And if you do know them, hi, Doris Kearns Goodwin!

Term: 1861-1865Party Affiliation: Republica

  1. Abraham Lincoln was the only President to hold a patent. His invention? A system for lifting boats stuck on sandbars.
  • Lincoln's assassination came during a performance of "Our American Cousin”, during which the crowd was almost too busy laughing to hear the gunshot because of this line: "Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal -- you sockdologizing old man-trap."
  • He had four brothers-in-law who served in the Confederacy during the Civil War.
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  • He established Thanksgiving as a national holiday. When his son urged him to issue a formal reprieve for the turkey meant for their holiday dinner, Lincoln complied, sowing the seeds for an annual tradition that has become the Presidential Turkey Pardon.
  • He broke off his engagement to Mary Todd briefly in 1841, which sent Lincoln into such a spiral of depression that a friend had to confiscate his razor.
  • He stored documents and other small items in his comically tall stovepipe hat which, given that he was already the tallest President in American history at 6’4”, was like Guy Fieri wearing horizontal stripes.
  • He almost dueled State Auditor James Shields while an Illinois House rep after writing a series of letters to a local newspaper ridiculing him under a pseudonym. Shields learned the writer’s identity and challenged him to a duel. The terms -- and even a time -- were set, but friends intervened before they could take up swords.