Segments in this Video

Part One: Ambition (05:43)


This program will explore Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln's upbringing. After her husband's death, Todd spent the remainder of her life in Springfield and was known as the "crazy lady" who never left her home. The Civil War divided the couple because she was the daughter of a wealthy slave-owner. (Credits)

Lincoln's Mother (03:32)

Born in 1809 in the Kentucky wilderness, Lincoln did not talk about his childhood. Milburn Howard, Lois Winsett, and Judy Osbourne discuss local legends about Nancy Hanks-Lincoln.

Lincoln's Father (02:24)

A neighbor recalls how Thomas Lincoln was a plain, unpretending, plodding man. Lincoln would gather berries, hickory nuts, walnuts, and herbs in the forest. The family belonged to a fundamentalist Baptist group that was anti-slavery.

Lincoln's Move to Indiana (03:29)

The family grew weary of property disputes and moved to the anti-slavery state. Nancy died when she was 34 years old. Lincoln struggled with depression.

Mary's Childhood (05:03)

Mary grew up in an affluent neighborhood in Kentucky with five siblings. Robert Todd founded Lexington and married Elizabeth Humphries after Mary's mother's death.

Lincoln's Stepmother (05:08)

Thomas remarried Sarah Bush Johnston who encouraged Lincoln to educate himself. Lincoln found a job working on a flatboat down to New Orleans. Sarah Lincoln died in childbirth.

Slavery as Part of Life (03:16)

In Lexington, slave auctions were conducted next to the courthouse. Mammy Sally raised Mary. Even though Robert Todd was a slave owner he argued against the practice.

Lincoln's Move to Illinois (05:36)

Lincoln did not want the same life as Thomas and at age 22 left home, eventually settling in New Salem. Eight months later he ran for the Illinois General Assembly.

Lincoln's Early Adulthood (03:27)

Mary moved to her sister's home in Springfield Illinois and became popular. Friends recall how she was subject to depression. Lincoln worked as a blacksmith, postmaster, surveyor, and storeowner before running again for office.

Lincoln's Political Career (04:21)

Lincoln won his second bid for the Illinois House of Representatives and began studying law. When Ann Rutledge died from brain fever, Lincoln sunk into a deep depression.

Lincoln's Courtship (04:49)

Lincoln moved to Springfield, became a leader in the Whig party, and lawyer. Mary knew she wanted to become the First Lady. Lincoln asks to marry Mary.

Lincoln's Uncertainty About Marriage (03:43)

Experts describe how Lincoln suffered from a fear of commitment and became suicidal. Mary waited for a year and a half for him to be ready for marriage.

Credits: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided - Episode 1 (00:40)

Credits: Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided - Episode 1

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Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided - Episode 1

Part of the Series : Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode tells the story of the Abraham and Mary Todd Lincoln's childhoods—his in a remote backwoods log cabin, hers in a wealthy Kentucky home—and describes their courtship. Mary sets her heart on the raw, socially awkward Lincoln, saying later: "He'll be President of the United States one day. If I had not thought so I never would have married him."

Length: 52 minutes

Item#: BVL151401

Copyright date: ©2001

Closed Captioned

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