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Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department of History
Philip D. Dillard
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.
St. Andre, Selena Marie, "Mary Todd Lincoln: Influence and Impact on the Civil War in the White House" (2018). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 528.