Despite the tragedy of the Civil War and the prose of his speeches, Lincoln had a wonderful sense of humor.
I always loved his comment about the criticism of his Administration. He grabbed a batch of Southern newspapers, held them up and told an aide,"If you think I'm doing badly, look at what they're saying about Jeff Davis."
The article in the Civil War Times talks about the value of his humor in weathering his tough times. It had enormous political benefits.
Politics in every era has been about showmanship and the art of talking without saying anything. Even the Romans felt a need for bread and circuses. Wit and humor are a part of that entertaining function. Lincoln had that talent in abundance.
He needed it. He headed a coalition made up of border-state slaveowners and New England abolitionists. The President had to keep such a diverse group together while fighting a terrible war. His sense of humor was much required.
We should also not be surprised about his humor give the dour prose of his speech. Aristotle once said that a tragic genius also had to be a comic genius.
Lincoln seemed to master both sides of that equation.
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