Mary Todd Lincoln is an enigma to most people. The facts that most remember are that she was a shrew and eventually was committed to an insane asylum. But that definition is much too simple--there were other sides to this complex personality. Her awareness of the political pulse of this country was instrumental in the election of her husband as president. Her ego-driven idea of what the leader of a nation should be changed the White House from a "countrified plantation" into a residence fit for a figurehead and president. She was an emancipated woman long before her husband began the emancipation of another minority. The final horror of her husband's death and her institutionalization are re-lived by a woman, not an historical figure. For all her faults, Mary Todd Lincoln was in many ways "the" first first lady, a woman who insisted that her voice be heard. "Pass My Imperfections Lightly By" is a dramatic examination of a unique personality which history tends to simplify.
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