Honest Abe in the Age of Digital Media

14 Articles

More than a century after his death, the 16th U.S. president remains a contentious figure in social media circles.

Person, Human, Poster
Image via MPI/Getty Images

For many, the character qualities attributed to Abraham Lincoln outweigh the accomplishments of his political career. And for those of us living in the digital age, we might associate internet rumors, questionable quotes, and fabled legends with “Honest Abe.”  

Aside from the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, some may argue that Lincoln is most known for his untimely death by assassination, which took place on April 14, 1865, when the president was shot by actor and Confederate sympathizer John Wilkes Boothe while Lincoln attended a production at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. Lincoln died the following day. 

In the more than 150 years since his death, the 16th president has been the center of social media rumors and digital claims, from so-called “coincidences” that linked Lincoln’s assassination to that of John F. Kennedy in 1963 to rumors of spectral sightings of Lincoln’s ghost haunting the White House.

As the internet has grown to enshroud Lincoln in mystery and questionable quotes, Snopes has investigated claims that tell stories of his failures, historical “coincidences,” and political views on slavery, racial equality, and prosperity (to name a few). 

Below is a compilation of more than two decades’ worth of Snopes fact checks pertaining to the life and death of “Old Abe.” 

Racist Abe A photograph showing a protester holding a sign reading "Lincoln Was Racist" is fake.
Racist Abe