DL Fowler's Blog

Gettysburg Address – the rest of the story

Gettysburg Address

We shortchange ourselves when we study history as discreet events, dislodged from the context of what happens around them. That’s especially true when we divorce those incidents from the personal circumstances of those who put historical events in motion. (more…)

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Take a close look at Abraham Lincoln’s eyes …

What’s unusual about Abraham Lincoln’s eyes?

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If you think you know, leave a comment below.

Lincoln’s Shame

Posted in Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's personality, Lincoln's Psychology by DLFowler on February 18, 2015

Last night I was talking with a small group of folks at Gig Harbor Public Library about my biographical novel, Lincoln Raw, and the Building Blocks of Abraham Lincoln’s Personality. Most of our focus was on his innate personality, beginning with his boyhood as a highly sensitive child. A couple of questions arose that prompted me to think about additional points I need to bring into future conversations about Lincoln. One of them is the role shame might have played in forging his personality, his world view, and ultimately his impact on history.

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Building Blocks of Abraham Lincoln’s Personality

 During a decade of research into the life of Abraham Lincoln, I’ve become convinced that history is not about events. It’s about people. People cause the events that we call history. They are its roots. As such, we must study people to understand our past and learn the lessons they can teach.

I’ve captured my understanding of Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln Raw—a biographical novel. It’s a journey into his heart and mind, beginning with his boyhood, based on stories told by his contemporaries as well as stories he told about himself.

Following is an outline of my discoveries about Abraham Lincoln and how his personality emerged and the force of his character impacted history. It addresses four areas of inquiry that are essential to understanding one of the most pivotal personalities to set foot on the world stage:

  • What was Lincoln like out of the womb?
  • What preferences grew out of Lincoln’s innate personality?
  • How did Lincoln’s early life influence to his personality development?
  • How did Lincoln’s personality influence his values?

I hope you find the information enlightening, and welcome any contributions or questions you might want to add.

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Lincoln suffered from PTSD?

Abe Lincoln was anything but normal in many ways, including behavior that demonstrated hyper-vigilance, suicidal thoughts, exposing himself to mortal dangers, extreme emotional swings, unexpected eruptions, etc.

After almost drowning in a creek at 7 years old, his mother died when he was 9. He sat on her grave during a storm to be sure her body didn’t float up out of the ground. He had a similar reaction a dozen years later when Ann Hathaway, his first (maybe only) true love died.

During the Civil War he sometimes ventured to the front lines and was nearly wounded. Once he stood on the ramparts of a fort, wearing a top hat, giving Rebel soldiers a 7 foot target to shoot at. He even talked about suicide during Cabinet meetings.

Twice as a young man he was on suicide watch. Once he subjected himself to torturous medical treatments that were the equivalent of self mutilation.

All of these behaviors could be symptomatic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Lincoln Raw-a biographical novel explores the possibility. Read it and decide for yourself.

Abraham Lincoln’s Faith

Posted in Faith, faith, Lincoln, Lincoln Raw, Religion, religion, Research, Themes by DLFowler on April 14, 2014

Abraham Lincoln’s faith is best summarized by his response Connecticut Congressman H.C. Deming during the Civil War, just a few years before his death. The congressman asked Lincoln why he had never joined a church. Lincoln answered, “When any church will inscribe over its altar as its sole qualification for membership the Savior’s condensed statement of both the Law and the Gospel, ‘Thou shall love the Lord with all thy heart, with all thy souls and with all they mind, and thy neighbor as thyself,’ that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul.”

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Lincoln Scholarship – an evolution

Writing about Lincoln is tricky, in part because today’s author must reconcile three distinct periods of Lincoln scholarship that take different slants on who he was and what he believed.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Core Principle

Posted in Inspiration, Lincoln, Lincoln Raw, Lincoln's Psychology, Research, Themes, Writing by DLFowler on December 12, 2013

This will be short.

I grew up thinking Abraham Lincoln had a moral compass that always pointed North and made him superior to the rest of us. That he was passionate about Liberty and Justice for All, while we are mostly focused on liberty and justice for us. As I sit here doing one more pre-publication round of edits on Lincoln Raw—the human side of history I came across a much ignored excerpt from a speech he gave during his one term in Congress. It pretty well sums up the guiding principle that was his North Star for most of his life. 

In the early days of the world, the Almighty said to the first of our race, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” Since then, no good thing has been enjoyed by us without the necessity of labor. But it has so happened in all ages of the world that some have labored and others have, without labor, enjoyed a large proportion of the fruits. This is wrong. To secure to each laborer the whole product of his labor is a most worthy object of any good government.

When I say “most of his life” I don’t  suggest that he ever abandoned this principle. What I mean is that this principle led him to a new, higher law in his later years. It was this new understanding that led the world in, and still leads us in the unfinished business of, re-defining Liberty and Justice for All.

What are your thoughts? Go ahead and leave a comment.

The Hunger Games & PTSD

I just finished reading Mockingjay the final book in The Hunger Games trilogy. I could say something about how Suzanne Collins kept the story moving at breakneck speed, or how immediate a story can be when told in first person (even better in present tense). I could even complain about the graphic violence, but that complaint is only valid when it’s gratuitous. Here it wasn’t. It was just the unvarnished truth about human beings. But, I digress…

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Lincoln’s Tragedies

I promised to post this a long time ago. Now the wait is over. Lincoln was no failure (see The Myth of Lincoln’s Failures). But he did …

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