Presidents in wartime, embattled presidents, unpopular presidents, they all look to Lincoln. He’s their patron saint because no president was more embattled or more unpopular than Lincoln was during his presidency. We think he was born on Mount Rushmore. Not so.
Category Archive: Richard Norton Smith
I’m very old-fashioned – I don’t operate with an agenda. If you’re a biographer, you want to be passionate about what you’re doing but dispassionate about how you do it.
One of hardest for any historian or a biographer to do is to capture convincingly on paper something as ethereal as charisma. It’s a relative term, and different generations define it differently.
Richard Nixon as a 12-year-old was given a portrait of Lincoln that he hung over his bed. Nixon also justified what would later be seen as abuses of power by comparing America in the Vietnam era to the country during the Civil War.
I was 14 years old in August of 1968 and had earned the money and had managed to get tickets as a guest of the Massachusetts delegation to the Republican convention in Miami and where I was on the floor in the Rockefeller demonstrations.