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The Insanity Retrial of Mary Todd Lincoln

The Insanity Retrial of Mary Todd Lincoln

Part courtroom drama, part medical inquiry, The Insanity Retrial of Mary Todd Lincoln brings the past into the present. In 1875, Robert Todd Lincoln, son of the late President Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd Lincoln, petitioned the court to commit his mother to an asylum on charges of insanity.

Hosted by Bill Kurtis, the trial is re-enacted with a modern-day judge, practicing attorneys, and mental health experts who use facts based on actual witness statements from the 1875 trial. They apply current Illinois law regarding mental health proceedings and current health treatment to the dramatic and heartbreaking story of the nation’s 16th first lady.

The program was videotaped at the Murphy Auditorium in Chicago in front of an audience – who serve as the jury.

Learn about the travails and tragedies of the former first lady and vote on whether the evidence presented is enough to involuntarily commit Mary Todd Lincoln for inpatient treatment of a mental illness.

Watch the show. Examine the evidence. Gain an understanding of the mental health of the former first lady. Decide for yourself.

Lincoln Family Photo Album

Thomas “Tad” Lincoln. After his brother and father died in Washington D.C., Tad accompanied his mother to Europe. He died when he was 18.