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Abraham Lincoln Nearly Had a Duel with James Shields

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abraham lincoln duel Abraham Lincoln almost had a duel with James Shields, an attorney in Illinois. What was it that could have caused Abraham Lincoln to almost be involved in a duel with a fellow Illinois law man? As with all duels it was a question of honor. You’ll never believe why it didn’t proceed.

There’s little doubt that Abraham Lincoln is perhaps the most widely known comma and respect it world leaders in all history. He is often remembered for his roll as president during the American civil war which saw the end of slavery in the civilized world. Many people also regarding him as a gentle giant, which makes this fact all that more interesting.

It all began around 1842. At the time James Shields was a state attorney and auditor in Illinois. That’s obviously the same state and time that Lincoln was a state legislator. Due to their respective roles one would expect a less than harmonious repertoire between the pair. And wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what happened.

In the Sangamo Journal of Springfield, anonymous letter began to be published criticizing Shields work. It was believed that either Mary Todd, who at that state wasn’t yet betrothed to Lincoln, or Lincoln himself wrote the letters. So James Shields challenged Abraham Lincoln to a duel. Being a gentleman and not a coward, Lincoln accepted, despite duels being outlawed threw years earlier.

On September 22, 1842, both parties met for battle. As Lincoln was the one who was challenged, he got to choose the weapon of battle. Lets just say that he chose wisely. Realising that as he was much taller than his opponent, and hence an easier target, Lincoln decided to steer clear of firearms. Using his intelligence he opted for, of all things, broadswords. Clearly his imposing size gave him an advantage, and he used it too. Shields quickly realized the advantage Lincoln had in the duel and withdrew his challenge. Perhaps it was his own impending doom that forced his back down. Shields was apologetic the whole time, and the entire affair was soon put behind them. Both men soon made peace and went on to form a friendship. 

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