Andrew Ferguson, author of Land of Lincoln, recounts in the video above some of the zany, and touching, ways in which people recall our 16th President. You get a lot of both when you live in Illinois! For example, if you see a bust or a statue of Lincoln you rub his nose for luck. At the U of I at Champaign-Urbana, Lincoln Hall has a bust of Lincoln with a very shiny nose as generations of Illini taking tests have sought any help they could get!
Lincoln is unusual in American history in that he is not a figure relegated to the history books. Slavery and the Civil War remain touchy points, 150 years later, in the American psyche, and empassioned debates about Lincoln have raged in this country since 1860.
Living in Illinois, Lincoln is never far below the surface in this state, but I think this is true for the country also. The only figure that comes close in the American consciousness is George Washington, but Washington is almost universally loved and admired and is firmly related to the pages of history. Lincoln, and his legacy, on the other hand, will probably remain both contemporary and loved, and controversial and hated, at least among a fraction of the population, so long as there is a United States, as well as giving non-stop employment to hordes of Lincoln impersonators!