National Geographic : 1965 May
Proud and graceful, Mary Todd Lincoln wears a brooch portraying her husband. Ambitious for his career, she once remarked: "Doesn't he look as if he would make a magnificent President?" A polished hostess, she longed to entertain lavishly at the White House-her Inaugural gown in 1865 cost $2,000. But the strain of the war and the loss of "Little Willie," second of her sons to die, shattered her spirit. Never theless, the First Lady devoted much of her time to work among the wounded soldiers in hospitals, where she distributed fruit and wine. PAINTING BY FRANCIS B. CARPENTER.COURTESYROBERTLINCOLN BFCKWITH of patronage, he built the Republican Party into a strong national organization. By his extraordinary arts of personal persuasion, he kept within the party politicians ranging in their views from the conservatism of north ern Democrats and former Whigs, such as Secretary of State William H. Seward, to the radicalism of the abolitionists, such as Secre tary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase. Lin coln, a brilliant politician, emerged a great statesman. Sensing public opinion as had no President since Andrew Jackson, he assumed leadership over popular attitudes through an occasional 670 public statement or letter to the press. Thus, he maintained relative unity while charting a course in 1862 toward emancipation, even as the Union Army recoiled from shattering clashes in Virginia-the Seven Days' Battles on the peninsula, and the Valley Campaign where Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson repeatedly inflicted disconcerting blows. Union heroism in September beside bloody Antietam Creek in Maryland gave President Lincoln the victory he needed to announce, on January 1, 1863, the Emancipation Proc lamation, declaring slaves in Confederate territory "forever free."