Sunday, November 25, 2007

Did Lincoln and/or Lee sleep with hookers???

I mentioned that I just finished Reading the Man which is a book about Robert E. Lee. Currently, I am back on my Lincoln kick and I have finally obtained a copy of Lincoln's Melancholy by Joshua Wolf Shenk. They are excellent texts and I could not put Reading the Man down and the same is true for Lincoln's Melancholy.Both books raise an interesting question that is UNPROVEN but the probability for it is very high. Did Lincoln and or Lee sleep with prostitutes? In the 1800's it was common for a career army officer and a traveling lawyer to engaged in sexual liaisons with prostitutes. Both men could have practiced this habit.Lee spent most of his career in army outposts where many of his fellow officers got sex from prostitutes. Lincoln traveling on the law circuit for most of his career as a lawyer where prostitution was common. Lincoln lived with Joshua Speed for several years and in Lincoln's Melancholy it states that Speed's affection for prostitutes was well known. This means that we can directly place Lincoln with prostitutes but that doesn't mean that he did anything with them. The sickest thing is to think that Speed and Lincoln shared the same bed, which was a common thing back then when beds were scarce but how many times did the sheets get washed? What a sick thought. The sex lives of our heroes is sometimes a mystery. Not that we want to know the details but wouldn't the respect for your hero have the possibility of changing if you knew a bit more? Sleeping with hookers shows a lack of character and respect but in the 1800's it was common and an accepted practice. We must avoid making our Civil War heroes into perfect molds of granite or bronze. I mean they are human after all with desires, lusts, hatreds, jealousies to go along with the good things that make them heroes. Did Lee and or Lincoln sleep with prostitutes? It is likely but we may never know the answer. The documents that could point to that might be lost, destroyed or in some archive somewhere. "Honest" Abraham and "Bobby" Lee were men with the same lusts and desires that men of all ages share. If the opportunity was there they MAY have taken it or they MIGHT have avoided it. As to the rest it is forever a part of history.
As for the official word I haven't found anything that directly ties either man to hookers. The option was there and anything is possible. Lee and Lincoln have been painted as perfection and this would be an ultimate blemish on their reputation. Moreover, the men who made them perfect could have hidden any liaisons from the historical record.
By the way I picked the Natalie Portman photo because it was the only one I could find of a person that looked like a prostitute. Its all I could get.

No comments: