Abraham Lincoln with no beard: Did the president always have a beard?

Abraham Lincoln with no beard: Did the president always have a beard?

If you are an avid reader, you might have come across Christopher Oldstone-Moore's book Of Beards and Men. The book delves into the many meanings behind beards and their significance throughout history. Among the topics in the book is Abraham Lincoln's beard. Many readers were surprised to learn that the famous leader once had a clean-shaven face. So what happened? And is there a photo of Abraham Lincoln with no beard?

Abraham Lincoln with no beard
The 16th president of America with and without a beard. Photo: Bettmann, The Print Collector (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Abraham Lincoln is one of the most recognisable figures in American history. He is famous for being the county's 16th president and for his iconic beard and stovepipe hat. However, you may be surprised to learn 16th president of America did not always have facial hair. So, why did he decide to have one?

Who is Abraham Lincoln?

He was the 16th president of the United States. He served from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Historians regard Abraham as one of the greatest American presidents, known for his leadership during the Civil War and his efforts to end slavery.

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Abraham promoted the passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution, which abolished slavery and involuntary serv*tude. His Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 declared that all enslaved people in Confederate-held territory were free.

Did Abraham Lincoln always have a beard?

No, he didn't. According to the Buffalo History Museum, the 16th president didn't have a facial hair in 1860 before his presidency. He only grew one months before his inauguration.

During his campaign in 1860, Abraham was beardless and was the source of ridicule from his opponents because of his frail appearance. Historians describe him as tall and skinny with sunken cheeks and black hair.

Who told Abraham Lincoln to grow a beard?

Abraham Lincoln with no beard
The head of Abraham Lincoln was sculpted into the granite rock of Mount Rushmore in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Photo: Federica Grassi
Source: Getty Images

Grace Bedell, a young girl from Westfield, New York, did. She wrote a letter to then-presidential candidate on 15 October 1860. In her letter, Bedell suggested that Lincoln grow a beard, believing it would make him more attractive to voters. She wrote,

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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.

Abraham responded to Bedell's letter, thanking her for her suggestion and stating that he would consider it. Later after winning the election, the president travelled through Bedell's hometown of Westfield and stopped to meet her.

According to history, Bedell was pleased to see Lincoln had taken her suggestion to heart and grown facial hair. Abraham reportedly told her,

You see, I let these whiskers grow for you, Grace.

Why did Abraham Lincoln wear a beard?

Because he was told that it would improve his appearance, appeal to the voters and make him look strong. During his presidential campaign, Abraham began growing his beard in 1860 after a suggestion from an 11-year-old girl.

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The letter suggested that growing a beard would help him win the election. Lincoln responded to the letter on 19 October 1860. He wrote,

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 affection if I were to begin it now? Your very sincere well-wisher

Was Lincoln the first president with a beard?

No. John Quincy Adams, the sixth American president, was the first president with facial hair and was not clean-shaven. However, he didn't have a facial hair but rather large sideburns that covered most of his face. John Quincy Adams served as the US president from 1825 to 1829.

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Abraham Lincoln's pictures

If you are interested in the pictures of America's 16th president, check them below:

Abraham Lincoln with no beard
America's 16th president poses in different attires. Photo: Bettmann, Library of Congress, Universal History Archive (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images

Frequently asked questions

  1. Who is Abraham Lincoln? He was the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865.
  2. Why did Lincoln shave his beard? Lincoln didn't shave his beard but instead grew one after a suggestion from an 11-year-old girl.
  3. Did Abraham Lincoln always have a beard? He didn't always have facial hair. Before his inauguration, the statesman had a clean-shaven face.
  4. What was the effect of Lincoln growing out his beard? The impact of Lincoln growing out his beard was that he won public approval. Also, it is believed that his facial hair saved him from an attempted assassination in 1861.
  5. What are three interesting facts about Abraham Lincoln? The three interesting facts about him are that he was 6 foot 4 inches, came from a poor background, and successfully abolished slavery in the United States.
  6. Why is Lincoln called honest Abe? He earned the nickname due to his reputation as an honest politician and lawyer.
  7. What is the most important fact about Abraham Lincoln? The most important fact about him is that he issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared slaves within the Confederacy free.

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Abraham Lincoln with no beard, is a less familiar image to many people. Most people associate the 16th president of the USA with his iconic beard and large hat. Before growing his famous beard, Lincoln was a clean-shaven man. It is through the suggestion of a young 11-year-old girl that the prominent president got his iconic look.

What is the most bizarre law you have ever come across? Yen.com.gh published an interesting article about the top 15 weird laws in the US that you would not believe exist.

From a law barring donkeys from sleeping in bathtubs to another, that prohibits whispering in church, the list of weird laws is indeed strange. So, what other absurd laws exist in the USA?

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Source: YEN.com.gh

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