Elected President only to see the nation fracture in two, Lincoln led a confused and frightened people through the most terrible war in their history. At the same time, his own household mirrored the fissures that split the nation: the great emancipator was married to the daughter of a slave owner from Kentucky. Mary Todd Lincoln was an aristocratic southerner who met Lincoln when he was still a backwoods politician lacking in experience and sophistication. Although she remained fiercely loyal to her husband and the Union cause, two of her brothers fought for the South. Their marriage was long and turbulent, and knew many trials, including the loss of two children. Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided weaves together the lives of the two Lincolns, drawing us into their long-vanished world.
My American Experience
Of America's first 25 presidents, who is your favorite? From George Washington to William McKinley, which of the new country's leaders most helped shape America in its first century of existence?
On June 14, the National Assessment of Educational Progress released a study that claimed only 9% of fourth graders were able to both identify Abraham Lincoln and give two reasons why he was significant to American history.
The results of the study have prompted a barrage of criticism for the American educational system, yet many are quick to point out that, historically speaking, history has always been students’ worst subject. NPR’s All Things Considered ran a story on June 19 that pointed out that on a similar test in 1943, only 22% of students could answer the same question about Lincoln. NPR said that students “face rote textbooks and a system dominated by multiple-choice testing that encourages ‘teaching to the test’ instead of deeper, contextual learning.”