Obama pays public tribute to Lincoln's unifying legacy

Barack Obama paid a visit to the Lincoln Memorial at the weekend, publicly honouring the man who inspired his career and whose legacy is to provide a major theme for the inauguration in eight days.

The President-elect took his family to the monument on Saturday night, where they admired the statue of the 16th President, before studying the inscriptions of his greatest speeches, including the Gettysburg Address.

It was the latest indication that Mr Obama intends to begin his presidency citing his hero, an opponent of slavery who led the abolitionist North during the Civil War of 1861-65.

He has decided to be sworn into office using Abraham Lincoln's bible, and will spend three days this week travelling by train from Philadelphia to Washington, following the final leg of an identical journey taken by Lincoln.

The theme of Mr Obama's inauguration week, "A New Birth of Freedom", was inspired by Lincoln's speeches, while the menu for the lunch following his swearing-in is a replica of the one enjoyed by his predecessor.

According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inauguration Ceremonies, which has published recipes on its internet site, 200 guests will be served on plates identical to the fine bone china ordered for the White House by Lincoln's wife, Mary.

The appetiser will be seafood stew, while the main course is to be "a brace of American birds". This will have duck breast with sour-cherry chutney and herb-roasted pheasant, all served with molasses, sweet potatoes and winter vegetables. Lincoln, who grew up on the frontier in Kentucky and Indiana, was a fan of root vegetables and game. The "apple cinnamon sponge cake" being prepared for dessert is said to provide a nod to Mr Lincoln's love of both apples and cake.

Mr Obama and Abraham Lincoln have plenty in common. Both overcame poor backgrounds to become successful lawyers in Illinois. They share a skill for inspirational speechmaking, and both took office at a time of political turbulence.

Although opponents detect a whiff of the PR stunt in the President-elect's efforts to ally himself with such a pivotal figure, Mr Obama's affection for Lincoln appears to go back a long way. It is mentioned throughout Mr Obama's book The Audacity of Hope, and was also cited when he announced his decision to run for the presidency in Springfield, Illinois, on the steps of the Old Capitol, where Lincoln was a legislator.

* Get a copy of menu and recipes at http://inaugural.senate.gov/luncheon/

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own