Abraham Lincoln and Divorce: A Historical Perspective

January 17, 2013

In the United States, divorce has been present as far back as the colonization. However, it was not until 2010 that all 50 states had a no-fault divorce law in place, with New York being the last state. Abraham Lincoln is not the first image of a divorce attorney that comes to mind, yet he handled over 125 divorce cases in eleven Illinois county circuit courts between 1837 and 1861. This Wall Street Journal article provides detailed information about the types of cases Lincoln handled. The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War of Middle Tennessee sponsored a program last month that looked at Lincoln’s work as a divorce attorney for insight on him and the culture within which he worked. One has to ask, what would Abraham Lincoln think of divorce in modern society?