Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Lincoln Takes A Leap

Honest Abe

       I have been reading the book Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk and discovered a story that I hadn't heard before. While serving as a Illinois state legislature in 1840, Lincoln jumped from a window to deny a quorum. It seems the democrats proposed an early adjournment to put an end to the state bank. The whigs were outnumbered and decided the best way to avoid the vote was to leave the building, preventing a vote because there weren't enough members available to form a quorum. 
       Lincoln remained behind with fellow whig Joseph Gillespie to manage things. One newspaper noted how Lincoln seemed to be rather enjoying himself at the embarrassment of the house because the vote had been hijacked. Unexpectedly, the sergeant at arms, who had police powers, went out and rounded up just enough of the absent members to form a quorum and locked the doors. That was when the smirk left Lincoln's face and he made his move. 
       With a grave expression on his face, Lincoln became greatly excited and finding the door locked, raised a second story window and leapt to the ground. One newspaper mockingly stated that Lincoln was not harmed because his legs were so long it didn't require much of a drop. He understood that he had made a fool of himself and felt that his political career was probably over. It would be another six years before he would hold public office again. He remained embarrassed over this incident for the rest of his life. 

No comments:

Post a Comment