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Abraham Lincoln and the Chicken Bone Case

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Abraham Lincoln and the Chicken Bone Case

Before Abraham Lincoln was one of our most important presidents in American history, he was a very successful lawyer. Although he was very smart in politics he was not that strong with his speech and book smarts, most likely because of where he was brought up and the opportunities life gave him and his family. In this famous case he learned how to communicate with the jury using useful techniques.

During a fire a man named Samuel Flemming was caught under a collapsed chimney and injured his legs. He was able to make it to the doctors in the town; Dr. Freese, Dr. Crother, and Dr. Rodgers, and they told him the left leg was scrapped but the right was fracture. The doctor bandaged him up and gave him a splint for his right leg to heal naturally. In eight days the doctors looked at it again and saw the left leg was healing fine but the right was healing crooked. The doctor realigned the splint and told him to come back in a couple days. When Flemming returned he was told that surgery was to be performed to fix the leg. All the doctors helped perform the surgery plus a medical student Isaac Small. Flemming was poorly seduced under chloroform and had to be awake during the surgery. Flemming in pain, told the doctors to stop every time they started to perform the surgery, eventually the surgery had never happened.

Soon after the surgery Flemming filed a law suit against the doctors for male practice stating, " thereby suffered and underwent great and unnecessary pain and anguish... is much reduced and weakened body,". Flemming wanted payment of $10,000 from the defendants. The prosecuting attorney was to be Abraham Lincoln. Throughout the case many of the defendant's witnesses and the defendants themselves had moved to different locations and were hard to reach. In one portion of the case chicken bones were used to illustrate what Fleming's leg had done in the process of the fracture. In the end the defendants had given up and paid the money, Lincoln had won.

The "Chicken Bone Case" illustrates the great communicative skills of Abraham Lincoln, who understood his audience and used wit and metaphors to explain complex issues. soon after the case with Flemming, Abraham Lincoln was preoccupied with the race for Illinois senate ,when he was nominated in June.



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