Why is Abraham Lincoln's handwriting in this racist book?

Why Is Abraham Lincoln's Handwriting In This Racist Book?
Why Is Abraham Lincoln's Handwriting In This Racist Book?

Check this out: These are very likely the words of Abraham Lincoln.

What it says is actually kind of boring -- just the name of a lawyer and friend. But where it is is what makes this fascinating.

It makes for a pretty irresistible headline: Historians announce Abraham Lincoln's handwriting found in a racist book.

Lincoln -- as in the Great Emancipator.

A little backstory: There was a copy of a book -- called Types of Mankind -- that sat in a library in Illinois. The book was written in 1854 and essentially argued that not all human races were equal.

It was popular among slave owners who pointed to the book as justification for slavery.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum curator James Cornelius told us he thinks the former president borrowed the book in 1855 for a case he was working on and might have held onto the book for as many as six years.

Fox News called the discovery "a fascinating piece of American history." According to historians, this inscription is likely Lincoln's handwriting because of those distinctive Es and Ns.

The fascination with this story is likely the seeming contradiction in the idea of the Great Emancipator reading a book that seemed to justify slavery. Which might be why the announcement also included this:

ABC reports that historians believe Lincoln read the book so he could better make his case against slavery.

Then again, there's really no way to tell why he would have had the book.

Of course, his critics have often pointed to some of the former president's speeches to suggest that Lincoln never intended for the races to be considered equals -- which is a whole other debate.

In any case, Cornelius told us that he's pretty sure Lincoln read at least part of the book, which was almost 700 pages long.

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