Abraham Lincoln Gets Married To Mary Ann Todd – 11/4/1842

US History |

On November 4, 1842, Abraham Lincoln who was still struggling to make a name for himself as lawyer marries Mary Anne Todd who hails from Kentucky. They tied the knot in Springfield, Illinois, right at the home of the bride’s sister.

Mary Todd, fondly called as Molly, was born with a silver spoon – her parents were rich according to social standards. She was privileged to have been educated in an all-girls school where she shone in the fields of cultural studies and the arts. Her father mingled with politicians – his interest in politics were passed down to his daughter, Molly.

When Molly turned 21, she met Lincoln who was 31 at that time. Unlike Molly, Lincoln did not come from a rich family but she fell in love with him nonetheless and accepted his marriage proposal despite her family’s objections to his poverty and lack of political interest. However, early in 1841, Lincoln for no apparent reason broke up with Molly. The breakup lasted until 1842 but some reports imply that they have already been reunited earlier but chose to keep their relationship a secret. Whether this was true or not no longer mattered since they went on ahead with their plans to get married on November 4 that same year.

Mary Todd proved to be the best partner to her husband Lincoln. From his position in the Illinois government, he went on to become one of the most compelling political orators who spoke bravely on the subject of slavery which was considered a controversial issue at that time. It can be recalled that the southern part of the nation were pro-slavery including Kentucky, the state where Mary Todd came from. Because of Mary Todd’s obvious support for her husband, she was labeled a traitor by the people from Kentucky. Lincoln on the other hand received death threats from those who supported slavery. When Civil war came, most of Mary’s male family members served in the Confederate where they were killed, a tragic event that made her feel estranged. It didn’t also help that newspapers and social circles accused her of influencing Lincoln’s political appointments. One reporter even went as far as to suspect Mary Todd for the president’s deteriorating health which caused him to have hallow cheeks and a skinny body. However, his symptoms were similar to that of a patient suffering from Marfan’s disease. Some speculated that the reason for his ailing health was connected to the challenge of leading a divided nation.

When their 11-year-old son Willie died in 1862, Lincoln became anxious as he witnessed Mary Todd suddenly fall ill and develop erratic behaviors. A head injury from a carriage accident that happened in 1863 caused her to have migraine headaches. Biographers and scholars have reason to believe the president’s wife was suffering from depression and anxiety and also suspected that the president himself was likewise depressed. The threats that began as he rose in politics persisted until one day in April 14, 1865, Lincoln was finally assassinated while Mary Todd was sitting next to him at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. With her son and husband dead, Mary Todd started to believe in the spirit realm and that it was possible to communicate with the dead. 

The death of Lincoln forced her to petition for a window’s pension in Congress. In 1871, she lost her son Tad which almost drove her crazy, forcing her son Robert to have her admitted in a mental institution. She had two attempted suicides before Mary Todd was handed over to the custody of her sister Elizabeth. They lived together in the Springfield, Illinois (the resting place of Lincoln and her son). She died at the age of 63 in 1882.

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Mike Sexton

Chief Editor

I have always had a passion for writing since a young age and can still remember the first time a teacher assigned us to create our own newspaper it was my favorite project. In high school I wrote for the school newspaper and loved learning about new topics. I knew I found my new passion and as soon as I stepped foot on UCLA my mind was made up. Since getting my degree I have done all types of writing and love the freedom it gives me to work from anywhere. I hope you all love my writing as I am excited to produce quality articles each day for you!