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Abraham Lincoln, Comedian-in-Chief

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 16th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Americans like serious, hard-hitting presidents. Comedians don't make the presidency very often. However, at least one self-imagined comedian did win the White House, and he is widely regarded as one of America's best and favorite presidents. Abraham Lincoln was as well known in his day for his humor as well as for his appearance and weighty decisions.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lincoln, the man who nurtured the nation through a bitter civil war and courageously issued his Emancipation Proclamation, also authored a book of jokes for public amusement.

Of course, he predated the Friar's Club, but had it existed he might be considered for membership.

Lincoln's jokes covered a wide arrange of topics, but his appearance was perhaps the most common subject. Lincoln is famous for being one of the least-attractive presidents in history. When he was accused of being two-faced in his dealings he quipped, "If I had another face, do you think I'd be wearing this one?"

Lincoln was filled with quips, jokes, and anecdotes, and he frequently made them in dark situations. Before sharing a draft of the Emancipation Proclamation with his cabinet, he allegedly read from a book of jokes which prompted criticism. Lincoln answered it by explaining, "If I can't laugh, I would die."

Indeed, Lincoln had a tremendous weight on his shoulders, perhaps more than any other president in American history. When Lincoln was sworn into office, states were seceding from the Union to form the Confederacy. It was Lincoln who was compelled to order the relief of Fort Sumter, which sparked the first shots of the Civil War. He then presided over a five-year clash where Americans killed one another in numbers not seen before or since.

His enemies at home also continually conspired against him, working to usurp him from power and to promote competing agendas. He was blasted for the Emancipation Proclamation, from both allies and adversaries. Allies who thought he did not go far enough and enemies who accused him of going too far.

Lincoln remarked about this saying, "you cannot please all of the people all of the time."

Lincoln's dry wit and humor covered every subject, even faith. "When I see a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees."

Despite his humor, Lincoln was the right man for the job at the right time. We was a tough president with a thick skin and a sharp wit. These served him well until his assassination while watching a play - "My American Cousin" which was, incidentally, a comedy.

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