President Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman

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President Abraham Lincoln, admired by Walt Whitman, blossomed in “Whitman's writing and in American mythology”(Eiselein) for his leadership and nobility. Whitman hoped for a rugged, healthy, who knew what real, physical work was, to be the “[r]edeemer [p]resident of [t]hese [s]tates”(Whitman). His hopes came true “as in a dream”(Whitman) when “four years later, just such a beard-faced boatman”(Goodheart) entered the White House. Walt Whitman discovered the “comprehensive, all-directing soul he had long been seeking”(Reynolds) in Abraham Lincoln’s life. Therefore Whitman, a patriotic American, would see Lincoln’s death as not only a grave tragedy but also a “promise [of] ultimate purgation and unification for America.”(Reynolds).

Dedicating countless hours to the war and politics before President Lincoln’s death, Whitman strained to restore the Union as a whole. Feeling obligated to participate in the war effort, Whitman secured a government position making “regular visit[s] [to] soldiers in war hospitals”(Constantkis). Whitman also participated in the Free Soil Party, a rising opposition to the progression and spread of slavery, and wrote political commentaries in his effort to strengthen the Union. These undertakings not only aided the Union, but also brought Whitman closer to his idol, Lincoln, who also wanted to preserve the Union. Devastated by the assassination of President Lincoln, Walt Whitman wrote “O Captain! My Captain!,” “This Dust Was Once the Man,” and
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