Historical Interview Sample
Good Afternoon. Mr. Lincoln, you are definitely one of the most prominent figures in the U.S. history. And a lot of people are interested in your childhood and youth. Can you tell me few words about that time?
Thank you for your question and for calling me the most prominent figure in the U.S. history. While discussing my childhood, I want to mention that it was a hard time. I remember myself being a tall boy with an axe in my hands. By nineteen I was nearly six foot, however, my weight was not proportionate to this. My family was not a wealthy one, and we always had to move from one place to another. It did not allow me to attend school frequently. However, even when I was a boy, I understood that I desperately needed education. And for that reason, I tried to read a lot of books in order to educate myself in such a way. I was a kind of avid bookworm.
And can you tell me, when did you understand that it was the high time to enter the adult and independent life?
It was in 1830. My family moved to another place, and I took the decision to start my independent life. I found the temporary job. I moved to New Salem, Illinois and there I devoted the time to self-education and then became the local teacher.
And can you tell me few words about your life?
In general, I can say that God blessed me, as I managed to fulfill my goal and bring positive outcome to my country. In my life, I was shaped by my career as a lawyer, but I was also really very interested in politics. Politics was one of the most significant things in my life. I may even state that it was a sense of my life. It was a tool that assisted me to communicate the American people my viewpoint. Politics has helped me to introduce the necessary changes, and to become a strong leader.
Presidency was also important part of my life. It gave me an opportunity to abolish slavery.
And can you tell, what do you consider to be the most significant breakthrough of your time?
You must understand that the 19th century was the time, when the U.S. was affected by its chronic diseases, slavery. This was the epoch when white people considered themselves to be white rulers of the world. They treated African-Americans as cattle, as if they did not have feeling and emotions.
My father worked hard and he morally understood the feelings and hardships of African-American slaves. I grew up and understood that slavery is one of the main evils, which were present in the American society. It ruined human perception of the world. Moreover, it ruined morality. For that reason, I consider that the abolition of slavery is one of the most essential steps, which American people managed to do in the 19th century. It was the action that helped them to develop a new world, free world with innovative principles and rules.
But do you consider that it was fair to start a war in order to make this important step. You are really smart man, and could not you think about possible ways to solve this issue without blood and victims?
It was a difficult time. And I did everything possible to avoid this war. However, try to understand that the main thing was not just slavery abolition. Civil war was necessary for the U.S. The thing is that this was not only the bloodiest war over the U.S. lifetime; it was a great disaster, which radically changed the face of the United States. It helped to stop the confrontations between the North and the South. It destroyed the entire civilization, and laid the foundation of a new America, including its political structure, psychology and mentality of citizens.
I want to emphasize that I definitely looked for the possible ways of solving this conflict without any victims, but it was impossible. It was not stubbornness, but the differences in the vision of the world. Try to understand the fact that before the Civil War there were two different Americas: Southern and Northern. These were two different parts, which had few things in common. They developed differently, had different dreams and different worldview. Civil War turned out to be a powerful engine, which managed to make one country out of these parts.
Unfortunately, it also brought a great number of deaths. A lot of fathers, sons, and husbands were killed. But this disastrous event was necessary. I may compare it to disastrous operation, which brings a person great sufferings, but results in healing the disease and life extension. The same situation was in the U.S. Civil War was a time that helped the U.S. leaders to get rid of slavery. Civil War has helped Americans to look at the world differently, to understand that the U.S. is a free country. And it is free not only for white Americans, but also to black ones. They are also citizens and they should be free and independent.
Abolition of slavery is one of the most noteworthy actions, which I deed. But I was not alone, there were a lot of people who fought and struggled in order to make the U.S. free country. Presidency is also one of the most essential deeds, which I made in my life. I cannot tell you whether it was good or bad for our country, but I always tried to be wise ruler and tried to remain human being. I was criticized for having tender feminine heart. Maybe, this was true. I took after my mother. I really tried to understand all the people who came to me with their problems. I tried to be wise President. After my inauguration and Presidency the U.S. experienced really difficult times. I tried to be energetic, firm and strong ruler.
One more question. You must have probably heard that most people consider you to be unable to lie? Is it really true, or is it just a myth.
I would like to note that since childhood my father has taught me that lie is the worst evil in the world. However, all the rumors are certainly exaggerated. I am a human being and have my own complexities and drawbacks. I can just say that Honest Abe is really honest, but it does not compensate for all my drawbacks. I was always compassionate and devoted to doing my best to enhance the daily lives of Americans where I thought it both prudent and practicable to so. I am the lifelong pessimist; I frequently have the short memory when it comes to personal friendship (Thornton, 231).
And what about that story with the six and quarter cents, was it really a true one? Researchers Leeming and Page in their work “Myths, Legends, and Folktales of America: An Anthology” (1999) have created a colorful legend out of this event (120), where they depict how you arrived to your customer’s home to return extra money.
Oh, it’s funny. Actually, I do not remember it. Of course I always tried to be honest and made right calculations, but this story is rather exaggerated.
You know, there exist another myth, according to which you are too compassionate. Is it true?
I am human being, and that means that the feeling of compassion lives in my heart. However, I am a politician and I never allowed this feeling to blur my mind and consciousness. I took part in one of the bloodiest wars in the history of the U.S., and it proves that I cannot be overwhelmed by the feeling of compassion.
One more question. It is generally accepted fact that man’s wife is his best friend and advisor. You know there exists a myth that you had extremely happy marriage (Grabowski, 26), is it really true?
Of course it is rather surprising that I had “extremely happy marriage”. This is rather controversial statement; the thing is that Mary and I were devoted to each other and to our children. However, we were too different, like black and white. We had different characters, but she was my pushing power that assisted me to become a president. She was extremely smart, but as every woman she had her own peculiar character. Of course sometimes she was angry, and sometimes she was gentle and kind. But today, I understand that she was definitely my spouse chosen in heaven. Every person comes to earth with his/her own objective. My objective was the abolition of slavery and uniting the country. This woman turned out to be my engine. She was my motivator. Without her I would not achieved those, which I achieved. For that reason, you might perceive my marriage as happy time. Of course it was rather tragic, as we lost most of our children, there were a lot of problems, quarrels, and mistakes, but I still consider it to be happy. If I had a chance to change my life, I would make a lot of changes, but I would definitely choose the same wife.
Thank you for your true answers, time, and effort, which you devoted to our interview. I am definitely sure that our readers will be glad to find out about the facts, which you have told me.
You are welcome. I appreciate the fact that people in the U.S. are still interested in the personality of Abraham Lincoln.