In this episode, historian Sean Munger pierces through the “log cabin mythology” surrounding Lincoln in an attempt to understand his origins and the challenges he faced while growing up. You’ll not only learn what life in a log cabin was really like, but you’ll also meet Lincoln’s colorful family (and step-family), discover why trembling cows are terrifying, and you’ll get a thought-provoking look at how genetics can affect history. This episode may cause you to rethink everything you thought you knew about America’s 16th President.
Last Sunday, February 12, 2017, was the 209th birthday of the most famous American of all time, Abraham Lincoln. On that day, in commemoration of Lincoln’s birthday, I released a new episode of the Second Decade history podcast titled “Kid Lincoln,” focusing on Lincoln’s story during that decade (the 1810s). This has already proven to be a highly popular and successful episode–so if you haven’t heard it yet, definitely check it out!
Second Decade is on iTunes, here; it’s on TuneIn, here; you can access it directly on the Libsyn page for it, here; or, perhaps the easiest way, click this link for an embedded player that will open in your browser.
Here is the official description for Episode 13: Kid Lincoln:
Most of us were taught in school about Abraham Lincoln’s humble origins: the log cabin on the Kentucky frontier, his lack of formal education, and colorful tales of rail splitting and backwoods adventures. But the traditional American mythology leaves out a lot about Lincoln’s formative years. Lincoln was born at the beginning of the Second Decade into a complex and deeply contested environment, shaped by economic hardship, conflict with Native Americans, and simmering resentments over slavery and land ownership. Add to this the ravages of disease and environmental hazards, such as the dreaded “milk sickness” that almost wiped out his family, and a picture of Lincoln’s childhood emerges that you may not have thought about. Furthermore, only recent (21st century) scholarship has discovered a previously unknown aspect of Lincoln: the rare genetic disorder, called MEN2B, from which he suffered, and which may well have strongly influenced one of the most significant events in all of American history.
When I started writing the script for this episode last week, frankly I thought it was going to be a clinker. To my surprise, though, I think it turned out to be one of the better of the recent episodes. One of my main sources for this episode was the fascinating 2008 book The Physical Lincoln by Dr. John G. Sotos, which I wrote about a while ago in this article. That book explains so many things about Lincoln, especially what was happening at the very end of his life. It’s kind of an obscure book, but I highly recommend it.
Keep listening to Second Decade, and be sure to leave a star rating or a short review on iTunes. That really helps increase its visibility. Thanks everyone for all the support!