Campaign Crossroads looks back over the varied, sometimes important, sometimes irrelevant, but always interesting presidential campaign cycles in Indiana’s history. By taking in the influences of technology, transportation and communication itself, we see an evolution in the political process that is not only altogether Hoosier, but also altogether American in its quality and importance.
Using a narrative approach with a mix of primary and secondary sources, the work examines not only the rhetoric of presidents and presidential hopefuls, but also the nature of campaigns and their impact on Indiana communities. While Indiana enjoyed the position of being a battleground state for the better part of a century from the 1870s until the 1960s, it has also been ignored, dismissed, and has on occasion created unexpected political drama.
History has long acknowledged that President Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, had considered other approaches to rectifying the problem of slavery during his administration. Prior to Emancipation, Lincoln was a proponent of colonization: the idea of sending African American slaves to another land to live as free people. Lincoln supported resettlement schemes in Panama and Haiti early in his presidency and openly advocated the idea through the fall of 1862. But the bigoted, flawed concept of colonization never became a permanent fixture of U.S. policy, and by the time Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, the word “colonization” had disappeared from his public lexicon. As such, history remembers Lincoln as having abandoned his support of colonization when he signed the proclamation. Documents exist, however, that tell another story.
Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement explores the previously unknown truth about Lincoln’s attitude toward colonization. Scholars Phillip W. Magness and Sebastian N. Page combed through extensive archival materials, finding evidence, particularly within British Colonial and Foreign Office documents, which exposes what history has neglected to reveal—that Lincoln continued to pursue colonization for close to a year after emancipation. Their research even shows that Lincoln may have been attempting to revive this policy at the time of his assassination.
Using long-forgotten records scattered across three continents—many of them untouched since the Civil War—the authors show that Lincoln continued his search for a freedmen’s colony much longer than previously thought. Colonization after Emancipation reveals Lincoln’s highly secretive negotiations with the British government to find suitable lands for colonization in the West Indies and depicts how the U.S. government worked with British agents and leaders in the free black community to recruit emigrants for the proposed colonies. The book shows that the scheme was never very popular within Lincoln’s administration and even became a subject of subversion when the president’s subordinates began battling for control over a lucrative “colonization fund” established by Congress.
Colonization after Emancipation reveals an unexplored chapter of the emancipation story. A valuable contribution to Lincoln studies and Civil War history, this book unearths the facts about an ill-fated project and illuminates just how complex, and even convoluted, Abraham Lincoln’s ideas about the end of slavery really were.
In its early days, Illinois seemed destined to extend the American South. Its population of transplants lived an upland southern culture and in some cases owned slaves. Yet the nineteenth century and three constitutions recast Illinois as a crucible of northern strength and American progress. Frank Cicero Jr. provides an appealing new history of Illinois as expressed by the state's constitutions—and the lively conventions that led to each one. In Creating the Land of Lincoln, Cicero sheds light on the vital debates of delegates who, freed from electoral necessity, revealed the opinions, prejudices, sentiments, and dreams of Illinoisans at critical junctures in state history. Cicero simultaneously analyzes decisions large and small that fostered momentous social and political changes. The addition of northern land in the 1818 constitution, for instance, opened up the state to immigrant populations that reoriented Illinois to the north. Legislative abuses and rancor over free blacks influenced the 1848 document and the subsequent rise of a Republican Party that gave the nation Abraham Lincoln as its president. Cicero concludes with the 1870 constitution, revealing how its dialogues and resolutions set the state on the modern course that still endures today.
Herndon on Lincoln: Letters
William H. Herndon, edited by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis University of Illinois Press, 2019 Library of Congress E457.H579 2016 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
After Abraham Lincoln's assassination in 1865, William H. Herndon began work on a brief, "subjective" biography of his former law partner, but his research turned up such unexpected and often startling information that it became a lifelong obsession. The biography finally published in 1889, Herndon's Lincoln, was a collaboration with Jesse W. Weik in which Herndon provided the materials and Weik did almost all the writing. For this reason, and because so much of what Herndon had to say about Lincoln was not included in the biography, David Donald has observed, "To understand Herndon's own rather peculiar approach to Lincoln biography, one must go back to his letters." An exhaustive collection of what Herndon was told by others about Lincoln was published by Douglas L. Wilson and Rodney O. Davis in Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln . In this new volume, Wilson and Davis have produced a comprehensive edition of what Herndon himself wrote about Lincoln in his own letters. Because of Herndon's close association with Lincoln, his intimate acquaintance with his partner's legal and political careers, and because he sought out informants who knew Lincoln and preserved information that might otherwise have been lost, his letters have become an indispensable resource for Lincoln biography. Unfiltered by a collaborator and rendered in Herndon's own distinctive voice, these letters constitute a matchless trove of primary source material. Herndon on Lincoln: Letters is a must for libraries, research institutions, and students of a towering American figure and his times.
Although the nation changed substantially between the presidential terms of Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln, these two leaders shared common interests and held remarkably similar opinions on many important issues. In Jefferson, Lincoln, and the Unfinished Work of the Nation, Ronald L. Hatzenbuehler describes the views of two of our nation’s greatest presidents and explains how these views provide valuable insight into modern debates.
In this groundbreaking new study—the first extended examination of the ideas of Lincoln and Jefferson—Hatzenbuehler provides readers with a succinct guide to their opinions, comparing and contrasting their reasoned judgments on America’s republican form of government. Each chapter is devoted to one key area of common interest: race and slavery, the pros and cons of political parties, state rights versus federal authority, religion and the presidency, presidential powers under the Constitution, or the proper political economy for a republic. Relying on the pair’s own words in their letters, writings, and speeches, Hatzenbuehler explores similarities and differences between the two men on contentious issues. Both, for instance, wrote that they were antislavery, but Jefferson never acted on this belief, while Lincoln moved toward a constitutional amendment banning slavery. The book’s title, taken from the Gettysburg Address, builds on both presidents’ expectations that Americans should dedicate themselves to the unfinished work of returning the nation to its founding principles.
Jefferson and Lincoln wrestled with many of the same issues and ideas that intrigue and divide Americans today. In his thought-provoking work, Hatzenbuehler details how the two presidents addressed these issues and ideas, which are essential to understanding not only America’s history but also the continuing influence of the past on the present.
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
In a meticulously researched and engagingly written narrative, McGinty rescues the story of Abraham Lincoln and the Supreme Court from long and undeserved neglect, recounting the compelling history of the Civil War president's relations with the nation's highest tribunal and the role it played in resolving the agonizing issues raised by the conflict.
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.
Sometimes, in American politics, a conflict becomes so heated and divisive—as the conflict over slavery did—that the ground is set for civil war. Abraham Lincoln, a pragmatist who wanted to rebuild national unity, ran up against the radicals in his own party who insisted on a rigid solution, regardless of the cost to the country.
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
“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.
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.
This sweeping narrative presents an original and compelling explanation for the triumph of the antislavery movement in the United States prior to the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln's election as the first antislavery president was hardly preordained. From the country's inception, Americans had struggled to define slavery's relationship to freedom. Most Northerners supported abolition in the North but condoned slavery in the South, while most Southerners denounced abolition and asserted slavery's compatibility with whites' freedom. On this massive political fault line hinged the fate of the nation.
Graham A. Peck meticulously traces the conflict over slavery in Illinois from the Northwest Ordinance in 1787 to Lincoln's defeat of his archrival Stephen A. Douglas in the 1860 election. Douglas's attempt in 1854 to persuade Northerners that slavery and freedom had equal national standing stirred a political earthquake that brought Lincoln to the White House. Yet Lincoln's framing of the antislavery movement as a conservative return to the country's founding principles masked what was in fact a radical and unprecedented antislavery nationalism. It justified slavery's destruction but triggered the Civil War.
Presenting pathbreaking interpretations of Lincoln, Douglas, and the Civil War's origins, Making an Antislavery Nation shows how battles over slavery paved the way for freedom's triumph in America.
The turbulent history of the United States has provided a fertile ground for conspiracies, both real and imagined. From the American Revolution to the present day, conspiracy discourse—linguistic and symbolic practices and artifacts revolving around themes, claims, or accusations of conspiracy—has been a staple of political rhetoric. Some conspiracy theories never catch on with the public, while others achieve widespread popularity. Whether successful or not, the means by which particular conspiracy theories spread is a rhetorical process, a process in which persuasive language, symbolism, and arguments act upon individual minds within concrete historical and political settings.
Conspiracy rhetoric was a driving force in the evolution of antebellum political culture, contributing to the rise and fall of the great parties in the nineteenth century. One conspiracy theory in particular—the "slave power" conspiracy—was instrumental in facilitating the growth of the young Republican Party's membership and ideology. The Political Style of Conspiracy analyzes the concept and reality of the "slave power" in the rhetorical discourse of the mid-nineteenth-century, in particular the speeches and writing of politicians Salmon P. Chase, Charles Sumner, and Abraham Lincoln. By examining their mainstream texts, Pfau reveals that, in addition to the "paranoid style" of conspiracy rhetoric that inhabits the margins of political life, Lincoln, Chase, and Sumner also engaged in a distinctive form of conspiracy rhetoric that is often found at the center of mainstream American society and politics.
Reading With Lincoln
Robert Bray Southern Illinois University Press, 2010 Library of Congress E457.2.B83 2010 | Dewey Decimal 973.7092
Through extensive reading and reflection, Abraham Lincoln fashioned a mind as powerfully intellectual and superlatively communicative as that of any other American political leader. Reading with Lincoln uncovers the how of Lincoln’s inspiring rise to greatness by connecting the content of his reading to the story of his life.
At the core of Lincoln’s success was his self-education, centered on his love of and appreciation for learning through books. From his early studies of grammar school handbooks and children’s classics to his interest in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and the Bible during his White House years, what Lincoln read helped to define who he was as a person and as a politician. This unique study delves into the books, pamphlets, poetry, plays, and essays that influenced Lincoln’s thoughts and actions.
Exploring in great depth and detail those readings that inspired the sixteenth president, author Robert Bray follows Lincoln’s progress closely, from the young teen composing letters for illiterate friends and neighbors to the politician who keenly employed what he read to advance his agenda. Bray analyzes Lincoln’s radical period in New Salem, during which he came under the influence of Anglo-American and French Enlightenment thinkers such as Thomas Paine, C. F. Volney, and Voltaire, and he investigates Lincoln’s appreciation of nineteenth-century lyric poetry, which he both read and wrote. Bray considers Lincoln’s fascination with science, mathematics, political economics, liberal social philosophy, theology, and the Bible, and devotes special attention to Lincoln’s enjoyment of American humor. While striving to arrive at an understanding of the role each subject played in the development of this remarkable leader, Bray also examines the connections and intertextual relations between what Lincoln read and how he wrote and spoke.
This comprehensive and long-awaited book provides fresh insight into the self-made man from the wilderness of Illinois. Bray offers a new way to approach the mind of the political artist who used his natural talent, honed by years of rhetorical study and practice, to abolish slavery and end the Civil War.
The Republican party has always been fascinating to those who subscribe to its principles, as well as to those who take an alternative stand on the issues. In The Republicans: From Lincoln to Bush, Robert Allen Rutland has brought a clear and concise understanding of this political party to the general reader. The book is a lucid and fast-paced overview of the Republican party from its beginnings in the 1850s through the 1994 congressional elections, which saw the Democratic domination of the House and Senate come to an abrupt end.
In a crisp, highly readable style, Rutland begins by explaining how the "obnoxious" Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 overturned the Missouri Compromise, inflamed the North, and caused the collapse of the Whig and American parties. The result was the birth of the Republican party, whose purpose was to oppose the Democrats and stop the spread of slavery. Abraham Lincoln was elected the first Republican president in 1860.
The Republicans suggests that a major shift in voting strength took place twice during the twentieth century, first in the New Deal years, and again after 1968 when the GOP made an appeal to southern voters and finally took control of the area that had previously been dominated by the Democrats. With the 1980 election of Ronald Reagan as the fortieth president of the United States, the Republicans gained support from many first-time voters, middle-class whites, and labor unions-- groups not previously expected to vote Republican. In the companion volume, The Democrats: From Jefferson to Clinton, Rutland provides an honest and straightforward assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Democratic presidents. Here he presents an evenhanded look at the good and not-so-good Republicans. By skillfully using stories and anecdotes from various administrations to enliven this narrative of political history, Rutland gives Republicans and Democrats alike a deeper appreciation for the two-party system.
When Abraham Lincoln moved to Illinois’ Sangamo Country in 1831, he found a pioneer community transforming from a cluster of log houses along an ancient trail to a community of new towns and state roads. But two of the towns vanished in a matter of years, and many of the activities and lifestyles that shaped them were almost entirely forgotten. In The Sangamo Frontier, archaeologist Robert Mazrim unearths the buried history of this early American community, breathing new life into a region that still rests in Lincoln’s shadow.
Named after a shallow river that cuts through the prairies of central Illinois, the Sangamo Country—an area that now encompasses the capital city of Springfield and present-day Sangamon County—was first colonized after the War of 1812. For the past fifteen years, Mazrim has conducted dozens of excavations there, digging up pieces of pioneer life, from hand-forged iron and locally made crockery to pewter spoons and Staffordshire teacups. And here, in beautifully illustrated stories of each dig, he shows how each of these small artifacts can teach us something about the lifestyles of people who lived on the frontier nearly two hundred years ago. Allowing us to see past the changed modern landscape and the clichés of pioneer history, Mazrim deftly uses his findings to portray the homes, farms, taverns, and pottery shops where Lincoln’s neighbors once lived and worked.
Drawing readers into the thrill of discovery, The Sangamo Frontier inaugurates a new kind of archaeological history that both enhances and challenges our written history. It imbues today’s landscape with an authentic ghostliness that will reawaken the curiosity of anyone interested in the forgotten people and places that helped shape our nation.
Over the course of American history, Jews have held many American leaders in high esteem, but they maintain a unique emotional bond with Abraham Lincoln. From the time of his presidency to the present day, American Jews have persistently viewed Lincoln as one of their own, casting him as a Jewish sojourner and, in certain respects, a Jewish role model. This pioneering compendium— The first volume of annotated documents to focus on the history of Lincoln’s image, influence, and reputation among American Jews— considers how Lincoln acquired his exceptional status and how, over the past century and a half, this fascinating relationship has evolved.
Organized into twelve chronological and thematic chapters, these little-known primary source documents—many never before published and some translated into English for the first time—consist of newspaper clippings, journal articles, letters, poems, and sermons, and provide insight into a wide variety of issues relating to Lincoln’s Jewish connection. Topics include Lincoln’s early encounters with Central European Jewish immigrants living in the Old Northwest; Lincoln’s Jewish political allies; his encounters with Jews and the Jewish community as President; Lincoln’s response to the Jewish chaplain controversy; General U. S. Grant’s General Orders No. 11 expelling “Jews, as a class” from the Military Department of Tennessee; the question of amending the U.S. Constitution to legislate the country’s so-called Christian national character; and Jewish eulogies after Lincoln’s assassination. Other chapters consider the crisis of conscience that arose when President Andrew Johnson proclaimed a national day of mourning for Lincoln on the festival of Shavuot (the Feast of Weeks), a day when Jewish law enjoins Jews to rejoice and not to mourn; Lincoln’s Jewish detractors contrasted to his boosters; how American Jews have intentionally “Judaized” Lincoln ever since his death; the leading role that American Jews have played in in crafting Lincoln’s image and in preserving his memory for the American nation; American Jewish reflections on the question “What Would Lincoln Do?”; and how Lincoln, for America’s Jewish citizenry, became the avatar of America’s highest moral aspirations.
With thoughtful chapter introductions that provide readers with a context for the annotated documents that follow, this volume provides a fascinating chronicle of American Jewry’s unfolding historical encounter with the life and symbolic image of Abraham Lincoln, shedding light on how the cultural interchange between American ideals and Jewish traditions influences the dynamics of the American Jewish experience.
Finalist, 2014 National Jewish Book Award
Finalist, 2015 Ohioana Book Award
From the time of Lincoln’ s nomination for the presidency until his assassination, John G. Nicolay served as the Civil War president’ s chief personal secretary. Nicolay became an intimate of Lincoln and probably knew him as well as anyone outside his own family. Unlike John Hay, his subordinate, Nicolay kept no diary, but he did write several memoranda recording his chief’ s conversation that shed direct light on Lincoln. In his many letters to Hay, to his fiancé e, Therena Bates, and to others, Nicolay often describes the mood at the White House as well as events there. He also expresses opinions that were almost certainly shaped by the president
For this volume, Michael Burlingame includes all of Nicolay’ s memoranda of conversations, all of the journal entries describing Lincoln’ s activities, and excerpts from most of the nearly three hundred letters Nicolay wrote to Therena Bates between 1860 and 1865. He includes letters and portions of letters that describe Lincoln or the mood at the White House or that give Nicolay’ s personal opinions. He also includes letters written by Nicolay while on troubleshooting missions for the president.
An impoverished youth, Nicolay was an unlikely candidate for the important position he held during the Civil War. It was only over the strong objections of some powerful people that he became Lincoln’ s private secretary after Lincoln’ s nomination for the presidency in 1860. Prominent Chicago Republican Herman Kreismann found the appointment of a man so lacking in savoir faire
“ ridiculous.” Henry Martin Smith, city editor of the Chicago Tribune, called Nicolay’ s appointment a national loss. Henry C.Whitney was surprised that the president would appoint a “ nobody.”
Lacking charm, Nicolay became known at the White House as the “ bulldog in the ante-room” with a disposition “ sour and crusty.” California journalist Noah Brooks deemed Nicolay a “ grim Cerberus of Teutonic descent who guards the last door which opens into the awful presence.” Yet in some ways he was perfectly suited for the difficult job. William O. Stoddard, noting that Nicolay was not popular and could “ say 'no'about as disagreeably as any man I ever knew,” still granted that Nicolay served Lincoln well because he was devoted and incorruptible. Stoddard concluded that Nicolay “ deserves the thanks of all who loved Mr. Lincoln.”
For his part, Nicolay said he derived his greatest satisfaction “ from having enjoyed the privilege and honor of being Mr. Lincoln’ s intimate and official private secretary, and of earning his cordial friendship and perfect trust.”