From Postmaster to President
On February 12, 2014, the United States issued a stamp with a picture of the head of the former American President, Abraham Lincoln (b.1809-d.1865).
This striking head belongs to the famous 6-metre-high marble statue in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.
Lincoln was born and raised in a humble peasant family in Hodgenville, Kentucky. At the age of 22 he moved to New Salem, Illinois.
There he had various jobs, including being postmaster. He was an avid reader, spending much of his spare time studying law, and in 1836 he became a lawyer.
He was also very interested in politics and several times participated in State elections.
He was very popular and was elected to the House of Representatives for the State of Illinois for the Republicans five times.
In 1860, Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States, although the favourable vote came only from the northern and western states.
The southern states would have none of Lincoln, as he was against the expansion of slavery applied there.
The result was the American Civil War (1861-1865) between the Northern states (the Union) and the Southern states (Confederate States).
The Civil War claimed the lives of around 620,00 soldiers (amazingly, more than the combined deaths of U.S. servicemen in all wars since that conflict) and ended when General Robert E.Lee of the southern states surrendered his army on April 9, 1865.
A week later (Good Friday, April 14, 1865) Abraham Lincoln was shot during his visit to a theatre in Washington.
The perpetrator was one John Wilkes Booth, an actor and avid supporter of the Confederate States.
Despite the existing security, he shot Lincoln by approaching him from behind, as shown in the attached drawing.
And so Lincoln was the first president of the United States to be assassinated.
Abraham Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois, where he had lived and practised law from 1844 to 1861.
Back to the statue in Washington, which was created by Daniel Chester French (1850-1931), a talented American sculptor.
Among his best known works was “The Minuteman”, in Concord (Massachusetts), a tribute to the brave soldiers who had opposed the British Army at the beginning of the American War of Independence (1775-1783).
There have been some strange assumptions about the statue of Lincoln in Washington.
If you look closely at the hair on the back of Lincoln’s head you might be able to see what could be the profile of General Robert E. Lee. Was this deliberately made by the sculptor, at the point where the assassin’s bullet would have struck?
And then another mystery. According to some, the president is displaying with his hands the letters A (Abraham) and L (Lincoln) in the form of sign language.
The A is possible, but the L is somewhat doubtful, because of the curved first finger.
Or are these both only false assumptions?
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