Abraham Lincoln’s First Son Robert Todd Lincoln

Robert Todd Lincoln was born on August 1, 1843, to Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln in Illinois, Springfield. He was the only son of the 4 sons who lived to adulthood. Rober Tadd Lincoln became a business lawyer and company President and served as U.S Secretary of War and U.S Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Early Life of Rober Todd Lincoln.

Robert Todd Lincoln was born in Springfield, Illinois on August 1, 1843, to Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd Lincoln. He had three younger brothers, Edward, William, and Tad, by the time Robert Todd was born, his father Abraham Lincoln had become a well-known member of the “Whig Political Party” and had previously served as a member of the Illinois state legislature for four terms. Rober Tadd Lincoln was named after his maternal grandfather Robert Smith Todd.

Graduating at Harvard

When Abraham Lincoln became President of the United States on the eve of the American Civil War, Robert Lincoln was the only son of the President’s three children to be largely on his own. He took the Harvard College Entrance Examination in 1859 but failed fifteen out of the sixteen subjects. He was then enrolled at Phillips Exeter Academy to further prepare for attending college, he was graduated in 1860, admitted to Harvard College, graduated in 1864, and was a member of the Hasty Paddling Club and the “Delta Kappa Epsilon (Alpha Chapter), Welsh author Morris wrote that Robert Todd Lincoln “having failed fifteen out of sixteen subjects in the Harvard Entrance Examination, got in at last and emerged as an unsympathetic bore.

Enrolling in Harvard Law School

After graduating from Harvard, Robert Lincoln enrolled at Harvard Law School. When he initially expressed interest in the law school to his father, President Abraham Lincoln made reference to his own pleasure, but informal legal training by stating “If you do, You should learn more than I ever did, but you will never have such a good time. Robert Lincoln attended Harvard Law School from September 1864 to January 1865 and left in order to join the Union Army. In 1893 Harvard awarded Robert Lincoln the honorary degree of LL.D

Joining the Army

Much to the embarrassment of President Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln prevented Robert Lincoln from joining the Army until shortly before the War’s conclusion. We have lost one son, and his loss is as much as I can bear, without being called upon to make another sacrifice, “Mary Todd Lincoln insisted President Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln argued “Our son is not more dear to us than the sons of other people are to their mothers”, However, Mary Todd Lincoln persisted by stating “Dear to have Robert exposed to danger,” In January 1865, the First Lady yielded and President Abraham Lincoln wrote, “Ulysses S. Grant” asking if “Robert Todd Lincoln could be placed on his staff.

Abraham Lincoln”s Letter to General Ulysses

“Please Read and answer this letter as though I was not President, but only a friend. My son, now in his twenty-second year, having graduated from Harvard, wishes to see something of the War before it ends. I do not wish to put him in the ranks, nor yet to give him a commission to which those who have already served long are better entitled and better qualified to hold. Could he without embarrassment to you, or detriment to the service, go into your Military family with some nominal rank, I and not the public, furnishing his necessary means? If not, say so without the least hesitation, because I am as anxious and as deeply interested that you shall not be encumbered as you can be yourself.

Grant graciously replied that he would be most happy to have Robert serve on his staff as an aide-de-camp and then wisely made sure that Captain Lincoln, while treated (and paid) the same as other officers, was nonetheless kept out of harm’s way.

Thus Robert Lincoln saw the last weeks of the War in uniform, shepherding, say famous visitors touring headquarters, and this brief if innocuous service proved to be the pride of his life. He resigned his commission on June 12, 1865, and returned to civilian life.

Relationship between father and the son  (Abraham Lincoln and Robert Todd Lincoln)

Robert Lincoln had a distant relationship with his father Abraham Lincoln, in part because during his formative years Abraham Lincoln spent months on the judicial circuit. Their relationship was similar to the one Abraham Lincoln had with his own father. Robert Lincoln recalled “During my childhood and early youth he was almost constantly away from home, attending court or making political speeches. Robert would later say his most vivid image of his father was of packing saddlebags to prepare for his travels through Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln was proud of Robert Todd, thought him bright, also something of a competitor, But an acquaintance purportedly said, “ he guessed Bob would not do better than he had”. The two lacked the strong bond Abraham Lincoln had with his other sons Willie and Tad., but Robert Todd Lincoln deeply admired his father and wept openly at his death bed.

On the night of his father Abraham Lincoln’s death, Robert Lincoln had turned down an invitation to accompany his parents to Ford’s Theater, citing fatigue after spending much of his recent time in a covered wagon at the battlefront.

The Last money received from his father President Abraham Lincoln

President Abraham Lincoln gave his son Robert Todd Lincoln a check for 25 dollars dated February 20, 1865, with which his son might be thoroughly kitted out of War.

Robert Todd Lincoln resigned his commission on June 10, 1865. He was 22, fatherless, and according to Victorian mores of the day, responsible for his grieving mother, his younger brother, and of course himself. This check was the last, received from his father Abraham Lincoln, a check signed (“A.Lincoln”) partially printed and accomplished in Autographs, as President, being check No. 27 drawn on Rigg & Co., Washington D.C, February 20, 1865, oblong duodecimo. In favor of R.T (Robert Todd) Lincoln, in the amount of Twenty five dollars.

Abraham Lincoln – A Legend on his Way

According to historian Michael Burlingame, historians typically consider Robert Todd Lincoln, a particularly unfortunate, even tragic figure, like so many sons of famous fathers, he lacks a strong sense of identity. He once complained “No one wanted me for Secretary of War…for Ministers to England for President to Pullman Company, they wanted Abraham Lincoln’s son, Nevertheless, he accepted the appointments and was very well paid becoming a millionaire lawyer and businessman, fond of the pleasures of the wealthy conservative Victorian gentleman of his social circle, He had little in common with his father personally or politically – he was not humorous or unpretentious, but rather cold, stuffy and aloof.

Thus the Legend President Abraham Lincoln is incomparable to anyone or anywhere.

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