Friday, November 4, 2011

Was Mary Todd Lincoln's marriage happy?

I just finished reading three books about Mary Todd Lincoln. I remember reading abut Abraham Lincoln and Mary Lincoln when I was in school. But I didn't really get interested in Mary, before I saw a documentary about them and their marriage. It was so fascinating I wanted to know more. So I looked them up on the internet and saw there have been hundreds of books written about Mary Todd Lincoln and Abe Lincoln. Finally I selected three to order.

O my, the books were so interesting! I read all three books in three weeks. And two of the books were long, one being over 400 pages and the other nearly 350 pages.

Abe Lincoln was a different kind person than Mary. He was prone to melancholy and depression and was not an outgoing person. Of course we all know he was of poor circumstances and raised in a long cabin. She was of rich, aristocratic families in Kentucky. She was smart, outgoing, and made up her mind to marry him before he wanted to marry her. She pushed him to be president. She yearned to be a president's wife.

She was prone to anger fits and sometimes embarrassed Abe in a crowd of people, when she was angry with him. She was bossy and domineering and made many enemies when they were in the White House.

But it seems Abe loved her till he died. He was gentle, kind, and never raised his voice at her. He had a way to handling her tirades and anger.

The third book about the Lincolns was by Elizabeth Keckely who was a African American seamstress who came to be Mary Todd Lincolns best friend! She kept a diary all those years (about 4 years) and there are lots of pages from that diary in this book. That was my favorite. It is not long and more personal And she tells it how she saw it, and heard it ...their marriage. I loved that book.

And what happened to Mary Lincoln after Lincoln was killed, what happened to her, was the most interesting thing and surprising things that I never knew. She never got over her husband's death. and didn't have much money to live on.

She also had three sons die, the third one, her baby, died when he was 19, after he and his mother came back from living in Europe for a year or two, where she went to escape the newspapers and the terrible things they were writing about her. She was a sad woman and I don't really think she was ever happy most of her life.

Her one surviving son, Robert, had her committed to an insane asylum when she came back from Europe and then her third son died. But she wasn't crazy, and later was released from the asylum. Mary Todd Lincoln she died a lonely woman. Not many friends or family left that liked her. That made me so sad.

Abe Lincoln always wanted the simple life. Living in Springfield and being a lawyer, and having a home and a wife and children is all he ever wanted. But Mary and others kept pushing him to be more, and when he was president, he fought for the black people to be free. Maybe that is what God wanted him to do. His wife was from Kentucky and people accused her about always "sitting on the fence" as far as slavery was concerned. She had brothers who fought in the Confederate army and lost their lives. But a black woman ended up being the only good friend she had.

Mary thought being the President's wife would make her happy. But did it?

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