Abraham Lincoln's dream of freeing captive Africans
caused him to be compared to Don Quixote. This 1861 etching of
Lincoln as Quixote hangs in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian.
Lincoln, holding a quill pen, has made a list of Union defeats; his inkwell is in the shape of an artillery mortar. His foot rests irreverently on a stack of books labeled “Constitution,” “Law,” and “Habeas Corpus.” Beside the legs of Lincoln’s chair lie a rail and an ax, allusions to his humble origins, and resting against the seat back is a John Brown pike, a symbol associating Lincoln with abolition and anarchy. The picture on the wall is General Winfield Scott, Lincoln’s first commander of the army, covered in feathers. Scott was known to his detractors as 'Old Fuss and Feathers.''
The etching was made by Adalbert Volck.
Volck did not like Lincoln.
Some people read Don Quixote
and conclude he was a madman, a fool,
an object of ridicule.
Others, like Thomas (Tommy) Jefferson
and Theodore Roosevelt,
read Don Quixote and are inspired by him.