A play by John Drinkwater
Presented by The Online Stage.
In survey after survey, Abraham Lincoln is universally ranked as the greatest of America's presidents, setting standards for honesty, courage, compassion and ethical responsibility. John Drinkwater's play was the British poet's first theatrical success, opening in England in 1918 to surprising acclaim and making its way to Broadway in 1919, to even stronger public enthusiasm. It was produced on radio by Orson Wells on August 15, 1938, on his program, The Mercury Theater on the Air. In 1924, a two-reel film version of the play was distributed nationwide, one of the very first sound films, and on May 26, 1952, the play was presented on television on the anthology series Studio One, with film icon James Dean in a very noticeable supporting role.
After a brief poetic prologue, the play depicts six scenes from Lincoln's life that illustrate key aspects of his remarkable character:
- His acceptance of the Republican nomination for President
- The outbreak of hostilities at Fort Sumter
- Discussions with three very different individuals about the conduct of the war
- The emancipation proclamation
- The surrender at Appomattox
- The assassination at Ford's Theater