Go Ahead and Ask… You May Change History

I wonder... what suggestions do we all hold to ourselves?

Here in the U.S. we have great opportunities to shed stigmas and break barriers that are not possible in some societies or countries. A perfect example comes from a little girl in the annals of history — long forgotten, but forever literally changed the face of history.

Grace Bedell

Abraham Lincoln - 1860 Election PhotoJust 11 years old, young Grace wrote to Abraham Lincoln just before his first election. Innocently, respectfully, and un-presumingly, that little girl told Lincoln that if he grew out his whiskers she could get more people to vote for him. Such honest words of a sweet appraisal of an adult she respected prompted Lincoln to complete the look engraved, stamped, and carved into countless memorials and depictions — a bearded Abe Lincoln.

Her words come alive when you read them. Put yourself in her shoes as you read this:

Hon A B Lincoln…Dear Sir

My father has just home from the fair and brought home your picture and Mr. Hamlin’s. I am a little girl only 11 years old, but want you should be President of the United States very much so I hope you wont think me very bold to write to such a great man as you are. Have you any little girls about as large as I am if so give them my love and tell her to write to me if you cannot answer this letter. I have got 4 brothers and part of them will vote for you any way and if you let your whiskers grow I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you you would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President. My father is going to vote for you and if I was a man I would vote for you to but I will try to get every one to vote for you that I can I think that rail fence around your picture makes it look very pretty I have got a little baby sister she is nine weeks old and is just as cunning as can be. When you direct your letter direct to Grace Bedell Westfield Chautauqua County New York.

I must not write any more answer this letter right off Good bye

Grace Bedell

Now read it again… from Lincoln’s point of view. What changed for you?

Interestingly, it looks like Abe took some time to warm up to the idea or consulted with others, because this is how he replied:
Abraham Lincoln - 1864

Springfield, Ill Oct 19, 1860Miss Grace Bedell

My dear little Miss

Your very agreeable letter of the 15th is received – I regret the necessity of saying I have no daughters – I have three sons – one seventeen, one nine, and one seven years of age – They, with their mother, constitute my whole family – As to the whiskers, having never worn any, do you not think people would call it a piece of silly affectation if I were to begin it now?
Your very sincere well wisher

A. Lincoln

I think she was on to something. Are you on to something, too?