Lincoln grew up on the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. Largely self-educated, he became a lawyer in Illinois, a Whig Party leader, and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, where he served from 1834 to 1846. Elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1846, Lincoln promoted rapid modernization of the economy through banks, tariffs, and railroads. Because he had originally agreed not to run for a second term in Congress, and his opposition to the Mexican–American War was unpopular among Illinois voters, Lincoln returned to Springfield and resumed his successful law practice. Reentering politics in 1854, he became a leader in building the new Republican Party, which had a statewide majority in Illinois. In 1858, while taking part in a series of highly publicized debates with his opponent and rival, Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln spoke out against the expansion of slavery, but lost the U.S. Senate race to Douglas.
In 1860 Lincoln secured the Republican Party presidential nomination as a moderate from a swing state. With very little support in the slaveholding states of the South, he swept the North and was elected president in 1860. His election prompted seven southern slave states to form the Confederate States of America before he was sworn into office. No compromise or reconciliation was found regarding slavery and secession.
After the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, the North enthusiastically rallied behind the Union. Lincoln concentrated on the military and political dimensions of the war. His primary goal was to reunite the nation. He suspended habeas corpus, and arrested persons accused of hindering the war effort by blocking troop trains. Lincoln averted potential British intervention in the war by defusing the Trent Affair in late 1861. His complex moves toward ending slavery centered on the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Lincoln used the U.S. Army to protect escaped slaves, encouraged the border states to outlaw slavery, and helped push through Congress the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which permanently outlawed slavery. Lincoln closely supervised the war effort, especially the selection of top generals, including his most successful general, Ulysses S. Grant. He also made major decisions on Union war strategy; for example: a naval blockade that shut down the South's normal trade; moves to take control of Kentucky and Tennessee; and using gunboats to gain control of the southern river system. Lincoln tried repeatedly to capture the Confederate capital at Richmond; each time a general failed, Lincoln substituted another, until finally Grant succeeded in 1865.
An exceptionally astute politician deeply involved with power issues in each state, Lincoln reached out to "War Democrats" (those who supported the North against the South), and managed his own re-election campaign in the 1864 presidential election. As the leader of the moderate faction of the Republican Party, Lincoln confronted Radical Republicans, who demanded harsher treatment of the South, War Democrats, who called for more compromise, anti-war Democrats (called Copperheads), who despised him, and irreconcilable secessionists, who plotted his assassination. Politically, Lincoln fought back by pitting his opponents against each other, by appealing to the American people with his powers of oratory, and by carefully planned political patronage. His Gettysburg Address of 1863 became an iconic endorsement of the principles of nationalism, republicanism, equal rights, liberty, and democracy. Lincoln held a moderate view of Reconstruction, seeking to reunite the nation speedily through a policy of generous reconciliation in the face of lingering and bitter divisiveness. Six days after the surrender of Confederate commanding general Robert E. Lee, Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer.
Lincoln has been consistently ranked both by scholars and the public as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents.
Joshua Fry Speed (November 14, 1814 – May 29, 1882) was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln from his days in Springfield, Illinois, where Speed was a partner in a general store. Later, Speed was a farmer and a real estate investor in Kentucky, and also served one term in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1848. (P: Portrait of Joshua Fry Speed as a young man)
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the US, serving from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Joshua Fry Speed was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln from his days in Springfield, Illinois, where Speed was a partner in a general store. Speed revealed, “No two men were ever more intimate.” During Speed's absence, Lincoln confessed to him in a letter, “I shall be very lonesome without you.” Mutual friend William Herndon conceded that Abe “loved this man [Speed] more than anyone dead or living.”
Joshua Fry Speed was born at Farmington, the estate of the Speed family in Louisville, Kentucky. He was the fifth son of Judge John Speed and Lucy Gilmer Fry Speed, both of prominent slave-holding families.
Joshua Speed's father, Judge John Speed (May 17, 1772 – March 30, 1840) was born in Charlotte County, Virginia. John was first married to Abby Lemaster (d. July, 1807). They had four children, two of whom died in infancy.
Mary Speed (born 1800)
Eliza Speed (born 1805)
John was then married to Lucy Gilmer Fry (March 23, 1788 – January 27, 1874). Lucy was born in Albemarle County, Virginia. They had eleven children.
Thomas Speed (September 15, 1809 – 1812)
Lucy Fry Speed (February 26, 1811 – 1893). Later married to James D. Breckinridge.
James Speed (March 11, 1812 – June 12, 1887)
Peachy Walker Speed (May 4, 1813 – January 18, 1881)
Joshua Fry Speed (1814–1882)
William Pope Speed (April 26, 1816 – June 28, 1863)
Susan Fry Speed (September 30, 1817 – 1888)
Major Philip Speed (April 12, 1819 – November 1, 1882)
John Smith Speed (January 1, 1821 – 1886)
Martha Bell Speed (September 8, 1822 – 1903)
Ann Pope Speed (November 5, 1831 – 1838)
Young Joshua Speed attended St. Joseph's Academy in Bardstown, like the sons of many wealthy families in Kentucky. He was apparently not content to follow in the footsteps of his father. Speed set out in 1835 for Springfield, Illinois, to try his fortune in the Midwest. At the time, Springfield was a town with a population of fewer than 1,500 people. Almost immediately upon arriving there, Speed engaged in merchandising and assisted in editing a local newspaper.
Speed had heard the young Lincoln speak on the stump when Lincoln was running for election to the Illinois legislature. On April 15, 1837, Lincoln arrived at Springfield, the new state capital, in order to seek his fortune as a young lawyer whereupon he met Joshua Speed. Lincoln sublet Joshua's apartment above Speed's store becoming his roommate and his lifelong best friend.
On March 30, 1840, Judge John Speed died. Joshua announced plans to sell his store and return to his parent's large plantation home, Farmington, near Louisville, Kentucky. Lincoln, though notoriously awkward and shy around women, was at the time engaged to Mary Todd, a vivacious, if temperamental, society girl, also from Kentucky. As the dates approached for both Speed's departure and Lincoln's own marriage, Lincoln broke the engagement on the planned day of the wedding (January 1, 1841). Speed departed as planned soon after, leaving Lincoln mired in depression and guilt.
Seven months later, in July 1841, Lincoln, still depressed, decided to visit Speed in Kentucky. Speed welcomed Lincoln to his paternal house where the latter spent a month regaining his perspective and his health. During his stay in Farmington, Lincoln rode into Louisville almost daily to discuss legal matters of the day with attorney James Speed, Joshua's older brother. James Speed lent Lincoln books from his law library.
Speed and Lincoln disagreed over slavery, especially Speed's argument that Northerners should not care. In 1855, Lincoln wrote to Speed:
You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. ... I also acknowledge your rights and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were, on board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other slave-border. It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings . . .Lincoln, during his presidential administration (March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865), several times offered Speed a government appointment. Speed refused each time, choosing to help in other ways. Speed disagreed with Lincoln on the slavery question but remained loyal, and coordinated Union activities in Kentucky during the American Civil War. His brother, James Speed, however, did agree to serve as Lincoln's United States Attorney General beginning in November 1864. In explaining the nomination to Congress, Lincoln acknowledged that he did not know James as well as he knew Joshua.
Following the assassination of Lincoln by John Wilkes Booth, Speed organized a memorial service in Louisville for the departed leader. He also pledged his support to the administration of succeeding President Andrew Johnson (term April 15, 1865 – March 3, 1869). Sixty members of the Speed family gave money for a monument to honor Lincoln in Springfield. Joshua Speed also wrote lengthy letters to William Herndon, a former law partner of Lincoln who had set about to write a biography of Lincoln.
Joshua Speed died on May 29, 1882, in Louisville, Kentucky. He is interred in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.
In 1999, author and gay activist Larry Kramer claimed that he had uncovered new primary sources which shed fresh light on Lincoln's sexuality. The sources included a hitherto unknown Joshua Speed diary and letters in which Speed writes explicitly about his relationship with Lincoln. These items were supposedly discovered hidden beneath the floorboards of the old store where the two men lived, and are said to reside in a private collection in Davenport, Iowa. Kramer has yet to publish any of this material for critical evaluation, and historian Gabor Boritt, referring to Kramer's documents, wrote, "Almost certainly this is a hoax ... ."
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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