutes are from 50 years later and thirdhand. often they are muddled in the mind of herndon. clearly, if you really unpack it , and you have to do is story by story by story, they are all lincoln jokes i got lost in translation by herndon who had no sense of humor. lincoln love to make fun of him and tell his stories purposely. the famous one is where he went a tripara falls after back from washington in 1848. he wrote a note to himself, these false, they were here when christ walked the earth and they were here when the ancient
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greeks were here. he was really moved by the falls. herndon asked him, what did you think of niagara falls? lincoln said, i just wondered where all that water came from. [laughter] charles: he was making fun of them. i have been quite a man since he left, being manly in the 19th-century was to be assertive and to be in charge. when he broke up the marriage, he wanted speed to take a letter to mary. speed said, are you kidding #you can't -- are you kidding? you can do that. you have to deliver the letter yourself. there were tears, and mary sat on his lap, and they kissed. the manliness of that letter has to be understood in that context.
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the next letter, february 25. this letter to speed is the turning point in the emotional life in abraham lincoln. it is the single most important personal letter that he ever wrote. he begins, dear speed, i on the day he went down to your brother's place. i delayed answering it until i received the promised one on the 16th. they had already indicated that he was going to write him on the 16th. why the 16th? andot married on the 15th consummated the merits that night and fell out of bed in order to write lincoln on the 16th. the promised one on the 16th. it came last night. anxiety it with intense and trepidation, so much that although it turned out better than i expected, i had hardly yet at the distance of 10 hours.
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this is 33-year-old lincoln. this is not some 17-year-old adolescent infatuation. this is 33-year-old abraham lincoln. 10 hours of the reading of the successful consummation of the marriage his hand is still shaking. no doubt that is the particular misfortune of both you and me to dream dreams are exceeding what anything earthly can realize. at the end of letter there is an interesting paragraph. he says, i write another letter in closing this which you can show fanny if she desires it. i do this has she would think it strangely perhaps should he tell her that i -- you received no letters from me. a conspiracy. he is a friend of fanny's. in one of the earlier letters he
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talked about beautiful black eye fanny. eyed fanny. regret tomoved, i learn that you resolve not to return to illinois, i should be lonely without you. this is of no emotional consequence. so, what is the rest of the story? the rest of the story is, this vicarious experience of love and intimacy on the part of lincoln, vicariously being able to live through speed in realizing love and intimacy freed up linking -- lincoln to again returned to mary who had graciously waited for him. that was a big deal to break on engagement. in the 19 century, you were exposed, tainted, used goods.
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she was very vulnerable. wasealized that and he aware, he never stopped loving her, he always felt that i could never reach out for her. but, she waited. it took him a little while. he wrote to speed on july 4. , isays it is painful acknowledge the correctness of your advice. before i can result to do one thing or the other, i must regain my confidence in my ability to keep my result when they are made. inability i once prided myself and it is the chief gem of my character, i lost it, how and when you know too well. sometime after that july, september, het or went back in reconnected with mary probably through a friend and his wife. they start recording in secret, they had to do it in secret because it had been a springfield brouhaha.
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gossipy springfield. they started courting and october 5 they were engaged to be married again in secret. lincoln wrote one final letter, not his last letter, but another letter to speed. he said, i want to ask you a closer question, are you now in feeling as well as judgment glad you are married as you are? from anybody but me this would be an impudent question not to be tolerated, but i know you will tolerated in me. please answer as quickly as possibly. clearly, the answer satisfied him because they got married november 4 in the edwards home. letterlater he wrote a -- a business letter and ended it by saying nothing new here except my marrying which is a matter of profound wonder. two things happened with his
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marriage, he remained depressed. he was always moody, he was always melancholy, but lincoln's moodiness and melancholy was the source of his profundity. one can't reach those levels of profundity. one can deal as he did with the widescale death and disruption -- disruption without being able to touch those levels of sadness in the cell. however, he was never again clinically depressed after he married and after his experience of being freed from the issues of intimacy and love through his vicarious experience of speed's courtship and marriage to fanny. that is the end of his clinical depression. on the other hand and relatedly, the relationship with speed lost its emotional significance. almost immediately speed no longer mattered.
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handled some of his remaining business and legal issues in springfield, they even got into a spat in 1846. therote a letter you assign suspension of our correspondence to a true philosophical cause, it must be confessed that we allowed a friendship such of our -- such as ours to die by degrees. let me conclude by reading you a couple of paragraphs. just two paragraphs. the friendship of lincoln and speed, certainly one of the most interesting in the 19th century and perhaps a paradigm attic friendship,e
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discussed by aristotle and the friendship was loving, noble, and exalted in the truest of senses. in psychological terms, the friendship while not sexual, with something more than platonic. it came to occupy a third level of friendship, moral, spiritual, but skirted close to the physical. in fact, in that bed together for four years there had to have been an occasional touching, a rolling over in a dream, a cost arm, a cramped leg that introduced a familiar intimacy between them much greater than either man experience in their the circle of friends in store, politics, or socializing. skirting close to the physical without crossing the line into the sexual seemed to draw them into a psychological universe of acceptance and trust. ofy became bonded in ways
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men in war, who live and die together, and what exists in many other social and historical context. the one thing that never returned after lincoln's friendship with speed was his clinical depression and suicidality. whenever he went through as a child, and there was plenty of evidence he was desperately sad after his mother's death, he was clearly a troubled young man in his late 20's and early 30's. he fell into two major depressions, in the fall of 1835, and the second in january of 1841. he was suicidal during both. in 1845, he talked about carrying a knife and wondered about distracted. in 1841, friends stood watch anything,nd remove like his razor, that he might use to kill himself. his experience of unsuccessful quest for love and intimacy
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indirectly through his friend speed in 1842, lincoln found his emotional compass. with this new sense of self cohesion, he managed to secure his own place in ship that realized his aspirations. he was never again suicidal. he remains moody and was often melancholy, but found important emotional strategies in his humor and creativity, not to things that that his self-esteem. joshua speed became the most important brand of the most important public figure in the country. [applause] charles: we have time. supposed to stand and somebody ships the boom -- s hifts the boom to you. audience member: you hinted that
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you were going to tell us their are people who want to argue there was a gay relationship between speed and lincoln are misguided, would you? charles: larry kramer, they gay 2005 said ak in friend of his had found a diary kept ined cap -- cap -- the floorboards of the store during the years he lived with lincoln. all of us were rather interested in this diary. the diary details their sexual encounters and how lincoln came to bed at night and on and on. the problem is, the building in toch the store existed burnt
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the ground in 1855. there is a reference in the springfield journal about this fire. neverrse, larry kramer produced the diary because it never existed. what seemed to be a primary source was not only fictional but a total lie. , i don't want to go through all the evidence, but most of it is of that character. we more general issue is have to change our whole way of thinking to imagine both homosexuality and the history of homosexuality and male friendship in order to understand the 19th century. in the present, because our attitudes are different, in the present two men who talk about their everlasting love for each other who lived together, who sleep in the same bed are
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presenting themselves to the world as homosexuals. it is accepted, no big deal, that is what they are. you wouldn't talk like that, you wouldn't act like that unless that was your identity and that is how you were living. in the 19th century, things were radically turned around so that actual homosexuality was illegal, regarded as low some -- was asome, walt whitman homosexual in the closet. you could get arrested. i've spent time reading the history of homosexuality. personal, psychological struggles that gay men had. against male
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sexualityand actual was as firmly drawn as any boundary that could possibly exist, socially. on the other hand, expressive male fondness for each other was not only allowed, but encouraged. this was even more so between women and the history of female friendship was the first to get studied in these lines. i looked at it with man, obviously. lincoln and as speed, to talk about their everlasting love for each other was normal and encouraged to be expressive about intimacy, connection, and love. that is the way to see this relationship. as long as the boundary against sexuality was absolutely and strictly maintained. sleptaid, herndon upstairs in this room for two full years. they were never alone in that room in the 3.5 years they were
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together. if there had been actual sexuality, it would have been revealed. no witness in gaza the springfield at the time or later in any newspaper, any oral history, anywhere anytime by anybody, nobody hinted that there was anything untoward in this relationship. the only person who is jealous is herndon who wanted to be as close to lincoln as speed was. you can sort of feel his jealousy. interesting more texture, wants, and collocated relationship if one -- and complicated relationship if one takes it out of this realm of sexuality, because there is zero evidence for his -- for it. it opens up a new way of thinking about male friendship in the 19th century. bromance, 19th century bromance.
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we can have a drink later. audience member: reading some letters, man-to-man letters of the 19th century, they are almost sensual in expressing and a little unnerving to see people talk about such emotion in their correspondence. clearly it was not unusual to express what you have described. charles: lots of examples. audience member: my question -- charles: and the beginning of "moby dick," right? audience member: you mentioned lincoln taking on personal responsibility for the death of those near to him. can you project from what you that this further affected him with the death of his children, with the death of friends, or in wartime did this
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enhance the moodiness, the depression that he experienced as a result and any conclusions? founds: once lincoln himself, got grounded, got past these debilitating issues of love and intimacy, he was able to realize his in potential and grow into the figure whom we know. because he was the leader during the civil war and was the person who had set in motion and stuck to the policies that led to that war. wrestled with a profound sense of responsibility for that. that is the larger historical context in which one sees played out. as a younger man, you see lincoln's sensitivity to those who he most loved die. there were essays written about
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lincoln's fascination with mcbeth. he loved shakespeare and mcbeth was his favorite play. , that the reasonably fascination in the middle of the representedcbeth" the sense of responsibility and awareness of his personal role in setting in motion the war and he wrestled with it. he talked a lot in his private musings and his letters about how sad it was and how terrible that all these young men had to die. indirectaside from cbeth,"e like liking "ma shakespeare's great play about guilt. he was also able in his speeches to draw on the deepest of all
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possible sources of deathtanding of what the meant. that is what the gettysburg address is all about, drawing on an oration he has read -- had read as a child and memorize. the same thing with the third and fourth paragraph of the second inaugural, where he shows the deepest impact that understanding of suffering. his own experience and feelings and insight into the larger collectivity because it comes out of his very deep self experience. audience member: mary has gotten lincolnal from several
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scholars. for mary is disdain unconscionable. even for a 19th century woman, mary was ahead of her time as far as being well educated and knowing politics. partact that for a large she had to get by herself because lincoln was out on the road. so many things she had to go through. have you ever considered writing a book about mary? charles: in my first book, i have a long chapter about mary. the strongest criticism that one reviewer said was, it is a but the bestook, chapter is about mary. point of that early book,
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when i try to dwell on is their relationship and the meaning of their relationship. yes, mary has gotten a raw deal. i was in springfield in the spring giving a talk about this book. the latest in springfield is they are talking about how mary 3,uced lincoln on november and therefore she had already had sex with him and that is why they had to have a rushed marriage and that is why the baby was born nine months later. well, babies, nine months later, so it is ridiculous. , they both -- mary lost her mother when she was seven. both had the childhood traumas of mother loss, undoubtedly part of the unconscious connection they had with each other. recognized with an
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interesting, vivacious, outgoing woman she was. she was very political and fluent in french. clay,olitical, new henry if she had been a man she would've absolutely been in politics. fragile than lincoln. her experience of her children willie,irst eddie than and her husband did not die in her arms, but she certainly held his head. after that she did unravel. that is a long way from the texture of their marriage in 1840's and early 1850's. when lincoln was totally devoted to her and absolutely loved her. in this new literature, people ask how could lincoln have loved such an obnoxious woman? what a ridiculous question to ask. of course he loved her.
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and i would like to say, lincoln married up, and that is important to appreciate. recognizing that mary did unravel in her later years and become very troubled psychologically. in the midst of these letters -- audience member: lincoln gave a talk considered one of the secret -- sequence of addresses, this was his address on temperance they came in the middle of these letters. what does that address tell us about lincoln's state of mind india. of these letters -- state of mind in the period of these letters? address the temperance just before the 1842 letter to ends with hailing
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rationality and learning how to control impulses, we must be rational and he goes on and on. both in the temperance speech and the young man in the lyceum speech. if you read them psychologically, he is talking about can i control my own feelings and impulses. particularly the temperance address is not lincoln's greatest address. alcoholismesting, was a serious problem in the 19th century. in the 1830's there was a higher consumption about all than ever in american history. people being drunk and abandoning their families. children's best children without fathers or income was a serious issue. he had empathy for them. it was a serious address, but the personal issue of talking to
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the washingtonian society, the early aa, the washingtonian society. he shows empathy these -- empathy for drunks. in terms of lincoln's humanity, that is what comes across in the temperance speech. said thatember: you speed and his wife never had children, but they had a lot of nieces and nephews that they spent a lot of time with. for whynow any reason they did not have children, that was unusual at the time? charles: there must have been some issue. a certainly love one another. latertters that came better in the historical society , they are loving and intimate. they were very fond of each other. sheied in 1882, sheila -- lived until 1902. he became a hugely successful businessman, hotels and railroads. until 1865, two
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years after the emancipation proclamation. kentucky never ratified the 13th amendment. he got rid of his final two slaves in 1865. 1850's, he stopped working the plantation and he went to become a businessman. he owned as many as 15 slaves, most of which he lent out. 84-5 for household servants. he was a very, quintessential kentuckians in the 1850's. absolutely loyal to the union. distressed about the mountain -- mounting sectarianism, lincoln's best rent, but a slave owner. father, john, and in one of the biggest slaveowners in kentucky. at one point in 1839 owned as many as 62 slaves, a big occasion.
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this is the context in which he grew up. i was talking about this earlier, there were 12 kids. joshua and fanny and i have children, but all the other brothers and sisters had kids. that is why there is a speed art museum in kentucky. speed is a very prominent family and have remained that in kentucky. he makes twoer: references to family's -- says's health, but then he your religion you will prize most highly. what is that about? charles: fanny was very religious. speed with supercilious about religion and never took it very
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seriously. speed was not a deep thinker. unchurched, but he was very spiritual. his speeches are littered with biblical references. this is a great book about where there is not some speech were begin give where there is old reference to the testament books as well as the new testament. lincoln was steeped in this biblical culture and totally absorbed and into it. hadn't like church, he mocked ministers. new salemories in about ministers. speed, when he got to the last couple years of his life got diabetes.
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the last six months he was in terrible pain and had to amputate a lake. he was in terrible suffering and he converted to christianity, his wife's christianity, she was a methodist. they had at least $20 million in contemporary money. 1902, half ofin it went to the methodist church. , there isnterestingly the lincoln curator who i have gotten to know quite well, he pointed this out to me. when lincoln is a bit farmington inlincoln visited farmington 1841 he got quite close to speed's mother who was a very maternal figure. she gave him a bible. he wrote his thank you letter and talked about how much the bible meant to him, now he gets
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a chance to read it, even though he knew the bible very well. he gilded the lily a little bit. time that lincoln god isto talk about after that visit. in his political addresses, he had never before that brought the word got into his writings until after lucy speed, a surrogate mother figure, in the .ate summer of 1841 just an interesting aside. >> thank you very much. thank you all. [applause] >> we will reconvene in may at the clara barton missing
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soldiers home. thank you all for coming. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] announcer: you are watching american history tv. >> follow us on twitter at c-span history for information on our schedule and to keep up with the latest history news. 20 17, marchril 6, the with hundreds anniversary of the united states entry into world war i. next, a panel of historians discuss what motivated the united states declared war on germany and they discuss how u.s. diplomacy was transformed after world war i and the influence the great war is having on complex -- on confli cts.


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