This is worth quoting, given where we are. Abraham Lincoln while campaigning across Illinois in 1860 was not popular generally. He was at a campaign event and spoke about worthy local men running for District Attorney, or State Attorney General, or the like, and joked that these men may indeed be elected if not for his name on the ballot. This is from Michael Burlingame – Abraham Lincoln: A Life – Vol. 1, Chapter 16:

Lincoln returned to the statehouse, making his way through a dense crowd of people “seizing his hands, and throwing their arms around his neck, body or legs and grasping his coat or anything they could lay hands on, and yelling and acting like madmen.” (Springfield correspondence by A. C. C., 7 November, Independent Democrat (St. Louis), 7 (Concord, New Hampshire), 22 November 1860.)

He spent the rest of the afternoon at the capitol. He manifested “a lively interest in the election” but “scarcely ever alluded to himself or his candidacy.” Rather he “was interested in the fortunes of the local candidates of his town, county and State and to have heard his remarks one would have concluded that the District Attorneyship of a county in Illinois was of far more importance than the Presidency itself.” At one point “he mentioned a candidate for the Legislature in one of these counties who he hoped would be elected, and he would be, Mr. Lincoln added, ‘if he didn’t find Abe Lincoln too heavy a load to carry on the same ticket.’”

Later “he said that elections in this country were like ‘big boils’ – they caused a great deal of pain before they came to a head, but after the trouble was over the body was in better health than before. He hoped that the bitterness of the canvass would pass away ‘as easily as the core of a boil.’”

Michael Burlingame – Abraham Lincoln: A Life – Vol. 1

So, maybe the greatest American President thought of our elections as a great boil, as in the disorder of the skin!

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