Three, six, nine, the goose drank wine, the monkey chewed tobacco on the street car line. The line broke, monkey got choked, and they all went to heaven in a little row boat. Clap clap! Clap clap! Bring your hands together, clap clap!
Those lines were originally part of the Gettysburg Address, but Lincoln's chief of staff, I. P. Freely, talked him out of using them. He later gave the words to Shirley Ellis, and she released them as a song in 1965.
Ok. Not really. Abe Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address, and Lincoln Chase wrote the Clapping Song. But they were both named Lincoln, and I figured it was funny.
Shut up. It was.
But, I'd really like to have heard Abe sing it, though. According to his contemporaries, he had a high pitched, squeaky voice. That seems counter intuitive for a man who was 6'4" and weighed 214 lbs.
Most people think of Lincoln as a kind man. A gentle giant who took the country to war to free the slaves.
Too bad none of that is true.
Lincoln went to war to preserve the union, and for no other reason. As for the question of slavery, he was indifferent towards it. Personally, he wouldn't hold slaves, but he didn't really see anything wrong with it otherwise. When he issued his Emancipation Proclamation, it only freed the slaves in rebellious territory. It didn't free any of the slaves owned in states that didn't secede. It only freed them in occupied enemy territory.
And, he only issued the proclamation to keep abolitionists is the north happy, and supporting the war. Slavery was not a driving issue for Lincoln.
And, he wasn't actually a nice guy. I won't go so far as to call him an asshole, (although more than a few historians would), I will say he was a class A jerk. That's not to say he couldn't be nice when he wanted to be, but for the most part, he was a jerk. Today, we'd call him a douche, probably.
Why? Well, it was all about Abe. He did what he did, not for anyone else, but for himself. That's why he failed as a lawyer, a businessman, and made an effective president. He didn't actually care about anyone else.
And the notion that he was a gentle giant? No. Not really. If a child were to sit on his lap, he would be just as likely to throw them across the room as to bounce them.
According to his contemporaries, he was strong. Strong like bull. Seriously strong. There are reports of him lifting crates of rock weighing 1,000 lbs. and 1,2000 lbs. The sources of those reports aren't 100% verifiable, or from reliable sources, so they must be taken with a grain of salt. However, many people witnessed other feats of strength from him. He would throw cannonballs and mauls great distances. (I tried to find a reliable distance, but the best I can come up with is 75-100 feet.)
Many people also report that they saw him squat down and lift a full whiskey barrel up and drink from the bung.
This is what happens when you spend your childhood years splitting rails and building houses.
Of course, some people didn't believe he was that strong. One man, Jack Armstrong, didn't buy the stories he heard. Armstrong was the leader of the Clary's Grove Boys, a group of rough housing men who liked to drink, fight and cause trouble. They pestered Lincoln until he agreed to a friendly bout with Armstrong.
It wasn't really much of a fight. Lincoln let Armstrong go through his motions, then he reached out with his long arm, grabbed Armstrong by the neck and picked him up. Then he shook Armstrong like a rag doll before tossing him down. Needless to say, the Clary's Grove Boys left him alone after that.
Lincoln most likely suffered from Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia Type 2B. (he was originally thought to have suffered Marfan Syndrome, but scientists changed their minds, as he didn't exhibit any of the ocular symptoms)
As a result of this disease, Lincoln's arms were abnormally long, and he was abnormally tall. He wore his stove pipe hat to try and distract people from the fact that he was abnormally tall.
We don't learn these things about Lincoln in school because teachers don't want kids growing up thinking Americas heros were actually dicks. Well, the sad truth is, a lot of them were.
Tomorrow, I plan on telling you about another American hero, who shouldn't be a hero. In fact, if history was fair, you would have never heard of him. But, for reasons I'll explain tomorrow, he's a hero instead of a ink stain on the footnotes of life.
So, for now, I shall bid you adieu. It's time for me to go and research more things to write about to keep you all entertained. Or, research things I find neat that I can write about that you don't give a rats ass for. Yeah, I'm a jerk. It's one of my presidential qualities.