The 'shrill' voice of history: President Abraham Lincoln delivered deeply influential speeches in ‘high’ voice





President Abraham Lincoln is widely portrayed in film and TV delivering speeches in an authoritative, booming voice.

The performance of Gregory Peck with his rich bass tones in mini-series The Blue and the Gray, in particular, no doubt helped to cement that perception.

But according to one historian, this could not be further from the truth.

Leading Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer believes the 16th U.S. President, the man who successfully led his country through the American Civil War with his famous speech, The Gettysburg Address, did so in a 'shrill and high' voice.

This would have been in stark contrast to the bass vocals which tended to dominate oratory in the 1850s and also against the artistic licence employed more recently by those who cast Peck and, among others, Sam Waterston as the great man himself....



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