“No other president is so firmly connected in our imaginations with an item of haberdashery,” writes Stephen Carter. “We remember Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cigarette holder and John F. Kennedy’s rocker, but Lincoln alone is remembered for what he wore.” Carter considers Lincoln’s trademark top hat in the current Smithsonian magazine.
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Stephen Carter, a professor at Yale Law and author of the new alternate history novel The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, shared some observations on Lincoln’s restrictions of civil liberties and his racial attitudes for a recent article:
“My admiration for Lincoln is undiminished, in part because I don’t try to judge him by the standards of the 21st century,” Carter says. “He was not above telling the occasional racial joke, and he made it very clear more than once, leading up to the Civil War, that he thought black people were, as a group, inferior to white people. What’s striking about Lincoln isn’t so much that he was originally trapped in the racial attitudes of his day but, rather, that he was able to do so much to transcend those attitudes as time went on. He went on quite an intellectual and, I suppose one could say, moral journey over those years in the White House, and evolved enormously. But the key thing is what he did, not why he did it.”
Stephen Carter, a professor at Yale Law School, has written a new novel in which Lincoln survives Booth’s assassination attempt only to face impeachment for overstepping his authority during the Civil War. The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln hits bookstores this summer. You can read more about Carter’s novel at USA Today.