Life in the White House
White House life was a mixed blessing for the Lincoln family. Lincoln called his White House office the “shop,” a tacit acknowledgement of the fact that the president’s home was a public building, open to all citizens. Lincoln received many visitors seeking to advance their careers, influence government policy, or acquire pardons. However, the line only grew, and the exhausted president restricted his “public hours.” Critics attacked Mary for unpatriotic extravagance for her redecorating and frequent entertaining. For the Lincolns’ younger sons, Willie and Tad, the grounds were a playground, but Willie’s death in 1862 cast a shadow over his grieving family.
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