WWLT: What Would Lincoln Tweet?

November 5, 1862

Petitioners frequently besieged Abraham Lincoln with personal requests, from patronage job postings to his support of pet bills. During the Civil War, officers often sought his endorsement for a promotion in rank.

On September 23, 1862, Colonel William Morrison, wounded at the battle of Fort Donelson the previous winter, wrote Lincoln complaining the he had heard rumors that the president was going to pass him over for promotion and instead promote officers that were his junior. A pro-Union Democrat, Morrison admitted he did not always agree with Lincoln.

Morrison whined that such poor treatment from Lincoln was an “insult to my manhood, a most wicked injustice. I have not deserved this of you.”

When he received Morrison’s letter on November 5, Lincoln’s response was a model calm reserve. He explained that such rumors were false, and he could not “even conjecture what juniors of yours, you suppose I contemplate promoting over you.”

Lincoln’s final line to Morrison make for a fine Tweet:

In considering military merit, it seems to me the world has abundant evidence that I discard politics. (101 characters)

Lincoln obviously had more serious wartime concerns.

By the way, Morrison was elected to Congress the day before Lincoln received that letter. Thus, his worries about rank vanished.

Source: Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Vol. 5, 487.

We’ve got to do better than this, folks.

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