New Journal Reveals Lincoln’s Education

June 10th, 2013

After nearly 150 years since his death, historians have uncovered fascinating new details of Abraham Lincoln’s life. Lincoln, long believed to lack formal education, may actually have spent several years in school, a recent discovery suggests. In particular, Illinois State University math professors Nerida Ellerton and Ken Clements analyzed one of Lincoln’s math journals which demonstrates our beloved 16th president’s aptitude in arithmetic.

This discovery counters traditional wisdom that Lincoln only attended school for a few months.

“Most people say he went to school for anything between three months and nine months” over the course of his life, Clements said. “We think he went to school (up to) two years.”

Not only does the journal show that Lincoln had formal education in mathematics, but it demonstrates that Lincoln was a skilled student.

“He made very few errors, and he always knew what he was trying to do,” Clements added. “We’ve studied thousands of these cyphering books. You don’t always get the feeling that this guy knew what he was doing.”

The journal, dated as far back as 1824, is the oldest known Lincoln manuscript, and was sitting in Harvard library’s archives since 1954.

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