American Experience: Season 13, Episode 10

Abraham and Mary Lincoln, a House Divided Part 4 - The Dearest of All Things (21 Feb. 2001)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Title: Abraham and Mary Lincoln, a House Divided Part 4 - The Dearest of All Things (21 Feb 2001)

Abraham and Mary Lincoln, a House Divided Part 4 - The Dearest of All Things (21 Feb 2001) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Episode credited cast:
Mary Todd (voice)
David McCullough ...


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Release Date:

21 February 2001 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Once again, a very good episode in a wonderful mini-series
5 May 2012 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This is the first part of a six-part series on the marriage of Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd. Two parts are shown on each DVD in the collection.

Most today don't realize that the Lincoln marriage was very, very troubled. Part of it was due to the depression that both Abe and Mary experienced and part of it was due to increasingly irrational behaviors of Mary--which only got worse after her husband's assassination. However, this being the first episode, it focuses much less on their problems and much more on the early life of Abe--from his birth until he is, rather miraculously, elected president. Considering Lincoln's rather mediocre political career up until then, it's a wonder that he became president--having only served one term in Congress and a couple terms in the state legislature.

Like the last episode and completely unlike the first two episodes, this one covers a very small time frame--only about a year. This isn't surprising, as the country was involved in a Civil War. This fourth episode concerns a variety of topics, including Mary's depression and over-spending to try to cope with it, the problems with General McClellan (who was a complete idiot but to compound things, he was an egoist to boot), Abe's ambivalence towards ending slavery and ultimately the Emancipation Proclamation following the election of 1862.

As I have seen in previous episodes, this is a great series. Exceptionally written and directed, this is the sort of thing history teachers adore. Well worth seeing.

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