Senior Honors Projects, 2010-2019

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Graduation

Spring 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Department of History


Philip D. Dillard

Raymond M. Hyser

Emily Westkaemper


Long before President Lincoln’s death in 1865, his wife, Mary Lincoln, was regarded as an insane woman with a terrible spending problem and little regard for the Civil War. Mrs. Lincoln, in fact, was essential to Lincoln’s successful presidency and ability to keep the Union together. This thesis seeks to understand Mary in a different light than history has. As a young girl, Mary strongly believed that she was destined for greatness and would have a powerful husband beside her. By further understanding her unbound ambitions, her love of the finer things in life, and the good works that she gets little credit for today, we can begin to recognize that Mary used her position as First Lady in every way she could. Without her, Lincoln may have governed the Union very differently. Their relationship, the good and the bad, was essential to a successful presidency and war.



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