The ‘Abe Lincoln’ Everyone Knew as Immortalized in Postage Stamps


Feb 08, 2015 Europe/London
Abraham Lincoln on Stamps

If there’s a listing of the most popular and greatest presidents the United States have ever produced, then surely the name Abraham Lincoln will show the way. It was both the best (and the worst) of times during Lincoln’s rule, but this served as a watershed moment for one of the greatest leaders to shine through actions against slavery and national turmoil. His face, his policy directions and of course the Gettysburg Address are considered the Lincoln trademarks. And today, his legacy lives on thanks to the production of postage stamps in honor of the man. If you are interested in the life of the former leader, then it’s best to study the different postage stamps made in honor of Lincoln, arranged in different themes.

From humble beginnings and the Bar

Lincoln came from Hodgenville, KY and was officially welcomed to the world on February 12, 1809. In 1816, his family started a series of moves, starting from Indiana then to Illinois (1830). At a young age, he was introduced into a variety of hard work, working as storekeeper and even a surveyor and postmaster. While Lincoln did not have the opportunity to attend formal school, this did not stop him from acquiring knowledge. His passion was on reading, and he spent countless hours reading newspapers and books he could find. According to his memoir, his exploration of the Mississippi River going to New Orleans made a huge impact on the young man when he saw slaves in chains. As he matured, he started reading law books and aspired to become a lawyer. This dream became a reality when he passed the Bar in 1836. He started a family in 1842 when he married Mary Todd. They raised four sons, but only one managed to reach adulthood.

His take on slavery

Lincoln suffered a defeat during his first foray in politics. But this did not stop the young man from targeting a position, and he soon won a position four times as part of the Illinois House of Representatives. He was also elected on the party. His stint in Congress continued form 1847-49 before he returned to Springfield to continue a private practice. This could have been the end of his political career if not for the bill sponsored by Stephen A Douglas (D) to accept slavery in all starts in 1854. This was the start of Lincoln’s campaign against slavery, beginning with an unsuccessful run against Douglas for a Senate seat. But his passionate case against slavery earned him the respect of many, and allowed for Lincoln to receive a Republican nomination to become President. And on November 6, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was voted into office as the 16th President of the United States.

His take on war

His presidency was a time of unrest, and the first shots that signalled the Civil War happened during his time, right after his official inauguration. His efforts were focused on uniting a nation, and this was shown in a series of postage stamps made and designed in his name. A diligent student of philately will definitely appreciate Lincoln’s role in unifying a nation and countering the Confederate states. Starting 1859, Lincoln issued a series of statements against slavery, including a statement in 1859 denouncing individuals supporting slavery and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. The latter is the motivation for the 13th Amendment that abolished slavery. Perhaps the exclamation point in his administration was the 272-words Gettysburg Address, delivered at a cemetery on November 19, 1863.

For victory and untimely death

Dubbed ‘Honest Abe’, Lincoln was re-elected in 1864 and was instrumental to the end of the war. On April 14, 1865, the President and his wife decided to watch a performance of Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor at the Ford’s Theater. At 10:15 pm, John Wilkes Booth, an actor casually entered his box and fired at the President. He died on the spot of that pistol gun shot.

Monumental tributes and Lincoln memorials

After his death, the memorials for Lincoln poured in. For example, there’s the Shrine of Democracy, where the face of the president was included at Mount Rushmore. The faces of the presidents were carved in the granite mountain through dynamite. This popular monument was started in 1927 by Gutzon Borglum and shows the faces for four presidents. Each bust measures 60 feet tall, similar to the Sphinx of Giza in height. There are other tributes made for Lincoln including the Lincoln Memorial, dedicated to the former president with his son in attendance.  Of course, there are the popular stamps in honor of the president that will serve as valuable additions to a decent stamp collection.

Towns and postage stamps

There were cities and towns that were established and named in honor of the former president. Some of these towns and cities can be found in New Mexico, Delaware, Arkansas and Illinois. As mentioned, a collection of stamps honouring Lincoln can be found in the market. There are rare Lincoln stamps including the pre-cancel stamps and postmarks from naval ships used in the 1960s.