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The Real Abraham Lincoln Facts

A portrait of President Lincoln taken by Alexander Gardner at Gardner's Gallery in Washington, DC on Sunday, February 5, 1865.  The photograph is traditionally called

A portrait of President Lincoln taken by Alexander Gardner at Gardner's Gallery in Washington, DC on Sunday, February 5, 1865.  The photograph is traditionally called "last photograph of Lincoln from life".  (View larger version)

Photograph by Alexander Gardner

  • Lincoln had long legs, and long arms. In addition, Lincoln had a sunken breast, and a smallish head. This collection of physical abnormalities led Dr. Abraham Gordon, in 1962, to propose that Lincoln had a genetic disease called Marfan's Syndrome. This diagnosis has never been confirmed.

  • Lincoln had features in his history and in his physical make-up that suggest to some the possibility of a rare diagnosis: Multiple endocrine neoplasia, type 2B or M-E-N 2 B.

  • Bumps on the lips, tongue and cheeks can be some symptoms of multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B.

  • In the 19th century, hypochondriasis was thought to be a disease connected to bile congesting the liver and mercury, in various forms, was thought to be useful in treating the disease.

  • Some doctors today believe that Lincoln's mood swings could have resulted from mercury poisoning.

  • There are a number of documented cases in Lincoln's friends' letters and diaries that discuss Lincoln's mood swings.

  • Lincoln was a store clerk in New Salem, employed by a man named Denton Offut, who is said to have boasted to the town about Lincoln's physical strength.

  • While living in New Salem, Lincoln was involved in a wrestling match with some local toughs.

  • In 1860, when Lincoln was nominated for President by the Republican Party his nomination came at the expense of two major Republican front runners, William Henry Seward of New York and Salmon Portland Chase of Ohio. They both ended up in Lincoln's cabinet when he was president.

  • Lincoln first met Edwin M. Stanton, who later served in his cabinet, in the 1850s while working on a patent infringement case.

  • The saying, "Mad as a Hatter" may have come from the fact that in the hat industry hatters used mercury to felt rabbit fur and got such an exposure to it that many had erratic behavior. That may explain where the Mad Hatter at Alice's tea party came from; it was all because of exposure to mercury.

  • Abraham Lincoln is the only United States President to hold a U.S. patent.

  • 81 percent of eligible voters voted in the 1860 election. However, woman and people of color couldn't vote in 1860.