Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Abe Lincoln: Dwarf, Lout

Abe Lincoln was a dwarf and a clod whose mythical reputation has been exaggerated by historians. That's what President John Tyler's son Lyon Tyler argued anyway.

In pamphlets, books, and, one assumes, the walls of bathroom stalls, he viciously attacked Lincoln's record. He compared John Brown to Sacco and Vanzetti, equated the Union army with 1920's anarchist violence, and blamed Lincoln for World War I. He called him a backwoods idiot in a pamphlet titled "Are Handkerchiefs Superfluous? Lincoln Thought So." To him Lincoln was a "word juggler" and the Gettysburg Address was "a gilded fraud" and "bad sophism".

As long as you're reinventing the past, why stop with trashing Lincoln? Lyon Tyler agreed, arguing that slaves were "the most spoiled domestics in the world....The Southerners took the negro as a barbarian and cannibal, civilized him, supported him, clothed him, and turned him out a better Christian than Abraham Lincoln, who was a free thinker, if not an atheist."

He might as well have argued that Lincoln was a dwarf... and in fact he did (metaphorically at least); the title of his anti-Lincoln pamphlet was "John Tyler and Abraham Lincoln: Who was the Dwarf? A Reply to a Challenge"

H.T. to Dan Monroe "Lincoln the Dwarf: Lyon Gardiner Tyler's War on the Mythical Lincoln"

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