The premise of the book is that Abraham Lincoln was a homosexual, or at least a bisexual. The problem with this premise is that it is purely conjecture and the author does not support it at all. Basically, he just made it up.
C.A. Tripp was a sex researcher and colleague of Alfred Kinsey, and author of The Homosexual Matrix. This background so stilted his research methods and how he drew his conclusions that the book is simply a preconceived contention in search of support. Unfortunately for Tripp, he provides none. Tripp passed away two weeks after supposedly completing the manuscript for the book. In an introduction, the Mary Todd Lincoln biographer Jean Baker apologetically notes that if Tripp had lived he most certainly would have had to edit the book more extensively and that at least one more chapter would likely have been added. In reality, another chapter would not have made any difference. The book is so weak that the publishers provided three “reactions and comments” from outside reviewers in an Afterword. The book also includes three appendices that supposedly support the author’s contention, though these materials actually do not provide any additional support whatsoever.
The only “evidence” that Tripp provides for Lincoln’s presumed homosexual tendencies is the well known fact that Lincoln shared beds with men during his lifetime. But this standard is so low that the majority of men during that era would be classified as having homosexual tendencies, as it was commonplace to share sleeping arrangements in the cramped quarters of the time. This is especially true for those, like Lincoln, who were quite poor early in their lives and who traveled extensively on the legal circuit with other lawyers and judges. Tripp offers no evidence at all of any sexual relationship with anyone. He merely presumes it and bases the entire book on this unsupported assumption. Of all the writings by Lincoln, his presumed inamoratos, friends, colleagues, and family, none suggests any sexual relationship at all with any man. In fact, all suggestions by Lincoln’s contemporaries of normal sleeping arrangements are rebuffed by Tripp as somehow, these people who knew him best, simply being oblivious to the obvious signs. The problem is that these signs are apparently obvious only to a homosexual sex researcher of the late 20th century incapable of viewing events from the perspective of the first half of the 1800s. His only other “evidence” is the fact that Lincoln told some ribald jokes; something again that ignores the fact that Lincoln was constantly telling stories, most of which were not, in fact, sexually oriented at all. Nor does telling jokes make anyone gay.
It should be noted that most of the book actually is taken up questioning his relationships with the various women Lincoln courted. Somehow all of these heterosexual relationships, and the fact that he sired four children with Mary Todd (who he spends an entire chapter decimating), merely show that he was secretly harboring homosexual tendencies. In the end, the book provides no evidence whatsoever of such tendencies, and in fact, provides substantial evidence to the contrary. Clearly the book was written based on the predisposition of the author and cannot be considered a credible examination of Lincoln’s life.
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David J. Kent is an avid Lincolnophile and the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity. You can order a signed copy directly from me, download the ebook at barnesandnoble.com, and find hard copies exclusively at Barnes and Noble bookstores.