Mary Todd Lincoln

Historical Figure Project- Annie Chong

A few facts about Mary Todd Lincoln

-Wife of sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln

-First Lady of the United States from 1861 to 1865

-Born on December 13, 1818 in Lexington, Kentucky


Mary Todd Lincoln grew up in Lexington, Kentucky and was considered to be part of a wealthy family. In the 1830s, Lincoln left her home in Kentucky to live with her sister, Elizabeth Edwards, in Springfield, Illinois. While residing there she attracted important male figures like Stephen Douglas and Abraham Lincoln. Although her family did not approve, Mary and Abraham fell in love and married each other on November 4, 1842. The couple had four children but only Robert, the oldest son, outlived his mother. After Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865, Mary was never the same again. She suffered from depression and was later brought to court on charges of insanity in 1875 by her son, Robert. Mary was put in an insane asylum but was released a few months later and decided to live with her sister once again in Springfield, Illinois. At the age of 63, she died of a stroke on July 16, 1882. The author conveys the story behind Mary Todd Lincoln's life by including specific facts and details. The author's tone is serious and solely wishes to inform the audience about Mary Todd Lincoln.

Life Influences

Type of upbringing:
  • Mary's family supported the South yet she remained a fervent unionist
  • Grew up wealthy, father (Robert Todd) was a successful landowner/politician
  • Received a remarkable education, attended Madame Charlotte LeClere Mentelle's boarding school

Influential people:

  • Madame Charlotte LeClere Mentelle helped shape the person she became
  • The boarding school was her second home
  • French she learned while in boarding school helped during Lincoln's presidency


  • Wanted Lincoln to win his presidency
  • Wished to spread the ideas of pro-Union policies

An Activist


Mary Todd Lincoln strongly opposed slavery and supported her husband's pro-Union policies

What initiated her involvement:

Back when she was a child living in Lexington, she witnessed the terrible treatment of slaves in her community. She was appalled at the brutality and thus supported the end of slavery.

What was accomplished:

She helped spread the fact that slavery was wrong and since Mary helped Lincoln win presidency, he was able to propose emancipation. Ended slavery in states where it was legal.


Supported Abraham Lincoln when he discussed his pro-union polices, spread the word that slavey was morally wrong, and was loyal to Abraham's polices dealing with the emancipation he wished for


Created a bad image for herself because she was against slavery (slavery popular during this time period) and went against her family because they chose to side with the south during the war.

Causes she would have adopted:

In the modern time era, slavery is looked down upon and is not part of our society. If slavery was around, Mary Todd Lincoln would spread pro-union polices to the community.

Compare/Contrast with Another Time Period

If Mary Todd Lincoln was to be living in the modern time period, she would be viewed as a supportive and loyal wife to Abraham Lincoln. Since Mary Todd Lincoln supported abolition and wished to save the Union, the people living in this current time period would accept her views and agree with her opinions. She would attract a large crowd of followers since her viewpoints are similar to the viewpoints of many people in this modern time period. If I had Mary Todd Lincoln's determination and willingness to succeed during this current era, I would try and get better living conditions for the countries that are suffering and in poverty. I believe that the improvement of living conditions for underprivileged countries needs to be an important change made to the world.
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Mary Todd Lincoln had almost an extreme issue with furnishing The White House and would spend an unnecessary amount of money on decorations. Since Mary Todd Lincoln supported pro-Union policies and wished to end slavery, I drew furniture that have ideas about anti-slavery on them.

Defining quote

"Clouds and darkness surround us, yet Heaven is just, and the day of triumph will surely come, when justice and truth will be vindicated. Our wrongs will be made right, and we will once more, taste the blessings of freedom."

This quote from Mary Todd Lincoln expresses how she was always determined to succeed and make things right even when times are rough. This also relates to how she wished for slavery to come to an end because she states how we will "taste the blessings of freedom.", this illustrates how the slaves could overcome this dark time and receive freedom.

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Mary Todd Lincoln Trailer

Presentation conclusion

For Mary Todd Lincoln, the American Experience was a combination of being involved in politics and having the opportunity to succeed. She successively helped her husband, Abraham Lincoln, win the presidency in 1860. Mary Todd Lincoln engaged in campaigns and held events that included 300 guests. Some might say that she went a bit overboard when it came to upholding the image as the wife of the president. Mrs. Lincoln overspent her budget for the decorations in the White House and had temper issues along with strict demands. Despite these unwise choices, Mary Todd Lincoln helped her husband win the presidency and devoted some of her time to politics.

Mary's American Experince

Her American Experince was overall negative and positive. She had a great deal in politics and dealt with depression and hallucinations after her husband was assassinated. Despite these health issues, Lincoln was determined to succeed and was motivated to end slavery.