What was Abraham Lincoln's exact height and weight?

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osurpless eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, is known throughout history not just for the challenges of his presidency but also for his height and weight and the many amusing stories involving these that contribute to his high stature among US presidents. Lincoln was 6'4 in height and 180 pounds in weight. Not only is this still well above the average height of men (5'8) in 2015, it was considerably more so during his adult life in 19th century America, in which the average was 5 feet 5 inches. The realities of poor nutrition, health care, and knowledge of disease were the factors that most stunted human growth rates during this time.

This further contributed to his larger than life persona, to the point that he is often given a stentorian and powerful voice during film and television portrayals. While this adds to the legend of his life, it is reported that Daniel Day Lewis' slight Southern drawl and low key manner in the 2012 movieĀ "Lincoln" was far more accurate to his actual voice and manner of speaking.

Not only was he tall, he was quite thin relative to his height, giving his a lanky appearance that his clothing choice and stovepipe hat further emphasized. This not only make him look taller, it hid his physical strength, as he was a capable wrestler in his youth. Lincoln was skilled at using his lean frame to turn his opponent's greater weight and strength against them, quite similar to leverage techniques in judo. One need only look to the wrestling match against one Jack Armstrong, a skilled strongman who had never been thrown by an opponent. While it is disputed how the match played out, it is firmly placed in the mythos of Abraham Lincoln.

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