The politics of touch

A brief but interesting article about the history of handshaking, with particular emphasis on Lincoln’s use of it as a political tool. Amazing to think that something as commonplace as handshaking has a history!

Lincoln was a prodigious handshaker, and it added to his reputation as an egalitarian, common man, one literally and figuratively in touch with the people.

A marathon handshaking session in New York in February 1861 as president-elect left him with hurt hands. Just after his election as president, according to J. G. Holland in 1866, Lincoln met with crowds whose “hand-shaking … was something fearful” with “Every man in the crowd … anxious to wrench the hand of Abraham Lincoln. He finally gave both hands to the work, with great good nature.”

Source: Abraham Lincoln, Joe Biden and the politics of touch

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