Microsoft IT Academy: Word
Ima Smart Cookie
14 March 2014
Abraham Lincoln: A TECHNOLOGY LEADER OF HIS TIME
If Abraham Lincoln were alive today, he would fight just as hard to keep his BlackBerry as President Barack Obama did.
Despite his popular image as a log-splitting bumpkin and small-time country lawyer, Lincoln had an avid interest in cutting-edge technology. As an attorney, he represented railroads. During the Civil War, he haunted the telegraph office (which provided the instant-messaging of its day) for the latest news from the front and was actively involved in directing troops. He encouraged weapons development and even tested some new rifles himself on the White House lawn.
He is the only U.S. president to hold a patent (No. 6469, Granted May 22, 1849). It was for a device to lift riverboats over shoals. Jason Emerson, author of “Lincoln the Inventor”, notes that the 16th president was a product of an American age of innovation, invention and expansion, was intensely inquisitive, and possessed a mechanical mind and a need to know how things work. "He never came across a machine or invention or scientific idea that he did not stop to investigate, both physically and mentally," Emerson says. "He not only created his own invention but had ideas for other inventions, such as an agricultural steam plow and a naval steam ram, [and] was fascinated by patent cases as an attorney and also by new innovations during the Civil War."
Lincoln easily fits into the "notion of America as a land of tinkerers," says Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James McPherson. "Here is someone with no particular training in the construction of boats, navigation, and the like but with some experience in riverboat travel who draws on that experience for a patentable idea," he says. In his book, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in...