Walt whitman and abraham lincoln relationship

William A. Pannapacker, "Lincoln, Abraham (–)" (Criticism) - The Walt Whitman Archive

walt whitman and abraham lincoln relationship

The train that brought Abraham Lincoln's body back to Springfield, Ill., took But no author has probed the event more deeply than Walt Whitman. . Whitman and Lincoln: An Inquiry Toward the Relationship of Art and Policy”;. Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln are often linked as kindred spirits for their . in Whitman and Lincoln: An Inquiry Toward the Relationship of Art and Policy. Havlik, Robert J. "Walt Whitman and Bram Stoker: The Lincoln Connection. cusses his and Whitman's admiration for Abraham Lincoln, and he alludes to.

Both opposed the expansion of slavery, but they were not abolitionists. Both were committed to free labor and territorial expansion, but the preservation of the Union was paramount. Both revered the heroes of the American Revolution, particularly Washington; neither adhered to any religious sect.

They shared working-class origins, and each adopted the rhetoric of Jacksonian populism. Their literary styles were both influenced by the Bible, William Shakespeare, Thomas Paine, and Robert Burns; both also tapped the vitality of American vernacular speech, political oratory, and drama. Lincoln even seems an incarnation of the poet-redeemer described in the Preface to Whitman's Leaves of Grass, and Whitman himself would later imply that they were comparable types: In Whitman describes his ideal president as a "heroic, shrewd, fully-inform'd, healthy-bodied, middle-aged, beard-faced American blacksmith or boatman" emerging from the West Prose Works 2: But Whitman was not initially enthusiastic about Lincoln; his admiration grew from personal exposure.

When Lincoln visited New York en route to Washington inhis striking appearance and unpretentious dignity made a lasting first impression on Whitman.

walt whitman and abraham lincoln relationship

While living in Washington from toWhitman observed the president regularly and came to trust the "supernatural tact" and "idiomatic Western genius" of his "captain" Correspondence 1: He admired the president's plainness, his homespun humor; he often contemplated Lincoln's face, "the peculiar color, the lines of it, the eyes, mouth, expression" Prose Works 1: No portrait, he repeatedly said, had ever captured Lincoln's "goodness, tenderness, sadness, and canny shrewdness" Prose Works 1: In Whitman writes, "I love the President personally," and the poems of Drum-Taps soon echoed the themes of Lincoln's speeches Notebooks 2: Whitman was deeply moved by Lincoln's death on Good Friday, 14 April It was a personal tragedy, but it also seemed like the culminating sacrifice of an epic poem.

Drum-Taps was incomplete without some concluding tribute to Lincoln. Whitman eventually added four poems: Without specifically mentioning Lincoln, it transforms his assassination into a redemptive martyrdom that restores the poet's lost voice and binds up the shattered Union. In later years, Whitman was divided between a ritualized commitment to Lincoln's memory, stated at the outset of "Lilacs," and increasingly self-serving demonstrations of civic piety. The Lincoln poems, particularly "O Captain!

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With the aid of supporters like William D. O'Connor, Whitman promoted himself as an authority on Lincoln, a comparable type, and even the object of Lincoln's admiration. Whitman thought "O Captain! Nevertheless, he almost always concluded his lectures with an emotional reading of "O Captain! Lincoln wrote slowly and painstakingly, with little facility in his fingers and wrist. An inkblot or a misspelled word caused him to discard the paper and begin again.

The pistol cracks and rifle volleys outside his window mocked the shots fired in fury and terror a thousand miles away in Tennessee. And for every shot that hit its mark, a young soldier lost a life or a limb. It was not a night conducive to sleep or concentration. The very document under hand seemed to waver and tremble, disturbed by the sounds of gunfire. Horace Greeley, Republican radicals and abolitionists had been begging Lincoln to free the slaves for as long as he had been in office.

  • Democracy Men: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln

As much as he wished to oblige them and suit his own conscience, he had to wait for a military victory, an impression of superiority in the war, if the proclamation were not to seem an act of desperation. In September the Battle of Antietam — an ambiguous victory — had provided the occasion for Lincoln to act. But since then nothing had gone right. Lincoln sat in a large armchair, his legs crossed, writing beneath the glass-globed jets of a chandelier, at a desk between two high windows in his office.

The silk braid of a bell cord hung to the right of the desk. A fire was burning on the hearth with its high brass fender and andirons. It was large enough to accommodate, on one wall, a sofa flanked by matching button-and-roll armchairs, and across the room the long oak table where the cabinet met.

Above the Victorian marble mantelpiece a portrait of Andrew Jackson overlooked the meeting table toward the military maps hanging on the opposite wall: Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Georgia.

The table, desks, chairs, the slant-top escritoire with its pigeonholes and bookshelves in the southeast corner, all were as cluttered as in the Springfield office of Lincoln and Herndon, although here the maids swept and dusted.

There was plenty of room to pace. He could not stop thinking about the woman who had come to call on him the day before: He made a long pilgrimage from Springfield to Farmington to visit Sarah weeks before his inauguration, and the parting had been difficult, tearful.

There William Seward would review the document and have it copied for the press before midday, when both men would sign it. When he had dressed for the formal reception, Lincoln went to fetch Mary.

She wore a black velvet dress with lozenge trimming at the waist, diamond earrings and necklace, and a black shawl around her head. This would be her first public reception since the burial of their year-old son Willie, who had died of typhus in February The Lincolns were racked by guilt at the thought that the foul air of the canal that flowed behind the White House had killed the boy.

Of all their sons Robert, Edward, Willie and Tad Willie had been the favorite, and Mary had not recovered from the shock. Lincoln was concerned about his wife this morning, doubting she could hold up under the pressure of receiving a thousand visitors, who began arriving at 9: The gorgeous parade of the diplomats came first, ambassadors and their wives from India, Japan, Spain and elsewhere in their colorful costumes and headdresses: The distinguished representatives of foreign courts, in their carriages, drove rapidly up the semicircular drive, alighted and advanced through a screen of Ionic columns to the audience room, where they met the president and first lady standing together.

Marshal Ward Hill Lamon, chief of protocol, made the introductions.

walt whitman and abraham lincoln relationship

Meanwhile the Army and Navy officers in full parade dress were gathering at the War Department. At noon the gates were opened to the public, an overwhelming, if well-dressed and orderly crowd. Men wore formal black; women came in silks and lace, satins and feathers, but without bonnets. A detachment from a Pennsylvania regiment plus most of the metropolitan police were on hand to supervise the crowd. Officers stood guard under the portico, behind the semicircular projecting colonnade, forming a line up the two flights of steps, ushering people into the vestibule in installments.

Two Worlds of Mourning: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln’s Death

Canvas had been spread over the new carpeting in the East Room to protect it from muddy boots. The crowd pressed forward in columns, first to the Red Room, where Mrs. The short, plump first lady stood under the full-length portrait of George Washington, which Dolly Madison had rescued from the English invaders in by clipping it from the frame with her sewing scissors.

Mary knew the story.

Democracy Men: Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln – Lilly Library News & Notes

The copper roof, lapped instead of grooved, leaked; yet Mrs. There, the president stood smiling, his little boy Tad at his side, while Marshal Lamon performed the ceremony of introduction.

Vigilant and protective, the burly, mustachioed marshal was almost as tall as Lincoln — they made an imposing pair. Noah Brooks, a columnist for the Sacramento Union, recalled a tumultuous scene as the crowd filled the reception rooms: Walt Whitman had recently arrived in the Federal City from a battlefield in Virginia, where he had spent Christmas with the troops.

walt whitman and abraham lincoln relationship

I do not think I quite had my match…. No one — at least no one I met — went just from my own reasons, from a profound conviction of necessity, affinity, coming into closest relations — relations O so close and dear!

The morning was brilliant, clear and not too cold. Slender and blue-eyed, he was famously good-looking, said to resemble a portrait of young Shakespeare. He had left New York after the Battle of Fredericksburg because the Tribune had listed his brother among the wounded.

Walt had come hoping to find George in one of the hospitals and to take care of him. He arrived on December 16,flat broke, having had his pocket picked while changing trains in Philadelphia.