Lincoln’s handwriting in book on racism

2014-08-14 00:00

ILLINOIS (U.S.) — For years, librarians at a small central Illinois library gossiped that a tattered book lying on one of its shelves and justifying racism may once have been in the hands of none other than Abraham Lincoln.

Earlier this month, state historians confirmed that theory by announcing that Lincoln’s handwriting had been found inside the cover of the 700-page text, taking great pains to offer reassurance that the former president, who ended slavery in the United States, didn’t subscribe to the theories at hand, but likely read the book to educate himself better about his opponents’ line of thinking. “Lincoln was worried that the whole idea that you could segregate one group of people based on some brand new thinking would just carry on into other realms,” Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum curator James Cornelius Tuesday said of Lincoln.

“He could foresee the whole country coming apart over the issue that different people could be barred from different things based on different qualities.”

Types of Mankind makes a case that different races were formed at different times and places, and thus can’t be equals. It was seized upon by slave owners during the Civil War era.

Like so many other supposed Lincoln artefacts discovered in places the former president frequented, the authenticity of the inscription remained in question for years, until a new library director decided to have it inspected by experts.

The inscription inside Types of Mankind doesn’t bear Lincoln’s signature, but below that inscription is an attestation by a local attorney noting that Lincoln wrote inside the book in 1861, just before he left for Washington after being elected president. — Associated Press.

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