Lincoln and Congress
William C. Harris Southern Illinois University Press, 2017 Library of Congress E459.H294 2017 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Winner, ISHS Annual Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2018
In Lincoln and Congress, William C. Harris reveals that the relationship between the president and Congress, though sometimes contentious, was cooperative rather than adversarial. During his time as president, Abraham Lincoln embodied his personal conviction that the nation’s executive should not interfere with the work of the legislature, and though often critical of him privately, in public congressional leaders compromised with and assisted the president to unite the North and minimize opposition to the war.
Despite the turbulence of the era and the consequent tensions within the government, the executive and legislative branches showed restraint in their dealings with each other. In fact, except in his official messages to Congress, Lincoln rarely lobbied for congressional action, and he vetoed only one important measure during his tenure as president. Many congressmen from Lincoln’s own party, although publicly supportive, doubted his leadership and sought a larger role for Congress in setting war policies. Though they controlled Congress, Republican legislators frequently differed among themselves in shaping legislation and in their reactions to events as well as in their relationships both with each other and with the president. Harris draws intriguing sketches of nineteenth-century congressional leaders and shows that, contrary to what historians have traditionally concluded, radical Republicans such as Representative Thaddeus Stevens and Senator Charles Sumner did not dominate their party or Congress. Harris includes the minority party’s role, showing that Northern Democrats and conservative Unionists of the border states generally opposed Republican policies but worked with them on support for the troops and on nonwar issues like the Pacific Railroad Bill.
Lincoln and Congress sheds new light on the influence of members of Congress and their relationship with Lincoln on divisive issues such as military affairs, finance, slavery, constitutional rights, reconstruction, and Northern political developments. Enjoyable both for casual Civil War readers and professional historians, this book provides an engaging narrative that helps readers redefine and understand the political partnership that helped the Union survive.
Born on the same day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were true contemporaries. Though shaped by vastly different environments, they had remarkably similar values, purposes, and approaches. In this exciting new study, James Lander places these two iconic men side by side and reveals the parallel views they shared of man and God.
While Lincoln is renowned for his oratorical prowess and for the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as many other accomplishments, his scientific and technological interests are not widely recognized; for example, many Americans do not know that Lincoln is the only U.S. president to obtain a patent. Darwin, on the other hand, is celebrated for his scientific achievements but not for his passionate commitment to the abolition of slavery, which in part drove his research in evolution. Both men took great pains to avoid causing unnecessary offense despite having abandoned traditional Christianity. Each had one main adversary who endorsed scientific racism: Lincoln had Stephen A. Douglas, and Darwin had Louis Agassiz.
With graceful and sophisticated writing, Lander expands on these commonalities and uncovers more shared connections to people, politics, and events. He traces how these two intellectual giants came to hold remarkably similar perspectives on the evils of racism, the value of science, and the uncertainties of conventional religion.
Separated by an ocean but joined in their ideas, Lincoln and Darwin acted as trailblazers, leading their societies toward greater freedom of thought and a greater acceptance of human equality. This fascinating biographical examination brings the mid-nineteenth-century discourse about race, science, and humanitarian sensibility to the forefront using the mutual interests and pursuits of these two historic figures.
Lincoln and Emancipation
Edna Greene Medford Southern Illinois University Press, 2015 Library of Congress E457.2.M497 2015 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
In this succinct study, Edna Greene Medford examines the ideas and events that shaped President Lincoln’s responses to slavery, following the arc of his ideological development from the beginning of the Civil War, when he aimed to pursue a course of noninterference, to his championing of slavery’s destruction before the conflict ended. Throughout, Medford juxtaposes the president’s motivations for advocating freedom with the aspirations of African Americans themselves, restoring African Americans to the center of the story about the struggle for their own liberation.
Lincoln and African Americans, Medford argues, approached emancipation differently, with the president moving slowly and cautiously in order to save the Union while the enslaved and their supporters pressed more urgently for an end to slavery. Despite the differences, an undeclared partnership existed between the president and slaves that led to both preservation of the Union and freedom for those in bondage. Medford chronicles Lincoln’s transition from advocating gradual abolition to campaigning for immediate emancipation for the majority of the enslaved, a change effected by the military and by the efforts of African Americans. The author argues that many players—including the abolitionists and Radical Republicans, War Democrats, and black men and women—participated in the drama through agitation, military support of the Union, and destruction of the institution from within. Medford also addresses differences in the interpretation of freedom: Lincoln and most Americans defined it as the destruction of slavery, but African Americans understood the term to involve equality and full inclusion into American society. An epilogue considers Lincoln’s death, African American efforts to honor him, and the president’s legacy at home and abroad.
Both enslaved and free black people, Medford demonstrates, were fervent participants in the emancipation effort, showing an eagerness to get on with the business of freedom long before the president or the North did. By including African American voices in the emancipation narrative, this insightful volume offers a fresh and welcome perspective on Lincoln’s America.
Lincoln’s reelection in 1864 was a pivotal moment in the history of the United States. The Emancipation Proclamation had officially gone into effect on January 1, 1863, and the proposed Thirteenth Amendment had become a campaign issue. Lincolnand Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment captures these historic times, profiling the individuals, events, and enactments that led to slavery’s abolition. Fifteen leading Lincoln scholars contribute to this collection, covering slavery from its roots in 1619 Jamestown, through the adoption of the Constitution, to Abraham Lincoln’s presidency.
This comprehensive volume, edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard, presents Abraham Lincoln’s response to the issue of slavery as politician, president, writer, orator, and commander-in-chief. Topics include the history of slavery in North America, the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision, the evolution of Lincoln’s view of presidential powers, the influence of religion on Lincoln, and the effects of the Emancipation Proclamation.
This collection effectively explores slavery as a Constitutional issue, both from the viewpoint of the original intent of the nation’s founders as they failed to deal with slavery, and as a study of the Constitutional authority of the commander-in-chief as Lincoln interpreted it. Addressed are the timing of Lincoln’s decision for emancipation and its effect on the public, the military, and the slaves themselves.
Other topics covered include the role of the U.S. Colored Troops, the election campaign of 1864, and the legislative debate over the Thirteenth Amendment. The volume concludes with a heavily illustrated essay on the role that iconography played in forming and informing public opinion about emancipation and the amendments that officially granted freedom and civil rights to African Americans.
Lincoln and Freedom provides a comprehensive political history of slavery in America and offers a rare look at how Lincoln’s views, statements, and actions played a vital role in the story of emancipation.
Lincoln and Medicine
Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein Southern Illinois University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E457.2.S375 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
The life of America’s sixteenth president has continued to fascinate the public since his tragic death. Now, Glenna R. Schroeder-Lein unveils an engaging volume on the medical history of the Lincoln family. Lincoln and Medicine, the first work on the subject in nearly eighty years, investigates the most enduring controversies about Lincoln’s mental health, physical history, and assassination; the conditions that afflicted his wife and children, both before and after his death; and Lincoln’s relationship with the medical field during the Civil War, both as commander-in-chief and on a personal level.
Since his assassination in 1865, Lincoln has been diagnosed with no less than seventeen conditions by doctors, historians, and researchers, including congestive heart failure, epilepsy, Marfan syndrome, and mercury poisoning. Schroeder-Lein offers objective scrutiny of the numerous speculations and medical mysteries that continue to be associated with the president’s physical and mental health, from the recent interest in testing Lincoln’s DNA and theories that he was homosexual, to analysis of the deep depressions, accidents, and illnesses that plagued his early years. Set within the broader context of the prevailing medical knowledge and remedies of the era, Lincoln and Medicine takes into account new perspectives on the medical history of Abraham Lincoln and his family, offering an absorbing and informative view into a much-mythologized, yet underinvestigated, dimension of one of the nation’s most famous leaders.
Best of the Best by the Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary School Libraries, 2013
“Once again, historian Richard Etulain has provided a scholarly, lively, and definitive look at Lincoln and the Pacific Northwest. Lincoln himself thought the ‘Far Corner’ of Oregon simply too far to become his own home, but his close ties to many friends who did migrate there remained important in both elections and war. Etulain re-creates the pioneer spirit and political fractiousness of Oregon with a keen eye for both the sweep of history and the small anecdotes that make the best history books irresistible.”
—Harold Holzer, Chairman, Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation
This cross-continental history demonstrates Abraham Lincoln’s strong connections with the Oregon Country on various political issues—Indian relations, military policies, civil and legal rights, and North-South ideological conflicts—before and during the Civil War years. Richard Etulain refutes the argument that Pacific Northwest residents were mere “spectators of disunion,” revealing instead that men and women of the Oregon Country were personally and emotionally involved in the controversial ideas and events that inflamed the United States during the fractious era. Etulain’s well-researched and clearly told story demonstrates how links between Washington, D.C., and the Oregon Country helped shape both Lincoln’s policies and Oregon politics.
Lincoln and Race
Richard Striner Southern Illinois University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E457.2.S893 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Abraham Lincoln is known as the Great Emancipator, yet his personal views on race have long been debated. Since his death, his legend has been shadowed by the mystery of his true stance toward non-whites. While Lincoln took many actions to fight slavery throughout his political career, his famously crafted speeches can be interpreted in different ways: at times his words suggest personal bigotry, but at other times he sounds like an enemy of racists. In Lincoln and Race, Richard Striner takes on one of the most sensitive subjects of Abraham Lincoln’s legacy, exploring in depth Lincoln’s mixed record and writings on the issue of race.
Striner gives fair hearing to two prevailing theories about Lincoln’s seemingly contradictory words and actions: Did Lincoln fight a long-term struggle to overcome his personal racism? Or were his racist comments a calculated act of political deception? Beginning with an exploration of the historical context of Lincoln’s attitudes toward race in the years before his presidency, Striner details the ambiguity surrounding the politician’s participation in the Free Soil Movement and his fight to keep slavery from expanding into the West. He explores Lincoln’s espousal of colonization—the controversial idea that freed slaves should be resettled in a foreign land—as a voluntary measure for black people who found the prospect attractive. The author analyzes some of Lincoln’s most racially charged speeches and details Lincoln’s presidential words and policies on race and the hotbed issue of voting rights for African Americans during the last years of the president’s life.\
A brief but comprehensive look into one of the most contentious quandaries about Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln and Race invites readers to delve into the mind, heart, and motives of one of America’s most fascinating and complex leaders.
Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools 2013 edition
Lincoln and Reconstruction
John C. Rodrigue Southern Illinois University Press, 2013 Library of Congress E458.R64 2013 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Although Abraham Lincoln dominates the literature on the American Civil War, he remains less commonly associated with reconstruction. Previous scholarly works touch on Lincoln and reconstruction, but they tend either to speculate on what Lincoln might have done after the war had he not been assassinated or to approach his reconstruction plans merely as a means of winning the war. In this thought-provoking study, John C. Rodrigue offers a succinct but significant survey of Lincoln’s wartime reconstruction initiatives while providing a fresh interpretation of the president’s plans for postwar America.
Revealing that Lincoln concerned himself with reconstruction from the earliest days of his presidency, Rodrigue details how Lincoln’s initiatives unfolded, especially in the southern states where they were attempted. He explores Lincoln’s approach to various issues relevant to reconstruction, including slavery, race, citizenship, and democracy; his dealings with Congressional Republicans, especially the Radicals; his support for and eventual abandonment of colonization; his dealings with the border states; his handling of the calls for negotiations with the Confederacy as a way of reconstructing the Union; and his move toward emancipation and its implications for his approach to reconstruction.
As the Civil War progressed, Rodrigue shows, Lincoln’s definition of reconstruction transformed from the mere restoration of the seceded states to a more fundamental social, economic, and political reordering of southern society and of the Union itself. Based on Lincoln’s own words and writings as well as an extensive array of secondary literature, Rodrigue traces the evolution of Lincoln’s thinking on reconstruction, providing new insight into a downplayed aspect of his presidency.
Lincoln and Religion
Ferenc Morton Szasz with Margaret Connell Szasz Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.2.S97 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Abraham Lincoln’s faith has commanded more broad-based attention than that of any other American president. Although he never joined a denomination, Baptists, Presbyterians, Quakers, Episcopalians, Disciples of Christ, Spiritualists, Jews, and even atheists claim the sixteenth president as one of their own. In this concise volume, Ferenc Morton Szasz and Margaret Connell Szasz offer both an accessible survey of the development of Lincoln’s religious views and an informative launch pad for further academic inquiry. A singular key to Lincoln’s personality, especially during the presidential years, rests with his evolving faith perspective.
After surveying Lincoln’s early childhood as a Hard-Shell Baptist in Kentucky and Indiana, the authors chronicle his move from skepticism to participation in Episcopal circles during his years in Springfield, and, finally, after the death of son Eddie, to Presbyterianism. They explore Lincoln’s relationship with the nation’s faiths as president, the impact of his son Willie’s death, his adaptation of Puritan covenant theory to a nation at war, the role of prayer during his presidency, and changes in his faith as reflected in the Emancipation Proclamation and his state papers and addresses. Finally, they evaluate Lincoln’s legacy as the central figure of America’s civil religion, an image sharpened by his prominent position in American currency.
A closing essay by Richard W. Etulain traces the historiographical currents in the literature on Lincoln and religion, and the volume concludes with a compilation of Lincoln’s own words about religion.
In assessing the enigma of Lincoln’s Christianity, the authors argue that despite his lack of church membership, Lincoln lived his life through a Christian ethical framework. His years as president, dominated by the Civil War and personal loss, led Lincoln to move into a world beholden to Providence.
Lincoln and the Abolitionists
Stanley Harrold Southern Illinois University Press, 2018 Library of Congress E457.2.H35 2018 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Winner, ISHS Best of Illinois History Award, 2019
Abraham Lincoln has often been called the “Great Emancipator.” But he was not among those Americans who, decades before the Civil War, favored immediate emancipation of all slaves inside the United States. Those who did were the abolitionists—the men and women who sought freedom and equal rights for all African Americans. Stanley Harrold traces how, despite Lincoln’s political distance from abolitionists, they influenced his evolving political orientation before and during the Civil War.
While explaining how the abolitionist movement evolved, Harrold also clarifies Lincoln’s connections with and his separation from this often fiery group. For most of his life Lincoln regarded abolitionists as dangerous fanatics. Like many northerners during his time, Lincoln sought compromise with the white South regarding slavery, opposed abolitionist radicalism, and doubted that free black people could have a positive role in America. Yet, during the 1840s and 1850s, conservative northern Democrats as well as slaveholders branded Lincoln an abolitionist because of his sympathy toward black people and opposition to the expansion of slavery.
Lincoln’s election to the presidency and the onslaught of the Civil War led to a transformation of his relationship with abolitionists. Lincoln’s original priority as president had been to preserve the Union, not to destroy slavery. Nevertheless many factors—including contacts with abolitionists—led Lincoln to favor ending slavery. After Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and raised black troops, many, though not all, abolitionists came to view him more favorably.
Providing insight into the stressful, evolving relationship between Lincoln and the abolitionists, and also into the complexities of northern politics, society, and culture during the Civil War era, this concise volume illuminates a central concern in Lincoln’s life and presidency.
Lincoln and the Civil War
Michael Burlingame Southern Illinois University Press, 2011 Library of Congress E457.B954 2011 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
In Lincoln and the Civil War, Michael Burlingame explores the experiences and qualities that made Abraham Lincoln one of America’s most revered leaders. This volume provides an illuminating overview of the entirety of the Civil War and Lincoln’s administration, focusing on the ways in which Lincoln’s unique combination of psychological maturity, steely determination, and political wisdom made him the North’s secret weapon that ultimately led to supremacy over the Confederacy.
When war erupted in 1861, the North—despite its superior economic resources and manpower—was considered the underdog of the conflict. The need to invade the South brought no advantage to the inefficient, poorly led Union Army. In contrast, Southerners’ knowledge of their home terrain, access to railroads, familiarity with firearms, and outdoor lifestyles, along with the presumed support of foreign nations, made victory over the North seem a likely outcome. In the face of such daunting obstacles, only one person could unite disparate Northerners and rally them to victory in the darkest moments of the war: Abraham Lincoln.
While Lincoln is often remembered today as one of America’s wisest presidents, he was not always considered so sage. Burlingame demonstrates how, long before the rigors of his presidency and the Civil War began to affect him, Lincoln wrestled with the demons of midlife to ultimately emerge as arguably the most self-aware, humble, and confident leader in American history. This metamorphosis from sarcastic young politician to profound statesman uniquely prepared him for the selfless dedication the war years would demand. Whereas his counterpart, Jefferson Davis, became mired in personal power plays, perceived slights, and dramas, Lincoln rose above personal concerns to always place the preservation of the Union first. Lincoln’s ability, along with his eloquence, political savvy, and grasp of military strategy made him a formidable leader whose honesty and wisdom inspired undying loyalty.
In addition to offering fresh perspectives on Lincoln’s complex personality and on the other luminaries of his administration, Lincoln and the Civil War takes readers on a brief but thorough tour of the war itself, from the motivations and events leading to Southern secession and the first shots at Fort Sumter to plans for Reconstruction and Lincoln’s tragic assassination. Throughout the journey, Burlingame demonstrates how Lincoln’s steady hand at the helm navigated the Union through the most perilous events of the war and held together the pieces of an unraveling nation.
Lincoln and the Constitution
Brian R. Dirck Southern Illinois University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E457.2.D574 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
In this highly readable study of Abraham Lincoln’s thoughts and actions concerning the U.S. Constitution, Brian R. Dirck combines extensive primary research and thoughtful, accessible consideration of Lincoln’s views to reveal new insights into Lincoln’s impact on the U.S. Constitution. In the statesman’s roles as a leading antebellum politician, an ardent critic of slavery, and the president of the United States during the Civil War, Lincoln fashioned a strong antislavery constitutional ideology and articulated a constitutional vision of the Civil War that reinforced his determination to restore the Union.
Grounding Lincoln’s constitutionalism in his reading habits and early legal career, Dirck masterfully balances biographical details, Lincoln’s value system, the opinions of his supporters and critics, and key events and ideas to show how his thinking about the U.S. Constitution changed over time. From Lincoln’s deep reverence for the work of the Founding Fathers to his innovative interpretation of presidential war powers, Dirck reveals Lincoln’s understanding of the Constitution to be progressive, emphasizing federal power as a tool to develop the economy, and pragmatic, in that he was often forced to make decisions on the fly during a remarkably volatile period in American history. Lincoln used his conception of presidential war powers to advance the twin causes of Union and emancipation, and Dirck explores the constitutional problems stirred by curbs Lincoln placed on civil liberties, internal security, and freedom of expression during wartime.
More than a straightforward overview of Lincoln’s constitutional views, Lincoln and the Constitution provides a starting point for further inquiry into interpretations and defenses as well as the political, intellectual, and cultural traditions of the founding document of the United States. In the end, Dirck shows, Lincoln viewed the political and legal traditions of the Constitution with optimism, emphasizing
throughout his life the possibilities he believed the document held—always keeping faith in it and swearing to protect it, even as he was awash in a sea of blood and controversy.
Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools 2013 edition
Abraham Lincoln looms large in American memory. He is admired for his many accomplishments, including his skills as an orator and writer, his Emancipation Proclamation, and his unswerving leadership during the strife-ridden years of the Civil War. Now, Michael S. Green unveils another side to the sixteenth president of the United States: that of the astute political operator. Lincoln and the Election of 1860 examines how, through a combination of political intrigue and deep commitment to the principle of freedom, Lincoln journeyed from Republican underdog to an improbable victor who changed the course of American history.
Although Lincoln rose to national prominence in 1858 during his debates with Stephen Douglas, he was unable to publicly stump for the presidency in a time when personal campaigning for the office was traditionally rejected. This limitation did nothing to check Lincoln’s ambitions, however, as he consistently endeavored to place himself in the public eye while stealthily pulling political strings behind the scenes. Green demonstrates how Lincoln drew upon his considerable communication abilities and political acumen to adroitly manage both allies and enemies alike, ultimately uniting the Republican Party and catapulting himself from his status as one of the most unlikely of candidates to his party’s nominee at the national convention.
As the general election campaign progressed, Lincoln continued to draw upon his experience from three decades in Illinois politics to unite and invigorate the Republican Party. Democrats fell to divisions between North and South, setting the stage for a Republican victory in November—and for the most turbulent times in U.S. history.
Moving well beyond a study of the man to provide astute insight into the era’s fiery political scene and its key players, Green offers perceptive analysis of the evolution of American politics and Lincoln’s political career, the processes of the national and state conventions, how political parties selected their candidates, national developments of the time and their effects on Lincoln and his candidacy, and Lincoln’s own sharp—and often surprising—assessments of his opponents and colleagues. Green frequently employs Lincoln’s own words to afford an intimate view into the political savvy of the future president.
The pivotal election of 1860 previewed the intelligence, patience, and shrewdness that would enable Lincoln to lead the United States through its greatest upheaval. This exciting new book brings to vivid life the cunning and strength of one of America’s most intriguing presidents during his journey to the White House.
Lincoln and the Immigrant
Jason H. Silverman Southern Illinois University Press, 2015 Library of Congress E457.2.S56 2015 | Dewey Decimal 325.7309034
Between 1840 and 1860, America received more than four and a half million people from foreign countries as permanent residents, including a huge influx of newcomers from northern and western Europe, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans who became U.S. citizens with the annexation of Texas and the Mexican Cession, and a smaller number of Chinese immigrants. While some Americans sought to make immigration more difficult and to curtail the rights afforded to immigrants, Abraham Lincoln advocated for the rights of all classes of citizens. In this succinct study, Jason H. Silverman investigates Lincoln’s evolving personal, professional, and political relationship with the wide variety of immigrant groups he encountered throughout his life, revealing that Lincoln related to the immigrant in a manner few of his contemporaries would or could emulate.
From an early age, Silverman shows, Lincoln developed an awareness of and a tolerance for different peoples and their cultures, and he displayed an affinity for immigrants throughout his legal and political career. Silverman reveals how immigrants affected not only Lincoln’s day-to-day life but also his presidential policies and details Lincoln’s opposition to the Know Nothing Party and the antiforeign attitudes in his own Republican Party, his reliance on German support for his 1860 presidential victory, his appointment of political generals of varying ethnicities, and his reliance on an immigrant for the literal rules of war.
Examining Lincoln's views on the place of the immigrant in America’s society and economy, Silverman’s pioneering work offers a rare new perspective on the renowned sixteenth president.
Lincoln and the Military
John F. Marszalek Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.2.M364 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
When Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860, he came into office with practically no experience in military strategy and tactics. Consequently, at the start of the Civil War, he depended on leading military men to teach him how to manage warfare. As the war continued and Lincoln matured as a military leader, however, he no longer relied on the advice of others and became the major military mind of the war. In this brief overview of Lincoln’s military actions and relationships during the war, John F. Marszalek traces the sixteenth president’s evolution from a nonmilitary politician into the commander in chief who won the Civil War, demonstrating why Lincoln remains America’s greatest military president.
As tensions erupted into conflict in 1861, Lincoln turned to his generals, including Winfield Scott, George B. McClellan, and Henry W. Halleck, for guidance in running the war. These men were products of the traditional philosophy of war, which taught that armies alone wage war and the way to win was to maneuver masses of forces against fractions of the enemy at the key point in the strategic area. As Marszalek shows, Lincoln listened at first, and made mistakes along the way, but he increasingly came to realize that these military men should no longer direct him. He developed a different philosophy of war, one that advocated attacks on all parts of the enemy line and war between not just armies but also societies. Warfare had changed, and now the generals had to learn from their commander in chief. It was only when Ulysses S. Grant became commanding general, Marszalek explains, that Lincoln had a leader who agreed with his approach to war. Implementation of this new philosophy, he shows, won the war for the Union forces.
Tying the necessity of emancipation to preservation of the Union, Marszalek considers the many presidential matters Lincoln had to face in order to manage the war effectively and demonstrates how Lincoln’s determination, humility, sense of humor, analytical ability, and knack for quickly learning important information proved instrumental in his military success. Based primarily on Lincoln’s own words, this succinct volume offers an easily-accessible window into a critical period in the life of Abraham Lincoln and the history of the nation.
In this groundbreaking environmental biography of Abraham Lincoln, James Tackach maps Lincoln’s lifelong relationship with the natural world from his birth and boyhood on Midwestern farms through his political career and presidency dealing with the effects of the Industrial Revolution and the Civil War.
Lincoln was born in a generation that grew up on farms but began to move to cities as industrialization transformed the American economy. Turning away from the outdoor, manual labor of his youth, he chose careers in law and politics but always found solace outside first on the prairies of Illinois and, later, at the woodsy presidential retreat. As Tackach shows, Lincoln relied on examples and metaphors from the natural world in his speeches and writings.
As a member of the Whig Party Lincoln endorsed the Industrial Revolution, which transformed the nation’s economy and its physical, social, and cultural landscapes, and advocated for the creation of railroads, canals, roads, and bridges to facilitate growth and the distribution of products. But he and his party failed to take steps to protect the natural environment. Surveying the destruction of the environment in the mid-nineteenth century, Tackach outlines how some American writers, the first voices for protection and conservation, began to call attention to the results of deforestation and the overhunting of animals during Lincoln’s lifetime.
As commander in chief during the Civil War, Lincoln approved a strategy that included significant infrastructure and environmental damage. In the South, where most of the battles occurred, Union troops burned cities and towns and destroyed plantations, farms, and natural landscapes. Tackach argues that, midway through his presidency, Lincoln seemed to sense that postwar Reconstruction would have to be spiritual, political, economic, and environmental in order to heal the nation’s wounds. He signed the Morrill Act, creating the land-grant colleges, and the environmentally progressive Yosemite Grant Act, which preserved thousands of acres of forest in California.
The first scholar to thoroughly investigate Lincoln’s lifelong relationship with the natural environment, Tackach paints Lincoln’s personal and professional life against the backdrop of nineteenth-century American environmental history, issues, and writers, providing insights into contemporary environmental issues.
America has seen faith-based initiatives and “the audacity of hope” in twenty-first-century politics, but few participants in our political scene have invoked the other Christian virtue of charity as a guiding principle. Abraham Lincoln extolled the merit of “loving thy neighbor as thyself,” especially as a critique of the hypocrisy of slavery, but a discussion of Christian love is noticeably absent from today’s debates about religion and democracy.
In this provocative book, Grant Havers argues that charity is a central tenet of what Lincoln once called America’s “political religion.” He explores the implications of making Christian love the highest moral standard for American democracy, showing how Lincoln’s legacy demands that a true democracy be charitable toward all—and that only a people who lived according to such ideals could succeed in building democracy as Lincoln understood it.
Havers argues that it is simplistic to conflate Lincoln’s invocation of “with charity for all” with his abiding support for the ideal of human equality. The ethic of charity in his view also brought a uniquely Christian realism to the universalism of democracy. He also describes how, since World War I, intellectuals and political leaders have denied that there exists a necessary relation between democracy and Christian love, proposing that democracy is sufficiently ethical without reliance on a specific religious tradition. Today’s neoconservatives and liberals instead posit a universal yearning for democracy that requires no foundation in the ethic of charity. Havers shows that this democratic universalism, espoused by those who believe a “chosen people” should uphold the natural rights of humanity, is alien to the sober thought of both the founders and Lincoln.
This carefully argued work defends Lincoln’s understanding of charity as essential to democracy while emphasizing the difficulty of fusing this ethic with the desire to spread democracy to people who do not share America’s Christian heritage. In considering the prospect of America’s leaders rediscovering a moral foreign policy based on charity rather than the costly idolization of democracy, Lincoln and the Politics of Christian Love makes a timely contribution to the wider debate over both the meaning of religion in American politics and the mission of America in the world—and opens a new window on Lincoln’s lasting legacy.
Long before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln recognized the challenge American slavery posed to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. A constitutional amendment would be the ideal solution to ending slavery, yet the idea of such an amendment conflicted with several of Lincoln’s long-held positions. In this study, Christian G. Samito examines how Lincoln’s opposition to amending the United States Constitution shaped his political views before he became president, and how constitutional arguments overcame Lincoln’s objections, turning him into a supporter of the Thirteenth Amendment by 1864.
For most of his political career, Samito shows, Lincoln opposed changing the Constitution, even to overturn Supreme Court rulings with which he disagreed. Well into his presidency, he argued that emancipation should take place only on the state level because the federal government had no jurisdiction to control slavery in the states. Between January 1863 and mid-1864, however, Lincoln came to support a constitutional amendment to abolish slavery because it worked within the constitutional structure and preserved key components of American constitutionalism in the face of Radical Republican schemes. Samito relates how Lincoln made the amendment an issue in his 1864 reelection campaign, chronicles lobbying efforts and the final vote in the House on the amendment resolution, and interrogates various charges of corruption and back-room deals. He also considers the Thirteenth Amendment in the context of the Hampton Roads conference, Lincoln’s own thoughts on the meaning of the amendment, and the impact of Lincoln’s assassination on the reading of the amendment. Samito provides the authoritative historical treatment of a story so compelling it was recently dramatized in the movie Lincoln.
Closing with a lively discussion that applies the Thirteenth Amendment to current events, this concise yet comprehensive volume demonstrates how the constitutional change Lincoln helped bring about continues to be relevant today.
Fascinated by mechanical gadgetry and technology, Lincoln introduced
breechloaders and machine guns into warfare and promoted the use of incendiary
weapons, ironclad warships, breechloading cannons, and aerial reconnaissance.
Robert Bruce chronicles the President's struggle against bureaucratic
red tape and his dealings with the colorful parade of inventors, ordinance
experts, bureaucrats, military officers, and lobbyists who heralded a
new era in warfare.
"It is hardly going too far to say that Lincoln the president cannot
be properly understood without some acquaintanceship with this aspect
of his character. And it is not going in the least too far to add that
Bruce has assembled his material with care, industry, and intelligence
and has written a book of deep and surpassing interest and appeal."
-- Civil War Book Club Review
Over the course of the Civil War, fifty-nine men served as governors of the twenty-five Union states. Although these state executives were occasionally obstructionist and often disagreed amongst themselves, their overall cooperation and counsel bolstered the policies put forth by Abraham Lincoln and proved essential to the Union’s ultimate victory. In this revealing volume, award-winning historian William C. Harris explores the complex relationship between Lincoln and the governors of the Union states, illuminating the contributions of these often-overlooked state leaders to the preservation of the nation.
Lincoln recognized that in securing the governors’ cooperation in the war he had to tread carefully and, as much as possible, respect their constitutional authority under the federal system of government. Contributing to the success of the partnership, Harris shows, was the fact that almost all of the governors were members of Lincoln’s Republican or Union Party, and most had earlier associated with his Whig party. Despite their support for the war, however, the governors reflected different regional interests, and Lincoln understood and attempted to accommodate these differences in order to maintain a unified war effort.
Harris examines the activities of the governors, who often worked ahead of Lincoln in rallying citizens for the war, organizing state regiments for the Union army, and providing aid and encouragement to the troops in the field. The governors kept Lincoln informed about political conditions in their states and lobbied Lincoln and the War Department to take more vigorous measures to suppress the rebellion. Harris explores the governors’ concerns about many issues, including the divisions within their states over the war and Lincoln’s most controversial policies, especially emancipation and military conscription. He also provides the first modern account of the 1862 conference of governors in Altoona, Pennsylvania, which provided important backing for Lincoln’s war leadership.
By emphasizing the difficult tasks that both the governors and President Lincoln faced in dealing with the major issues of the Civil War, Harris provides fresh insight into the role this dynamic partnership played in preserving the nation’s democratic and constitutional institutions and ending the greatest blight on the republic—chattel slavery.
When Abraham Lincoln issued his final Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, he not only freed the slaves in the Confederate states but also invited freed slaves and free persons of color to join the U.S. Army as part of the U.S. Colored Troops (USCT), the first systematic, large-scale effort by the U.S. government to arm African Americans to aid in the nation’s defense. By the end of the war in 1865, nearly 180,000 black soldiers had fought for the Union. Lincoln’s role in the arming of African Americans remains a central but unfortunately obscure part of one of the most compelling periods in American history. In Lincoln and the U.S. Colored Troops John David Smith offers a concise, enlightening exploration of the development of Lincoln’s military emancipation project, its implementation, and the recruitment and deployment of black troops.
Though scholars have written much on emancipation and the USCT, Smith’s work frames the evolution of Lincoln’s ideas on emancipation and arming blacks within congressional actions, explaining how, when, and why the president seemed to be so halting in his progression to military emancipation. After tracing Lincoln’s evolution from opposing to supporting emancipation as a necessary war measure and to championing the recruitment of black troops for the Union Army, Smith details the creation, mobilization, and diverse military service of the USCT. He assesses the hardships under which the men of the USCT served, including the multiple forms of discrimination from so-called friends and foes alike, and examines the broad meaning of Lincoln’s military emancipation project and its place in African American historical memory.
Lincoln and the War's End
John C. Waugh Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E470.W38 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
On the night of his reelection on November 8, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln called on the nation to “re-unite in a common effort, to save our common country.” By April 9 of the following year, the Union had achieved this goal with the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia to General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House. In this lively volume, John C. Waugh chronicles in detail Lincoln’s role in the final five months of the war, revealing how Lincoln and Grant worked together to bring the war to an end.
Beginning with Lincoln’s reelection, Waugh highlights the key military and political events of those tumultuous months. He recounts the dramatic final military campaigns and battles of the war, including William T. Sherman’s march through Georgia to the sea; the Confederate army’s attempt to take Nashville and its loss at the battle of Franklin; and the Union victory at Fort Fisher that closed off the Confederacy’s last open port. Other events also receive attention, including Sherman’s march through the Carolinas and the burning of Columbia; Grant’s defeat of the Army of Northern Virginia at the Battle of Five Forks, and Lincoln’s presence at the seat of war during that campaign; the Confederate retreat from Petersburg and Richmond; and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
Weaving the stories together chronologically, Waugh also presents the key political events of the time, particularly Lincoln’s final annual message to Congress, passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, the Second Inaugural, Lincoln’s visit to Richmond the day after it fell, and Lincoln’s final days and speeches in Washington after the Confederate surrender. An epilogue recounts the farewell march of all the Union armies through Washington, D.C., in May 1865. Throughout, Waugh enlivens his narrative with illuminating quotes from a wide variety of Civil War participants and personalities, including New Yorker George Templeton Strong, southerner Mary Boykin Chesnut, Lincoln’s secretary John Hay, writer Noah Brooks, and many others.
Lincoln as Hero
Frank J. Williams Southern Illinois University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E457.W729 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Most Americans have considered, and still consider, Abraham Lincoln to be a heroic figure. From his humble beginnings to his leadership of a divided nation during the Civil War to his early efforts in abolishing slavery, Lincoln’s legacy is one of deep personal and political courage. In this unique and concise retelling of many of the key moments and achievements of Lincoln’s life and work, Frank J. Williams explores in detail what it means to be a hero and how Lincoln embodied the qualities Americans look for in their heroes.
Lincoln as Hero shows how—whether it was as president, lawyer, or schoolboy—Lincoln extolled the foundational virtues of American society. Williams describes the character and leadership traits that define American heroism, including ideas and beliefs, willpower, pertinacity, the ability to communicate, and magnanimity. Using both celebrated episodes and lesser-known anecdotes from Lincoln’s life and achievements, Williams presents a wide-ranging analysis of these traits as they were demonstrated in Lincoln’s rise, starting with his self-education as a young man and moving on to his training and experience as a lawyer, his entry onto the political stage, and his burgeoning grasp of military tactics and leadership.
Williams also examines in detail how Lincoln embodied heroism in standing against secession and fighting to preserve America’s great democratic experiment. With a focused sense of justice and a great respect for the mandates of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Lincoln came to embrace freedom for the enslaved, and his Emancipation Proclamation led the way for the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery. Lincoln’s legacy as a hero and secular saint was secured when his lifeended by assassination as the Civil War was drawing to a close
Touching on Lincoln’s humor and his quest for independence, justice, and equality, Williams outlines the path Lincoln took to becoming a great leader and an American hero, showing readers why his heroism is still relevant. True heroes, Williams argues, are successful not just by the standards of their own time but also through achievements that transcend their own eras and resonate throughout history—with their words and actions living on in our minds, if we are imaginative, and in our actions, if we are wise.
Univeristy Press Books for Public and Secondary Schools 2013 edition
On April 22, 1865, Brevet Colonel H. L. Burnett was assigned to head the investigation into the murder of President Abraham Lincoln and the attempted murder of Secretary of State William H. Seward. Burnett orchestrated the collection of thousands of documents for the Military Commission’s trial of the conspirators. This deep archive of documentary evidence--consisting of letters, depositions, eyewitness accounts, investigative reports, and other documents--provides invaluable insight into the historical, cultural, and judicial context of the investigation. Only a fraction of the information presented in these documents ever made its way into the trial, and most of it has never been readily accessible. By presenting an annotated and indexed transcription of these documents, this volume offers significant new access to information on the events surrounding the assassination and a vast new store of social and political history of the Civil War era.
“With tears in my eyes I think it your duty to hang every rebel caught. I feel as bad as if was my own mother or father & will be one to volunteer to try & shoot every Southern man. May God have mercy on the man’s soul that done such a deed.
With much Respect for our Country,
--Anonymous letter, New York, April 15, 1865
“I know Booth. He was in the habit of coming to my place to shoot. . . . He shot well, and practiced to shoot with accuracy in every possible position. . . . He was a quick shot; always silent, reticent.”
--Deposition of Benjamin Barker, Pistol Gallery proprietor
“When Lincoln took office, in March 1861, the national government had no power to touch slavery in the states where it existed. Lincoln understood this, and said as much in his first inaugural address, noting: ‘I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists.’” How, then, asks Paul Finkelman in the introduction to Lincoln, Congress, and Emancipation, did Lincoln—who personally hated slavery—lead the nation through the Civil War to January 1865, when Congress passed the constitutional amendment that ended slavery outright?
The essays in this book examine the route Lincoln took to achieve emancipation and how it is remembered both in the United States and abroad. The ten contributors—all on the cutting edge of contemporary scholarship on Lincoln and the Civil War—push our understanding of this watershed moment in US history in new directions. They present wide-ranging contributions to Lincoln studies, including a parsing of the sixteenth president’s career in Congress in the 1840s and a brilliant critique of the historical choices made by Steven Spielberg and writer Tony Kushner in the movie Lincoln, about the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment.
As a whole, these classroom-ready readings provide fresh and essential perspectives on Lincoln’s deft navigation of constitutional and political circumstances to move emancipation forward.
Contributors: L. Diane Barnes, Jenny Bourne, Michael Burlingame, Orville Vernon Burton, Seymour Drescher, Paul Finkelman, Amy S. Greenberg, James Oakes, Beverly Wilson Palmer, Matthew Pinsker
Winner of the Speech Communication's Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address.
Zarefsky examines the dynamics of the seven 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates, placing them in historical context and explaining the complicated issue of slavery in the territories, their focal point. He elucidates the candidates' arguments, analyzes their rhetorical strategies, and shows how public sentiment is transformed.
More than any other American before or since, Abraham Lincoln had a way with words that has shaped our national idea of ourselves. Actively disliked and even vilified by many Americans for the vast majority of his career, this most studied, most storied, and most documented leader still stirs up controversy. Showing not only the development of a powerful mind but the ways in which our sixteenth president was perceived by equally brilliant American minds of a decidedly literary and political bent, Harold K. Bush’s Lincoln in His Own Time provides some of the most significant contemporary meditations on the Great Emancipator’s legacy and cultural significance.
The forty-two entries in this spirited collection present the best reflections of Lincoln as thinker, reader, writer, and orator by those whose lives intertwined with his or those who had direct contact with eyewitnesses. Bush focuses on Lincoln’s literary interests, reading, and work as a writer as well as the evolving debate about his religious views that became central to his memory. Along with a star-struck Walt Whitman writing of Lincoln’s “inexpressibly sweet” face and manner, Elizabeth Keckly’s description of a bereaved Lincoln, “genius and greatness weeping over love’s idol lost,” and William Stoddard’s report of the “cheery, hopeful, morning light” on Lincoln’s face after a long night debating the fate of the nation, the volume includes selections from works by famous contemporary figures such as Hawthorne, Douglass, Stowe, Lowell, Twain, and Lincoln himself in addition to lesser-known selections that have been nearly lost to history. Each entry is introduced by a headnote that places the selection in historical and cultural context; explanatory endnotes provide information about people and places. A comprehensive introduction and a detailed chronology of Lincoln’s eventful life round out the volume.
Bush’s thoughtful collection reveals Lincoln as a man of letters who crafted some of the most memorable lines in our national vocabulary, explores the striking mythologization of the martyred president that began immediately upon his death, and then combines these two themes to illuminate Lincoln’s place in public memory as the absolute embodiment of America’s mythic civil religion. Beyond providing the standard fare of reminiscences about the rhetorically brilliant backwoodsman from the “Old Northwest,” Lincoln in His Own Time also maps a complex genealogy of the cultural work and iconic status of Lincoln as quintessential scribe and prophet of the American people.
Lincoln in Indiana
Brian R. Dirck Southern Illinois University Press, 2017 Library of Congress E457.32.D57 2017 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Abraham Lincoln, born in Kentucky in 1809, moved with his parents, Thomas and Nancy Lincoln, and his older sister, Sarah, to the Pigeon Creek area of southern Indiana in 1816. There Lincoln spent more than a quarter of his life. It was in Indiana that he developed a complicated and often troubled relationship with his father, exhibited his now-famous penchant for self-education, and formed a restless ambition to rise above his origins. Although some questions about these years are unanswerable due to a scarcity of reliable sources, Brian R. Dirck’s fascinating account of Lincoln’s boyhood sets what is known about the relationships, values, and environment that fundamentally shaped Lincoln’s character within the context of frontier and farm life in early nineteenth-century midwestern America.
Lincoln in Indiana tells the story of Lincoln’s life in Indiana, from his family’s arrival to their departure. Dirck explains the Lincoln family’s ancestry and how they and their relatives came to settle near Pigeon Creek. He shows how frontier families like the Lincolns created complex farms out of wooded areas, fashioned rough livelihoods, and developed tight-knit communities in the unforgiving Indiana wilderness. With evocative prose, he describes the youthful Lincoln’s relationship with members of his immediate and extended family. Dirck illuminates Thomas Lincoln by setting him into his era, revealing the concept of frontier manhood, and showing the increasingly strained relationship between father and son. He illustrates how pioneer women faced difficulties as he explores Nancy Lincoln’s work and her death from milk sickness; how Lincoln’s stepmother, Sarah Bush, fit into the family; and how Lincoln’s sister died in childbirth. Dirck examines Abraham’s education and reading habits, showing how a farming community could see him as lazy for preferring book learning over farmwork. While explaining how he was both similar to and different from his peers, Dirck includes stories of Lincoln’s occasional rash behavior toward those who offended him. As Lincoln grew up, his ambitions led him away from the family farm, and Dirck tells how Lincoln chafed at his father’s restrictions, why the Lincolns decided to leave Indiana in 1830, and how Lincoln eventually broke away from his family.
In a triumph of research, Dirck cuts through the myths about Lincoln’s early life, and along the way he explores the social, cultural, and economic issues of early nineteenth-century Indiana. The result is a realistic portrait of the youthful Lincoln set against the backdrop of American frontier culture.
In this indispensable account of Abraham Lincoln’s earliest political years, Ron J. Keller reassesses Lincoln’s arguably lackluster legislative record during four terms in the Illinois House of Representatives to reveal how the underpinnings of his temperament, leadership skills, and political acumen were bolstered on the statehouse floor.
Due partly to Lincoln’s own reserve and partly to an unimpressive legislative tally, Lincoln’s time in the state legislature has been largely neglected by historians more drawn to other early hallmarks of his life, including his law career, his personal life, and his single term as a U.S. congressman in the 1840s. Of about sixteen hundred bills, resolutions, and petitions passed from 1834 to 1842, Lincoln introduced only about thirty of them. The issue he most ardently championed and shepherded through the legislature—the internal improvements system—left the state in debt for more than a generation.
Despite that spotty record, Keller argues, it was during these early years that Lincoln displayed and honed the traits that would allow him to excel in politics and ultimately define his legacy: honesty, equality, empathy, and leadership. Keller reanimates Lincoln’s time in the Illinois legislature to reveal the formation of Lincoln’s strong character and political philosophy in those early years, which allowed him to rise to prominence as the Whig party’s floor leader regardless of setbacks and to build a framework for his future.
Lincoln in the Illinois Legislature details Lincoln’s early political platform and the grassroots campaigning that put him in office. Drawing on legislative records, newspaper accounts, speeches, letters, and other sources, Keller describes Lincoln’s positions on key bills, highlights his colleagues’ perceptions of him, and depicts the relationships that grew out of his statehouse interactions. Keller’s research delves into Lincoln’s popularity as a citizen of New Salem, his political alliances and victories, his antislavery stirrings, and his personal joys and struggles as he sharpened his political shrewdness.
Keller argues Lincoln’s definitive political philosophies—economic opportunity and the right to rise, democratic equality, and to a lesser extent his hatred of slavery—took root during his legislative tenure in Illinois. Situating Lincoln’s tenure and viewpoints within the context of national trends, Keller demonstrates that understanding Lincoln’s four terms as a state legislator is vital to understanding him as a whole.
In Lincoln Lessons, seventeen of today’s most respected academics, historians, lawyers, and politicians provide candid reflections on the importance of Abraham Lincoln in their intellectual lives. Their essays, gathered by editors Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, shed new light on this political icon’s remarkable ability to lead and inspire two hundred years after his birth.
Collected here are glimpses into Lincoln’s unique ability to transform enemies into steadfast allies, his deeply ingrained sense of morality and intuitive understanding of humanity, his civil deification as the first assassinated American president, and his controversial suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. The contributors also discuss Lincoln’s influence on today’s emerging democracies, his lasting impact on African American history, and his often-overlooked international legend—his power to instigate change beyond the boundaries of his native nation. While some contributors provide a scholarly look at Lincoln and some take a more personal approach, all explore his formative influence in their lives. What emerges is the true history of his legacy in the form of first-person testaments from those whom he has touched deeply.
Lincoln Lessons brings together some of the best voices of our time in a unique combination of memoir and history. This singular volume of original essays is a tribute to the enduring inspirational powers of an extraordinary man whose courage and leadership continue to change lives today.
This first-ever volume to comprehensively explore President Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the American West brings together a variety of scholars and experts who offer a fascinating look at the sixteenth president’s lasting legacy in the territory beyond the Mississippi River. Editor Richard W. Etulain’s extensive introductory essay treats these western connections from Lincoln’s early reactions to Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War in the 1840s, through the 1850s, and during his presidency, providing a framework for the nine essays that follow.
Each of these essays offers compelling insight into the many facets of Lincoln’s often complex interactions with the American West. Included in this collection are a provocative examination of Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican War; a discussion of the president’s antislavery politics as applied to the new arena of the West; new perspectives on Lincoln’s views regarding the Thirteenth Amendment and his reluctance regarding the admission of Nevada to the Union; a fresh look at the impact of the Radical Republicans on Lincoln’s patronage and appointments in the West; and discussion of Lincoln’s favorable treatment of New Mexico and Arizona, primarily Southern and Democratic areas, in an effort to garner their loyalty to the Union. Also analyzed is “The Tribe of Abraham”—Lincoln’s less-than-competent appointments in Washington Territory made on the basis of political friendship—and the ways in which Lincoln’s political friends in the Western Territories influenced his western policies. Other essays look at Lincoln’s dealings with the Mormons of Utah, who supported the president in exchange for his tolerance, and American Indians, whose relations with the government suffered as the president’s attention was consumed by the crisis of the Civil War.
In addition to these illuminating discussions, Etulain includes a detailed bibliographical essay, complete with examinations of previous interpretations and topics needing further research, as well as an extensive list of resources for more information on Lincoln's ties west of the Mississippi. Loaded with a wealth of information and fresh historical perspectives, Lincoln Looks West explores yet another intriguing dimension to this dynamic leader and to the history of the American West.
As president, Abraham Lincoln received between two hundred and five hundred letters a day—correspondence from public officials, political allies, and military leaders, as well as letters from ordinary Americans of all races who wanted to share their views with him. Here, and in his critically acclaimed volume Dear Mr. Lincoln, editor Harold Holzer has rescued these voices—sometimes eloquent, occasionally angry, at times poetic—from the obscurity of the archives of the Civil War. The Lincoln Mailbag includes letters written by African Americans, which Lincoln never saw, revealing to readers a more accurate representation of the nation’s mood than even the president knew. This first paperback edition of The Lincoln Mailbag includes a new index and fourteen illustrations, and Holzer’s introduction and annotations provide historical context for the events described and the people who wrote so passionately to their president in Lincoln's America.
Lincoln the Inventor
Jason Emerson Southern Illinois University Press, 2008 Library of Congress E457.2.E48 2009
In Lincoln the Inventor, Jason Emerson offers the first treatment of Abraham Lincoln’s invention of a device to buoy vessels over shoals and its subsequent patent as more than mere historical footnote.
In this book, Emerson shows how, when, where, and why Lincoln created his invention; how his penchant for inventions and inventiveness was part of his larger political belief in internal improvements and free labor principles; how his interest in the topic led him to try his hand at scholarly lecturing; and how Lincoln, as president, encouraged and even contributed to the creation of new weapons for the Union during the Civil War.
During his extensive research, Emerson also uncovered previously unknown correspondence between Lincoln’s son, Robert, and his presidential secretary, John Nicolay, which revealed the existence of a previously unknown draft of Abraham Lincoln’s lecture “Discoveries and Inventions.” Emerson not only examines the creation, delivery, and legacy of this lecture, but also reveals for the first time how Robert Lincoln owned this unknown version, how he lost and later tried to find it, the indifference with which Robert and Nicolay both held the lecture, and their decision to give it as little attention as possible when publishing President Lincoln’s collected works.
The story of Lincoln’s invention extends beyond a boat journey, the whittling of some wood, and a trip to the Patent Office; the invention had ramifications for Lincoln’s life from the day his flatboat got stuck in 1831 until the day he died in 1865. Besides giving a complete examination of this important—and little known—aspect of Lincoln’s life, Lincoln the Inventor delves into the ramifications of Lincoln’s intellectual curiosity and inventiveness, both as a civilian and as president, and considers how it allows a fresh insight into his overall character and contributed in no small way to his greatness. Lincoln the Inventor is a fresh contribution to the field of Lincoln studies about a topic long neglected. By understanding Lincoln the inventor, we better understand Lincoln the man.
From his early years as a small-town lawyer through his rise to the presidency, Abraham Lincoln respected the rule of law. Secession and the Civil War, however, led him to expand presidential power in ways that, over time, transformed American society. In this incisive essay collection, recognized scholars from a variety of academic disciplines—including history, political science, legal studies, and journalism—explore Lincoln’s actions as president and identify within his decision-making process his commitment to law and the principles of the Constitution. In so doing, they demonstrate how wartime pressures and problems required that Lincoln confront the constitutional limitations imposed on the chief executive, and they expose the difficulty and ambiguity associated with the protection of civil rights during the Civil War.
The volume’s contributors not only address specific situations and issues that assisted in Lincoln’s development of a new understanding of law and its application but also show Lincoln’s remarkable presidential leadership. Among the topics covered are civil liberties during wartime; presidential pardons; the law and Lincoln’s decision-making process; Lincoln’s political ideology and its influence on his approach to citizenship; Lincoln’s defense of the Constitution, the Union, and popular government; constitutional restraints on Lincoln as he dealt with slavery and emancipation; the Lieber codes, which set forth how the military should deal with civilians and with prisoners of war; the loyalty (or treason) of government employees, including Lincoln’s domestic staff; and how Lincoln’s image has been used in presidential rhetoric. Although varied in their strategies and methodologies, these essays expand the understanding of Lincoln’s vision for a united nation grounded in the Constitution.
Lincoln, the Law, and Presidential Leadership shows how the sixteenth president’s handling of complicated legal issues during the Civil War, which often put him at odds with the Supreme Court and Congress, brought the nation through the war intact and led to a transformation of the executive branch and American society.
Lincoln the Lawyer
Brian Dirck University of Illinois Press, 2006 Library of Congress E457.2.D575 2007 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
This fascinating history explores Abraham Lincoln's legal career, investigating the origins of his desire to practice law, his legal education, his partnerships with John Stuart, Stephen Logan, and William Herndon, and the maturation of his far-flung practice in the 1840s and 1850s. Brian Dirck also examines Lincoln's clientele, how he charged his clients, and how he addressed judge and jury, as well as his views on legal ethics and the supposition that he never defended a client he knew to be guilty.
Abraham Lincoln, both in his time and in ours, has always stood much taller than life. Well over a century after his assassination, Americans remain fascinated with the Civil War: what were the real issues over which it was fought, who were the actual people involved, and what the everyday life of those people was like. Lincoln, as the epitome of both the good and the bad of that war, continues to loom as the most important single object of our interest.
The people’s lore about Lincoln has through the years continued to grow and to assume ever greater importance both for what it tells about the man and the age in which he lived and for its amusement value.
Lincoln's America: 1809 - 1865
Edited by Joseph R. Fornieri and Sara Vaughn Gabbard Southern Illinois University Press, 2016 Library of Congress E457.2.L838 2008 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
To fully understand and appreciate Abraham Lincoln’s legacy, it is important to examine the society that influenced the life, character, and leadership of the man who would become the Great Emancipator. Editors Joseph R. Fornieri and Sara Vaughn Gabbard have done just that in Lincoln’s America: 1809–1865, a collection of original essays by ten eminent historians that place Lincoln within his nineteenth-century cultural context.
Among the topics explored in Lincoln’s America are religion, education, middle-class family life, the antislavery movement, politics, and law. Of particular interest are the transition of American intellectual and philosophical thought from the Enlightenment to Romanticism and the influence of this evolution on Lincoln's own ideas.
By examining aspects of Lincoln’s life—his personal piety in comparison with the beliefs of his contemporaries, his success in self-schooling when frontier youths had limited opportunities for a formal education, his marriage and home life in Springfield, and his legal career—in light of broader cultural contexts such as the development of democracy, the growth of visual arts, the question of slaves as property, and French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville’s observations on America, the contributors delve into the mythical Lincoln of folklore and discover a developing political mind and a changing nation.
As Lincoln’s America shows, the sociopolitical culture of nineteenth-century America was instrumental in shaping Lincoln’s character and leadership. The essays in this volume paint a vivid picture of a young nation and its sixteenth president, arguably its greatest leader.
Edward Steers, Jr. Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.5.S794 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
For 150 years, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln has fascinated the American people. Relatively few academic historians, however, have devoted study to it, viewing the murder as a side note tied to neither the Civil War nor Reconstruction. Over time, the traditional story of the assassination has become littered with myths, from the innocence of Mary Surratt and Samuel Mudd to John Wilkes Booth’s escape to Oklahoma or India, where he died by suicide several years later. In this succinct volume, Edward Steers, Jr. sets the record straight, expertly analyzing the historical evidence to explain Lincoln’s assassination.
The decision to kill President Lincoln, Steers shows, was an afterthought. John Wilkes Booth’s original plan involved capturing Lincoln, delivering him to the Confederate leadership in Richmond, and using him as a bargaining chip to exchange for southern soldiers being held in Union prison camps. Only after Robert E. Lee surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia and Richmond fell to Union forces did Booth change his plan from capture to murder. As Steers explains, public perception about Lincoln’s death has been shaped by limited but popular histories that assert, alternately, that Secretary of War Edwin Stanton engineered the assassination or that John Wilkes Booth was a mad actor fueled by delusional revenge. In his detailed chronicle of the planning and execution of Booth’s plot, Steers demonstrates that neither Stanton nor anyone else in Lincoln’s sphere of political confidants participated in Lincoln’s death, and Booth remained a fully rational person whose original plan to capture Lincoln was both reasonable and capable of success. He also implicates both Mary Surratt and Samuel Mudd, as well as other conspirators, clarifying their parts in the scheme.
At the heart of Lincoln’s assassination, Steers reveals, lies the institution of slavery. Lincoln’s move toward ending slavery and his unwillingness to compromise on emancipation spurred the white supremacist Booth and ultimately resulted in the president’s untimely death. With concise chapters and inviting prose, this brief volume will prove essential for anyone seeking a straightforward, authoritative analysis of one of the most dramatic events in American history.
Lincoln's Campaign Biographies
Thomas A. Horrocks Southern Illinois University Press, 2014 Library of Congress E457.H828 2014 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
During the 1860 and 1864 presidential campaigns, Abraham Lincoln was the subject of over twenty campaign biographies. In this innovative study, Thomas A. Horrocks examines the role that these publications played in shaping an image of Lincoln that would resonate with voters and explores the vision of Lincoln that the biographies crafted, the changes in this vision over the course of four years, and the impact of these works on the outcome of the elections.
Horrocks investigates Lincoln’s campaign biographies within the context of the critical relationship between print and politics in nineteenth-century America and compares the works about Lincoln with other presidential campaign biographies of the era. Horrocks shows that more than most politicians of his day, Lincoln deeply appreciated and understood the influence and the power of the printed word.
The 1860 campaign biographies introduced to America “Honest Abe, the Rail Splitter,” a trustworthy, rugged candidate who appealed to rural Americans. When Lincoln ran for reelection in 1864, the second round of campaign biographies complemented this earlier portrait of Lincoln with a new, paternal figure, “Father Abraham,” more appropriate for Americans enduring a bloody civil war. Closing with a consideration of the influence of these publications on Lincoln’s election and reelection, Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies provides a new perspective for those seeking a better understanding of the sixteenth president and two of the most critical elections in American history.
Michael Burkhimer Westholme Publishing, 2007 Library of Congress E457.2.B968 2007 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
The Changing Role of Faith in the Life of the Sixteenth President of the United States
“How do we reconcile the young religious skeptic with the mature president who so profoundly invested the Civil War with religious significance? Lincoln’s religious views—difficult to recover, interpret, and disentangle from past and present biases—are the subject of this brief survey.”—Journal of American History
Michael Burkhimer examines the history of the president’s interaction with religion—accounts from those who knew him, his own letters and writings, the books he read—to reveal a man who did not believe in orthodox Christian precepts (and might have had a hard time getting elected today) yet, by his example, was a person and president who most truly embodied Christian teachings.
Daniel A. Farber University of Chicago Press, 2003 Library of Congress E457.2.F216 2003 | Dewey Decimal 342.73029
In Lincoln's Constitution Daniel Farber leads the reader to understand exactly how Abraham Lincoln faced the inevitable constitutional issues brought on by the Civil War. Examining what arguments Lincoln made in defense of his actions and how his words and deeds fit into the context of the times, Farber illuminates Lincoln's actions by placing them squarely within their historical moment. The answers here are crucial not only for a better understanding of the Civil War but also for shedding light on issues-state sovereignty, presidential power, and limitations on civil liberties in the name of national security-that continue to test the limits of constitutional law even today.
Abraham Lincoln is chiefly remembered for two historic achievements: he freed the slaves, and he saved the Union. That Lincoln did these things is not controversial. What is controversial is the connection between the moral and constitutional aspects of these achievements. Lincoln refused to see pro-Union and antislavery principles as exclusive, and thus he would not uphold one set of principles to the exclusion of the other or allow one to serve in the other’s place.
Lincoln’s opponents of the time denied these connections. They felt obliged to take sides and to choose between morality and the law. In Lincoln’s Defense of Politics, Thomas E. Schneider examines six key figures from among the two groups that were Lincoln’s opponents: the states’ rights constitutionalists—Alexander H. Stephens, John C. Calhoun, and George Fitzhugh—and the abolitionists—Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass.
Lincoln differed from both groups in his political attitude toward the question of slavery. He made it clear that he regarded his own approach as more comprehensive than the more narrowly focused constitutional and moral ones favored by his opponents. Schneider uses the men from each of these groups to illustrate the broad significance of the slavery question and to shed light upon the importance of political considerations in public decision making.
Secession and war deprived Abraham Lincoln of the opportunity to demonstrate to the South that while he was opposed to any further extension of slavery, he bore no feelings of ill will toward the southern people. Lincoln did not expect southerners to concur with his party’s view of slavery as morally wrong, but he called on them as “national men” to consider whether sectional harmony was likely to be restored on any basis other than the one proposed by the Republicans. Slavery, he believed, was the only thing that could threaten the integrity of the nation.
Lincoln’s Defense of Politics is not primarily a work of history but a consideration of historical alternatives on their merits. It addresses itself to a question of perennial interest and significance: what is the nature and value of politics? Political theorists as well as students and scholars of American political thought will find this work of particular importance.
In 1849, while traveling as an attorney on the Eighth Judicial Circuit in Illinois, Abraham Lincoln befriended Leonard Swett (1825–89), a fellow attorney sixteen years his junior. Despite this age difference, the two men built an enduring friendship that continued until Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. Until now, no historian has explored Swett’s life or his remarkable relationship with the sixteenth president. In this welcome volume, Robert S. Eckley provides the first biography of Swett, crafting an intimate portrait of his experiences as a loyal member of Lincoln’s inner circle.
Eckley chronicles Swett’s early life and the part he played in Lincoln’s political campaigns, including his role as an essential member of the team behind Lincoln’s two nominations and elections for the presidency. Swett counseled Lincoln during the formation of his cabinet and served as an unofficial advisor and sounding board during Lincoln’s time in office. Throughout his life, Swett wrote a great deal on Lincoln, and planned to write a biography about him, but Swett’s death preempted the project. His eloquent and interesting writings about Lincoln are described and reproduced in this volume, some for the first time.
With Lincoln’s Forgotten Friend, Eckley removes Swett from the shadows of history and sheds new light on Lincoln’s personal relationships and their valuable contributions to his career.
Superior Achievement from the Illinois State Historical Society, 2013
While it has long been determined that Abraham Lincoln’s writings were influenced by the King James Bible, until now no full-length study has shown the precise ways in which the Gettysburg Address uses its specific language. Refuting the view that the address was crafted with traditional classical references, this revealing investigation provides a new way to think about the speech and the man who wrote it. A. E. Elmore offers chapter and verse evidence from the Bible as well as specific examples from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer to illustrate how Lincoln borrowed from these sources to imbue his speech with meanings that would resonate with his listeners. He cites every significant word and phrase—conceived, brought forth, struggled, remaining, consecrate, dedicate, hallow, devotion, new birth, to name a few—borrowed by Lincoln from these two religious texts for use in his dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address focuses on a number of overlooked themes and ideas, such as the importance of literary allusion and the general public’s knowledge of the Bible in the age of Lincoln. It provides fresh answers to old questions and poses new questions: Was Lincoln a common thief who made use of words from previously published materials as well as from works by his contemporaries? Was he a genius whose literary and political skills were unmatched? No one who reads this highly engaging study will ever think about Lincoln or the Gettysburg Address the same way again.
Lincoln’s Hundred Days
Louis P. Masur Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress E453.M266 2012 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Lincoln’s Hundred Days tells the story of the period between September 22, 1862, when Lincoln issued his preliminary Proclamation, and January 1, 1863, when he signed the significantly altered decree. As battlefield deaths mounted and debate raged, Lincoln hesitated, calculated, prayed, and reckoned with the anxieties and expectations of millions.
Michael Burlingame presents anonymous and pseudonymous newspaper articles written by Lincoln's assistant personal secretary, John Hay, between 1860 and 1864. In the White House, Hay became the ultimate insider, the man who had the president's ear. "Only an extremely small number of persons ever saw Abraham Lincoln both day and night in public as well as private settings from 1860 to 1864," notes Wayne C. Temple, chief deputy director, Illinois State Archives. "And only one of them had the literary flair of John Milton Hay."
Burlingame takes great pains to establish authorship of the items reproduced here. He convincingly demonstrates that the essays and letters written for the Providence Journal, the Springfield Illinois State Journal, and the St. Louis Missouri Democrat under the pseudonym "Ecarte" are the work of Hay. And he finds much circumstantial and stylistic evidence that Hay wrote as "our special correspondent" for the Washington World and for the St. Louis Missouri Republican. Easily identifiable, Hay's style was "marked by long sentences, baroque syntactical architecture, immense vocabulary, verbal pyrotechnics, cocksure tone (combining acid contempt and extravagant praise), offbeat adverbs, and scornful adjectives."
LINCOLN'S LAST MONTHS
William C. Harris Harvard University Press, 2004 Library of Congress E457.45.H37 2004 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Lincoln Prize winner William C. Harris turns to the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life in an attempt to penetrate this central figure of the Civil War, and arguably America's greatest president. Beginning with the presidential campaign of 1864 and ending with his shocking assassination, Lincoln's ability to master the daunting affairs of state during the final nine months of his life proved critical to his apotheosis as savior and saint of the nation.
In the fall of 1864, an exhausted president pursued the seemingly intractable end of the Civil War. After four years at the helm, Lincoln was struggling to save his presidency in an election that he almost lost because of military stalemate and his commitment to restore the Union without slavery. Lincoln's victory in the election not only ensured the success of his agenda but led to his transformation from a cautious, often hesitant president into a distinguished statesman. He moved quickly to defuse destructive partisan divisions and to secure the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment. And he skillfully advanced peace terms that did not involve the unconditional surrender of Confederate armies. Throughout this period of great trials, he managed to resist political pressure from Democrats and radical Republicans and from those seeking patronage and profit. By expanding the context of Lincoln's last months beyond the battlefield, Harris shows how the events of 1864-65 tested the president's life and leadership and how he ultimately emerged victorious, and became Father Abraham to a nation.
Table of Contents:
Introduction 1. Re-election 2. Careworn and Haggard 3. The Burden of Patronage 4. The Search for Peace 5. The Humble Instrument of God 6. Beyond the Battlefield 7. At the Front 8. Martyrdom
Abbreviations Notes Acknowledgments Index
Reviews of this book: Harris provides detail that has been paraphrased or neglected by other biographers...In even-tempered, observant prove, [he] ably organizes his facts into a presentation that even veteran Lincoln readers will appreciate as fresh. --Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
This is a first-rate monograph for which Harris has done diligent spadework. This Lincoln isn't the sentimentalized or melancholy saint or savior, but a proficient, inventive, even cheerful administrator, dealing with diplomatic detail (chiefly with the British over Canada), naval technology and patronage squabbles in such key states as New York. Harris also provides a fresh retelling of the story of Lincoln's murder and martyrdom. --Edwin M. Yoder Jr., Washington Post Book World
Lincoln Prize winner William C. Harris turns to the last months of Abraham Lincoln's life in an attempt to penetrate this central figure of the Civil War, and arguably America's greatest president. Beginning with the presidential campaign of 1864 and ending with his shocking assassination, Lincoln's ability to master the daunting affairs of state during the final nine months of his life proved critical to his apotheosis as savior and saint of the nation. In the fall of 1864, an exhausted president pursued the seemingly intractable end of the Civil War. After four years at the helm, Lincoln was struggling to save his presidency in an election that he almost lost because of military stalemate and his commitment to restore the Union without slavery. Lincoln's victory in the election not only ensured the success of his agenda but led to his transformation from a cautious, often hesitant president into a distinguished statesman. He moved quickly to defuse destructive partisan divisions and to secure the adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment. And he skillfully advanced peace terms that did not involve the unconditional surrender of Confederate armies. Throughout this period of great trials, he managed to resist political pressure from Democrats and radical Republicans and from those seeking patronage and profit. By expanding the context of Lincoln's last months beyond the battlefield, Harris shows how the events of 1864-65 tested the president's life and leadership and how he ultimately emerged victorious, and became Father Abraham to a nation.
Though the reader knows exactly what will happen to Abraham Lincoln on Good Friday, 1865, William C. Harris brings nail-biting tension, along with heartbreaking pathos and insightful historical analysis, to the story of Lincoln's final days. This is masterful story-telling and gripping history. --Harold Holzer, Co-chairman, US Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
Just as his prize-winning book on Lincoln and Reconstruction revised our understanding of that subject, here William C. Harris finds much that is fresh, insightful, and important to say about the last months of Lincoln's life. Students of Lincoln and the Civil War will want this book on their shelves. --Michael Holt, author of Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party
There are few neglected subjects in the field of Lincolniana, but Professor Harris has found one--the last five months of Abraham Lincoln's life. He offers readers a thoroughly researched and fair-minded historical evaluation of the beginning of Lincoln's second presidential term, restoring a sense of indeterminacy to a surprisingly revealing period that has too often been sacrificed to the dramas of Appomattox and assassination. --Mark E. Neely, Jr., author of The Last Best Hope of Earth: Abraham Lincoln and the Promise of America
Lincoln's Last Months shows in clear and fascinating detail how the embattled Civil War president was able, in the final six months of his life, to contend with a seemingly overwhelming array of military and political problems. --Douglas L. Wilson, Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College
Harris's important and revealing study shows that during these last months the President exhibited his greatest mastery, both as a political leader and a military strategist. This fine book is admirable for the depth of its research and for the judiciousness of its interpretations. It is one of the half-dozen books on Lincoln published in the last decade that must be read by every student of the American Civil War. --David Herbert Donald, Charles Warren Professor of American History Emeritus, Harvard University
Lincoln's New Salem
Benjamin P. Thomas Southern Illinois University Press, 1988 Library of Congress E457.35.T47 1987 | Dewey Decimal 973.70924
Thomas tells the story of the village where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1831 to 1837. His three-part examination of the village often referred to as Lincoln’s "Alma Mater" features the founding and early history of New Salem, Lincoln’s impact on the village and its effect on him, and the story of the Lincoln legend and the reconstruction of the town.
Thomas argues convincingly that New Salem was the town where Lincoln acquired faith in himself, faith in people. At 22 the future president drifted into town seeking to become a blacksmith. Thomas introduces us to the people who created New Salem and who knew, influenced, and befriended Lincoln.
Thomas highlights Lincoln’s arrival, his relationships with his neighbors, his important wrestling match with Jack Armstrong, his self-education, his quiet career as an Indian fighter, his experience as a postmaster largely indifferent to postal regulations, his financial woes as a businessman, his loyal friends who often came to his aid, and his election to the legislature.
This colorful history closes with a discussion of the Lincoln legend. The truth of the stories is unimportant. What matters is that the growing Lincoln legend prompted the gradual realization that New Salem was not a dismal mire from which President Lincoln had had to extricate himself but was, in fact, an energizing force. This realization led to research and finally to the restoration of New Salem, which began in 1932.
At the center of Lincoln’s political thought and career is an intense passion for equality that runs so deep in the speeches, messages, and letters that it has the force of religious conviction for Lincoln. George Kateb examines these writings to reveal that this passion explains Lincoln’s reverence for both the Constitution and the Union.
"Abraham Lincoln was a member of the Illinois Legislature from
1834 to 1842 -- one of the Long Nine, as the Sangamon County delegation
was known, all its members being more than six feet tall. It was during
these eight years that he came as close to scandal as he was ever to come
in his public or private life. Did he, or did he not, engage in shameless
logrolling to get the state capital moved to Springfield? This and other
aspects of Lincoln's apprenticeship in the legislator . . . are thoroughly
-- Chicago Sun-Times
"The wealth of detail it contains makes it a worthwhile addition
to the study of Lincoln's legislative career."
-- Los Angeles Times
Richard James Oglesby is best known for introducing the rail-splitter image into Abraham Lincoln's successful presidential campaign of 1860, and in many ways his career ran parallel to Honest Abe's. This biography of the three-time governor of Illinois offers the first detailed view of a key figure in the great changes that swept Illinois and the country from the Jacksonian era through the Gilded Age.
Like Lincoln, Oglesby was born in Kentucky and spent most of his youth in central Illinois, apprenticing as a lawyer in Springfield and standing for election to the Illinois legislature, Congress, and U.S. Senate. Oglesby participated in the battles of Cerro Gordo and Vera Cruz during the Mexican-American War and made a small fortune in the gold rush of 1849. A superlative speaker, he ran unsuccessfully for Congress in a campaign that featured the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, then was elected to the Illinois senate as Lincoln was being elected president.
When the Civil War came, Oglesby resigned his senate seat to lead a regiment of the Union Army. Critically wounded at the Battle of Corinth, he was promoted to major general before resigning his commission to run successfully for governor of Illinois. Oglesby was at Lincoln's deathbed and led the effort to build the sixteenth president's tomb in Springfield, delivering the major oration at its dedication. In the postwar years, Oglesby drew on his popularity, his association with the martyred Lincoln, and his extraordinary stump-speaking skills to rescue the Illinois Republican Party in a time of political crisis. In his third term as governor, Oglesby faced massive labor unrest in the aftermath of the Haymarket affair.
A mature and thoughtful biography, Lincoln's Rail-Splitter chronicles Oglesby's pivotal contribution to American political life while also providing a sensitive portrait of this able, energetic man.
Lincoln's Sense of Humor
Richard Carwardine Southern Illinois University Press, 2017 Library of Congress E457.2.C355 2017 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Winner, Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Prize, 2018
Winner, ISHS Annual Award for a Scholarly Publication, 2018
Abraham Lincoln was the first president to make storytelling, jokes, and laughter tools of the office, and his natural sense of humor has become legendary. Lincoln’s Sense of Humor registers the variety, complexity of purpose, and ethical dimension of Lincoln’s humor and pinpoints the political risks Lincoln ran in telling jokes while the nation was engaged in a bloody struggle for existence.
Complete with amusing anecdotes, this book shows how Lincoln’s uses of humor evolved as he matured and explores its versatility, range of expressions, and multiple sources: western tall tales, morality stories, bawdy jokes, linguistic tricks, absurdities, political satire, and sharp wit. While Lincoln excelled at self-mockery, nothing gave him greater pleasure than satirical work lampooning hypocrisy and ethical double standards. He particularly enjoyed David R. Locke’s satiric writings by Petroleum V. Nasby, a fictional bigoted secessionist preacher, and the book explores the nuances of Lincoln’s enthusiasm for what he called Locke’s genius, showing the moral springs of Lincoln’s humor.
Richard Carwardine methodically demonstrates that Lincoln’s funny stories were the means of securing political or personal advantage, sometimes by frontal assault on opponents but more often by depiction through parable, obfuscation through hilarity, refusal through wit, and diversion through cunning. Throughout his life Lincoln worked to develop the humorist’s craft and hone the art of storytelling. His jokes were valuable in advancing his careers as politician and lawyer and in navigating his course during a storm-tossed presidency. His merriness, however, coexisted with self-absorbed contemplation and melancholy. Humor was his lifeline; dark levity acted as a tonic, giving Lincoln strength to tackle the severe challenges he faced. At the same time, a reputation for unrestrained, uncontrollable humor gave welcome ammunition to his political foes. In fact, Lincoln’s jocularity elicited waves of criticism during his presidency. He was dismissed as a “smutty joker,” a “first rate second rate man,” and a “joke incarnated.”
Since his death, Lincoln’s anecdotes and jokes have become detached from the context that had given them their political and cultural bite, losing much of the ironic and satiric meaning that he had intended. With incisive analysis and laugh-inducing examples, Carwardine helps to recapture a strong component of Lincoln’s character and reanimates the good humor of our sixteenth president.
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice
In 1858, challenger Abraham Lincoln debated incumbent Stephen Douglas seven times in the race for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. More was at stake than slavery in those debates. In Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism, John Burt contends that the very legitimacy of democratic governance was on the line. In a United States stubbornly divided over ethical issues, the overarching question posed by the Lincoln-Douglas debates has not lost its urgency: Can a liberal political system be used to mediate moral disputes? And if it cannot, is violence inevitable?
“John Burt has written a work that every serious student of Lincoln will have to read...Burt refracts Lincoln through the philosophy of Kant, Rawls and contemporary liberal political theory. His is very much a Lincoln for our time.”
—Steven B. Smith, New York Times Book Review
“I'm making space on my overstuffed shelves for Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism. This is a book I expect to be picking up and thumbing through for years to come.”
—Jim Cullen, History News Network
“Burt treats the [Lincoln-Douglas] debates as being far more significant than an election contest between two candidates. The debates represent profound statements of political philosophy and speak to the continuing challenges the U.S. faces in resolving divisive moral conflicts.”
—E. C. Sands, Choice
William Osborn Stoddard, Lincoln’s “third secretary” who worked alongside John G. Nicolay and John Hay in the White House from 1861 to 1865, completed his autobiography in 1907, one of more than one hundred books he wrote. An abridged version was published by his son in 1955 as “Lincoln’s Third Secretary: The Memoirs of William O. Stoddard.” In this new, edited version, Lincoln’s White House Secretary: The Adventurous Life of William O. Stoddard, Harold Holzer provides an introduction, afterword, and annotations and includes comments by Stoddard’s granddaughter, Eleanor Stoddard. The elegantly written volume gives readers a window into the politics, life, and culture of the mid-nineteenth century.
Stoddard’s bracing writing, eye for detail, and ear for conversation bring a novelistic excitement to a story of childhood observations, young friendships, hardscrabble frontier farming, early hints of the slavery crisis, the workings of the Lincoln administration, and the strange course of war and reunion in the southwest. More than a clerk, Stoddard was an adventurous explorer of American life, a farmer, editor, soldier, and politician.
Enhanced by seventeen illustrations, this narrative sympathetically draws the reader into the life and times of Lincoln’s third secretary, adding to our understanding of the events and the larger-than-life figures that shaped history.
The Living Lincoln
Edited by Thomas A. Horrocks, Harold Holzer, and Frank J. Williams Southern Illinois University Press, 2011 Library of Congress E457.45.L58 2011 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
The Living Lincoln gives new voice to several aspects of Abraham Lincoln's career as seen through the lens of recent scholarship, in essays that show how the sixteenth president's appeal continues to endure and expand. Featuring eleven essays from major historians, the book offers thoughtful, provocative, and highly original examinations of Lincoln's role as commander-in-chief, his use of the press to shape public opinion, his position as a politician and party leader, and the changing interpretations of his legacy as a result of cultural and social changes over the century and a half since his death.
In an opening section focusing largely on Lincoln's formative years, insightful explorations into his early self-education and the era before his presidency come from editors Frank J. Williams and Harold Holzer, respectively. Readers will also glimpse a Lincoln rarely discerned in books: calculating politician, revealed in Matthew Pinsker's illuminating essay, and shrewd military strategist, as demonstrated by Craig L. Symonds. Stimulating discussions from Edna Greene Medford, John Stauffer, and Michael Vorenberg tell of Lincoln's friendship with Frederick Douglass, his gradualism on abolition, and his evolving thoughts on race and the Constitution to round out part two. Part three features reflections on his martyrdom and memory, including a counterfactual history from Gerald J. Prokopowicz that imagines a hypothetical second term for the president, emphasizing the differences between Lincoln and his successor, Andrew Johnson. Barry Schwartz's contribution presents original research that yields fresh insight into Lincoln's evolving legacy in the South, while Richard Wightman Fox dissects Lincoln's 1865 visit to Richmond, and Orville Vernon Burton surveys and analyzes recent Lincoln scholarship.
This thought-provoking new anthology, introduced at a major bicentennial symposium at Harvard University, offers a wide range of ideas and interpretations by some of the best-known and most widely respected historians of our time. The Living Lincoln is essential reading for those seeking a better understanding of this nation's greatest president and how his actions resonate today.
When Abraham Lincoln addressed the crowd at the new national cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on November 19, 1863, he intended his speech to be his most eloquent statement on the inextricable link between equality and democracy. However, unwilling to commit to equality at that time, the nation stood ill-prepared to accept the full message of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. In the ensuing century, groups wishing to advance a particular position hijacked Lincoln’s words for their own ends, highlighting the specific parts of the speech that echoed their stance while ignoring the rest. Only as the nation slowly moved toward equality did those invoking Lincoln’s speech come closer to recovering his true purpose. In this incisive work, Jared Peatman seeks to understand Lincoln’s intentions at Gettysburg and how his words were received, invoked, and interpreted over time, providing a timely and insightful analysis of one of America’s most legendary orations.
After reviewing the events leading up to November 19, 1863, Peatman examines immediate responses to the ceremony in New York, Gettysburg itself, Confederate Richmond, and London, showing how parochial concerns and political affiliations shaped initial coverage of the day and led to the censoring of Lincoln’s words in some locales. He then traces how, over time, proponents of certain ideals invoked the particular parts of the address that suited their message, from reunification early in the twentieth century to American democracy and patriotism during the world wars and, finally, to Lincoln’s full intended message of equality during the Civil War centennial commemorations and the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Peatman also explores foreign invocations of the Gettysburg Address and its influence on both the Chinese constitution of 1912 and the current French constitution. An epilogue highlights recent and even current applications of the Gettysburg Address and hints at ways the speech might be used in the future.
By tracing the evolution of Lincoln’s brief words at a cemetery dedication into a revered document essential to American national identity, this revealing work provides fresh insight into the enduring legacy of Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg Address on American history and culture.
This richly illustrated compendium of twenty-two historic buildings in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area includes houses, a hotel, and an art center, all of which are open to the public. Each site links today’s visitors with a place Lincoln lived, a home of a Lincoln friend or colleague, or a spot that illuminates Lincoln’s era and legacy in central Illinois. Along with dozens of modern and historical photographs, entries contain explorations of historical connections to Lincoln and detailed information about exceptional features and artifacts. Complete with maps, this showcase of Illinois heritage is a handy guide for day trips, extended tours, or armchair adventures.
Although they inhabited different political, social, and cultural arenas, Abraham Lincoln and the pioneer generation of Latter-day Saints, or Mormons, shared the same nineteenth-century world. Bryon C. Andreasen’s Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln and Mormon Country relates more than thirty fascinating and surprising stories that show how the lives of Lincoln and the Mormons intersected.
This richly illustrated and carefully researched book expands on some of the storyboards found on the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail, from the Mormon capital of Nauvoo to the state capital of Springfield. Created by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, this trail consists of wayside exhibits posted in sites of significance to Lincoln’s life and career across fifty-two communities in Illinois. The book’s keyed maps, historic photos, and descriptions of battles, Mormon expeditions, and events at inns, federal buildings, and even Lincoln’s first Illinois log cabin connect the stories to their physical locations.
Exploring the intriguing question of whether Lincoln and Mormon founder Joseph Smith ever met, the book reveals that they traveled the same routes and likely stayed at the same inns. The book also includes colorful and engaging looks at key figures such as Brigham Young, various Mormon apostles, and more. Anyone inspired by Lincoln, as well as Mormon and Illinois history enthusiasts, will appreciate this look back at a long-past, but not forgotten, landscape.
Winner, ISHS Certificate of Excellence Award, 2016
Presenting fifty Abraham Lincoln stories—some familiar and beloved, some fresh and unexpected—Looking for Lincoln in Illinois: Lincoln’s Springfield is a carefully researched, richly illustrated guide to the Springfield, Illinois, locations on the Looking for Lincoln Story Trail. Created by the Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition, this trail consists of more than two hundred illustrated storyboards posted at sites of significance to Lincoln’s life and career across fifty-two communities in Illinois. The storyboards connect Lincoln-related tales to the geographical locations where they occurred, giving visitors, and now readers, a tour of the social and cultural landscape of Lincoln’s nineteenth-century world while revealing the very human Lincoln known by friends and associates.
This book celebrates the trail as a rich historical resource, featuring the original storyboards produced for Springfield and including twelve additional stories and more than 150 illustrations. Engaging stories in the book bring Lincoln’s Springfield to life: Lincoln created controversy with his Temperance Address, which he delivered in a church on Fourth Street in February 1842. He unexpectedly married Mary Todd in her sister’s home on the edge of Springfield later that year. The Lincolns’ sons used to harness dogs and cats to small wagons and drive them around the dirt streets of town. When Lincoln visited his dentist, he applied his own chloroform, because the practice of analgesia was not yet common. He reportedly played the ball game Fives in a downtown alley while waiting for news of his presidential nomination. And boxing heavyweight champion John C. Heenan visited the presidential candidate in October 1860. Through texts, historic photographs and images, and maps, including one keyed to the story locations in downtown Springfield, readers of this fascinating volume are invited to imagine social and cultural landscapes that have been lost in time.