There is much controversy surrounding Mary Todd Lincoln, but since her family's time in Washington, she has been largely misunderstood. To many Americans she is an unpopular first lady who struggle and suffered many issues following her husband's assassination. An analysis of her family history shows the broader story. Her father and grandfather were successful businessmen, politically astute, and well connected men in her home town of Lexington, KY. The family as a whole was rich in their political views and had a history of anti-slavery sentiment dating back across multiple generations. She was also not the only Todd in the limelight, at one time there were over forty Todds active in Kentucky politics and in influential positions. Mary and her son, Robert Todd Lincoln brought these traits to a level of national influence. This article seeks to explore the development of these traits and trace them across four generations with Levi Todd, Robert Smith Todd, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Robert Todd Lincoln to explore how they were both embraced and rejected as well as the contributions these traits made to the family's social status and influence.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2013


Thomas H. Appleton

Mentor Department Affiliation

History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Department Name when Degree Awarded