Lincoln on Presidents’ Day: Image vs. Reality

Lincoln on Presidents’ Day: Image vs. Reality | PATRIOTS & PAULIES, Politics and News
Presidents’ Day,” as it is now commonly called, retains some vague connection to Washington’s birthday, if only for the purpose of advertising “Washington’s Birthday sales.” The traditional birth date of February 22has been stretched to create a Monday holiday — this year on February 18 — to accommodate America’s patriotic devotion to three-day weekends.

But Lincoln’s birthday, February 12, appears to have lost some of its former aura, since all presidents are now supposedly covered by the amorphous, all-purpose “Presidents’ Day.” (Let us now praise Millard Fillmore.) That is ironic, because despite the energetic work of some recent revisionist historians, Lincoln remains the most revered — some say “deified” — of all our presidents. Historians have repeatedly ranked him the greatest U.S. president, with FDR coming in second.

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