I enjoyed Craig Cotora’s Nov. 19 letter, in which he compared Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney’s acts of kindness to Abe Lincoln’s “hundreds of individual acts of kindness” and suggests that those acts helped ensure passage of the 13th Amendment, which faced a close vote in the House.

While it is true that Lincoln’s “acts of kindness” helped, so did some old-fashioned horse-trading, which Lincoln, a born politician, was not above. As one example, the Democratic representative from Brooklyn, Moses Odell, switched his vote in support of the amendment and later received a lucrative government post in his home state.

In any event, the bill passed 119 to 56, exceeding the necessary two-thirds majority. It was one of Lincoln’s greatest triumphs. It was also his last. Ten weeks after its passage in the House, Lincoln was assassinated.

Bruce G. Kauffmann, Alexandria