10 Fun Facts About Benjamin Franklin
1. Despite its huge impact on American history, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address lasted only three minutes. It contained just 271 words. Historians have identified five versions of the Address, all written in Lincoln's handwriting, yet which one is the final version remains a mystery. It seems he never imagined that this speech, delivered on November 19, 1863, would become immortal.
2. Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, wore a ring containing a cutting of Abe Lincoln's hair at his own inauguration in 1901.
3. After the Lincoln assassination, which took place on April 14, 1865, the president's body toured the country for three weeks by train. The remains of his son, Willie, who had died in February 1862, joined the tour as well. The funeral train stopped on the 25th of April in New York City, where a horse-drawn hearse took the president's body to the city hall for viewing. A seven-year-old Teddy Roosevelt looked on as the procession passed his grandfather's house.
4. Lincoln was the tallest president at 6' 4". When he wore his stove pipe hat, he was easy to pick out in a crowd. To date, he is still the tallest, with the 6' 3" Lyndon Johnson coming in a close second.
5. Lincoln and his future assassin, John Wilkes Booth, are pictured in the same photograph. At the leader's second inauguration on March 4, 1965, Booth stood on the balcony above the president as Lincoln gave his inaugural speech. Booth later boasted to a friend that he could have killed the president that very day.
6. Lincoln had a bill to create the U.S. Secret Service on his desk the fateful evening he attended the theater. Congress would not adopt the bill until July 1865, three months after Lincoln's death. Although some speculate the Secret Service might have prevented the assassination if it had come into being earlier, the original mission of the Service was to stop the spread of counterfeit money. It would not be until after William McKinley, the second U.S. President to be assassinated, died that Secret Service agents began protecting the nation's leaders.
7. As a captain in the Illinois militia, Abraham Lincoln served in the Black Hawk War of 1832. The treaty dispute lasted just four months in 1832. The future president did not actually participate in any battles.
8. In addition to the Emancipation Proclamation, much of the legislation Lincoln supported during his administration would have far-reaching consequences. One of these, The Homestead Act, made millions of acres of government land available to Americans at affordable prices. Also, the Pacific Railway Acts pledged government support for the construction of a transcontinental railway, which reached completion in 1869. This made the far reaches of the nation accessible and revolutionized commerce.
9. When Lincoln was in his teens and early 20s, he was renowned for his wrestling prowess. In fact, of hundreds of wrestling matches, Lincoln lost only one. After he had established himself as a tough opponent, crowds would gather to watch his contests and wager on the outcome. This was such an important part of the president's biography that in 1992, more than a century later, he joined Teddy Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and George Washington as an inductee in the Outstanding American section of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
10. Abraham Lincoln authored his own speeches. He would typically go through a number of drafts before he was satisfied with the results. Sometimes, he would do a trial run, reading his speech to a cabinet member or another colleague. He would often take the listener's advice and make changes. Although he was not a strong speaker, the eloquence and strength of his speeches still captures the imagination of scholars who study them today.