Constitution Daily

Smart conversation from the National Constitution Center

10 ways Abraham Lincoln remains in our daily lives

February 12, 2019 by NCC Staff


Abraham Lincoln, the man, was a national figure for a little less than a decade in his lifetime. But Lincoln, the legend, is a daily part of most American’s lives as a figure represented in currency, pop culture and our geography.

lincolnobjectsIf you think about it, how many times on a daily basis do you see Lincoln’s image, hear his name or see his name on everything from schools to roads to buildings?

Here is a look at 10 different areas where Abraham Lincoln remains with us as an icon.

1. The Lincoln Cent. The Victor David Brenner image of President Lincoln has been featured on the penny since 1909.  It replaced the “Indian Head” design that appeared from 1859-1909. Estimates vary on how many cent coins are in circulation today, with numbers ranging from 140 billion to more than 200 billion.

2. The Lincoln Five Dollar Bill. The first Federal Reserve Note with Lincoln’s likeness was issued in 1914. The Fed says the average $5 bill lasts in circulation for about five years. There are about $11 billion worth of $5 bills in circulation today.

3. Businesses named after Lincoln. We really don’t know how many there are. There’s Lincoln Financial Group for starters, and there are banks and insurance companies named for Lincoln, and stores and other retail businesses. Look around your town to see how many Lincolns you have in business.

4. Cars. The Lincoln Motor Company was founded in 1917 as a luxury car maker by Henry Leland, and it was acquired by Ford five years later. Lincoln limousines were also used by many modern Presidents, starting with Franklin Roosevelt and ending with George H.W. Bush.

5. Towns. A few years ago, PBS did a nice map that showed about three dozen towns and cities named after Abraham Lincoln. You’ll notice on the map that no towns in the South are named for the 16th President. Any town or county in that region called Lincoln was named after Benjamin Lincoln, a general from the Revolutionary War era.

6. Toys. The classic Lincoln Log toy set dates back to 1916 when they were invented by Frank Lloyd Wright’s son, John Lloyd Wright. The classic edition was for a frontier cabin, but modern Lincoln Logs come in different configurations – but they are still made from wood.

7. Schools. Many educational institutions across the country have Lincoln has part of their name, starting with Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, California and Missouri, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. In Illinois, 89 public schools have Lincoln in their name.

8. Movies and TV. Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” is the longest in a series of films about Abraham Lincoln that started in 1908. Walter Huston, Henry Fonda, Raymond Massey, and Daniel Day-Lewis have all taken turns portraying Lincoln in different situations.

9. Books. Lincoln’s life and presidency remain an unending source of book materials, from scholarly analyses to the popular “Killing Lincoln” from Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard. has more than 40,000 books related to Abraham Lincoln for sale and more than 3,000 biographies.

10. Monuments. Two truly iconic American monuments feature the 16th President. The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was designed by Henry Bacon and opened in 1922. The Memorial’s site has become historic in itself, as the location of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech. Abraham Lincoln is also one of four Presidents featured in the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. Lincoln’s Tomb is located in Springfield, Illinois.


Sign up for our email newsletter