front cover of Abigail and John Adams
Abigail and John Adams
The Americanization of Sensibility
G. J. Barker-Benfield
University of Chicago Press, 2010

During the many years that they were separated by the perils of the American Revolution, John and Abigail Adams exchanged hundreds of letters. Writing to each other of public events and private feelings, loyalty and love, revolution and parenting, they wove a tapestry of correspondence that has become a cherished part of American history and literature.

With Abigail and John Adams, historian G. J. Barker-Benfield mines those familiar letters to a new purpose: teasing out the ways in which they reflected—and helped transform—a language of sensibility, inherited from Britain but, amid the revolutionary fervor, becoming Americanized. Sensibility—a heightened moral consciousness of feeling, rooted in the theories of such thinkers as Descartes, Locke, and Adam Smith and including a “moral sense” akin to the physical senses—threads throughout these letters. As Barker-Benfield makes clear, sensibility was the fertile, humanizing ground on which the Adamses not only founded their marriage, but also the “abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity” they and their contemporaries hoped to plant at the heart of the new nation. Bringing together their correspondence with a wealth of fascinating detail about life and thought, courtship and sex, gender and parenting, and class and politics in the revolutionary generation and beyond, Abigail and John Adams draws a lively, convincing portrait of a marriage endangered by separation, yet surviving by the same ideas and idealism that drove the revolution itself.

A feast of ideas that never neglects the real lives of the man and woman at its center, Abigail and John Adams takes readers into the heart of an unforgettable union in order to illuminate the first days of our nation—and explore our earliest understandings of what it might mean to be an American.

[more]

front cover of Abraham among the Yankees
Abraham among the Yankees
Lincoln's 1848 Visit to Massachusetts
William F. Hanna
Southern Illinois University Press, 1983
Filling in a portion of Lincoln’s political career that few are aware of, this engaging travelogue details Lincoln’s twelve-day trip through Massachusetts as a young, aspiring Illinois politician campaigning for Zachary Taylor, a slaveowner and the Whig candidate for president in 1848. Moving swiftly, William F. Hanna follows Lincoln from town to town, explaining why Lincoln supported a slaveholder and describing one of Lincoln’s earliest attempts to appeal to an audience beyond his home territory.

Hanna provides excellent context on the politics of the era, particularly the question of slavery, both in Massachusetts and nationwide, and he features the people Lincoln met and the cities or towns in which he spoke. Lincoln stumped for Taylor in Worcester, New Bedford, Boston, Lowell, Dorchester, Chelsea, Dedham, Cambridge, and Taunton. He gave twelve speeches in eleven days to audiences who responded with everything from catcalls to laughter to applause. Whatever they thought of Lincoln’s arguments, those who saw him were impressed by his unusual western style and remembered his style more than the substance of his talks.

Meticulously researched, Abraham among the Yankees invites readers to take an East Coast journey with a thirty-nine-year-old Lincoln during election season in 1848 to see how Massachusetts audiences responded to the humorous, informal approach that served Lincoln well during the rest of his political career.
 
[more]

front cover of Abraham and Mary Lincoln
Abraham and Mary Lincoln
Kenneth J. Winkle
Southern Illinois University Press, 2011
For decades Abraham and Mary Lincoln’s marriage has been characterized as discordant and tumultuous. In Abraham and Mary Lincoln, author Kenneth J. Winkle goes beyond the common image of the couple, illustrating that although the waters of the Lincoln household were far from calm, the Lincolns were above all a house united. Calling upon their own words and the reminiscences of family members and acquaintances, Winkle traces the Lincolns from their starkly contrasting childhoods, through their courtship and rise to power, to their years in the White House during the Civil War, ultimately revealing a dynamic love story set against the backdrop of the greatest peril the nation has ever seen. 

When the awkward but ambitious Lincoln landed Mary Todd, people were surprised by their seeming incompatibility. Lincoln, lacking in formal education and social graces, came from the world of hardscrabble farmers on the American frontier. Mary, by contrast, received years of schooling and came from an established, wealthy, slave-owning family. Yet despite the social gulf between them, these two formidable personalities forged a bond that proved unshakable during the years to come. Mary provided Lincoln with the perfect partner in ambition—one with connections, political instincts, and polish. For Mary, Lincoln was her “diamond in the rough,” a man whose ungainly appearance and background belied a political acumen to match her own. 

While each played their role in the marriage perfectly— Lincoln doggedly pursuing success and Mary hosting lavish political soirées—their partnership was not without contention. Mary—once described as “the wildcat of her age”—frequently expressed frustration with the limitations placed on her by Victorian social strictures, exhibiting behavior that sometimes led to public friction between the couple. Abraham’s work would at times keep him away from home for weeks, leaving Mary alone in Springfield. 

The true test of the Lincolns’ dedication to each other began in the White House, as personal tragedy struck their family and civil war erupted on American soil. The couple faced controversy and heartbreak as the death of their young son left Mary grief-stricken and dependent upon séances and spiritualists; as charges of disloyalty hounded the couple regarding Mary’s young sister, a Confederate widow; and as public demands grew strenuous that their son Robert join the war. The loss of all privacy and the constant threat of kidnapping and assassination took its toll on the entire family. Yet until a fateful night in the Ford Theatre in 1865, Abraham and Mary Lincoln stood firmly together—he as commander-in-chief during America’s gravest military crisis, and she as First Lady of a divided country that needed the White House to emerge as a respected symbol of national unity and power. 

Despite the challenges they faced, the Lincolns’ life together fully embodied the maxim engraved on their wedding bands: love is eternal. Abraham and Mary Lincoln is a testament to the power of a stormy union that held steady through the roughest of seas.
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
A Biography
Benjamin P. Thomas. Foreword by Michael Burlingame
Southern Illinois University Press, 1952

Long considered a classic, Benjamin P. Thomas's Abraham Lincoln: A Biography takes an incisive look at one of American history's greatest figures. Originally published in 1952 to wide acclaim, this eloquent account rises above previously romanticized depictions of the sixteenth president to reveal the real Lincoln: a complex, shrewd, and dynamic individual whose exceptional life has long intrigued the public.

Thomas traces the president from his hardscrabble beginnings and early political career, through his years as an Illinois lawyer and his presidency during the Civil War. Although Lincoln is appropriately placed against the backdrop of the dramatic times in which he lived, the author's true focus is on Lincoln the man and his intricate personality. While Thomas pays tribute to Lincoln's many virtues and accomplishments, he is careful not to dramatize a persona already larger than life in the American imagination. Instead he presents a candid and balanced representation that provides compelling insight into Lincoln's true character and the elements that forged him into an extraordinary leader. Thomas portrays Lincoln as a man whose conviction, resourcefulness, and inner strength enabled him to lead the nation through the most violent crossroads in its history.

Thomas's direct, readable narrative is concise while losing none of the crucial details of Lincoln's remarkable life. The volume's clarity of style makes it accessible to beginners, but it is complex and nuanced enough to interest longtime Lincoln scholars. After more than half a century, Abraham Lincoln: A Biography is still an essential source for anyone interested in learning more about the many facets of the sixteenth president, and it remains the definitive single-volume work on the life of an American legend.

[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley
Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley
Gregory A. Borchard
Southern Illinois University Press, 2011
On the American stages of politics and journalism in the mid-nineteenth century, few men were more influential than Abraham Lincoln and his sometime adversary, sometime ally, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley. In this compelling new volume, author Gregory A. Borchard explores the intricate relationship between these two vibrant figures, both titans of the press during one of the most tumultuous political eras in American history. Packed with insightful analysis and painstaking research, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley offers a fresh perspective on these luminaries and their legacies.

Borchard begins with an overview of the lives of both Lincoln and Greeley, delving particularly into their mutual belief in Henry Clay’s much-debated American System, and investigating the myriad similarities between the two political giants, including their comparable paths to power and their statuses as self-made men, their reputations as committed reformers, and their shared dedication to social order and developing a national infrastructure. Also detailed are Lincoln’s and Greeley’s personal quests to end slavery in the United States, as well as their staunch support of free-soil homesteads in the West. 

Yet despite their ability to work together productively, both men periodically found themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Their by turns harmonious and antagonistic relationship often played out on the front pages of Greeley’s influential newspaper, the New York Tribune. Drawing upon historical gems from the Tribune, as well as the personal papers of both Lincoln and Greeley, Borchard explores in depth the impact the two men had on their times and on each other, and how, as Lincoln’s and Greeley’s paths often crossed—and sometimes diverged—they personified the complexities, virtues, contradictions, and faults of their eras. 

Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley goes beyond tracing each man’s personal and political evolution to offer a new perspective on the history-changing events of the times, including the decline of the Whig Party and the rise of the Republicans, the drive to extend American borders into the West; and the bloody years of the Civil War. Borchard finishes with reflections on the deaths of Lincoln and Greeley and how the two men have been remembered by subsequent generations. 

Sure to become an essential volume in the annals of political history and journalism, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley is a compelling testament to the indelible mark these men left on both their contemporaries and the face of America’s future.
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns
Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns
Connected Lives and Legends
Ferenc Morton Szasz
Southern Illinois University Press, 2008

Today the images of Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln are recognized worldwide, yet few are aware of the connection between the two. In Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends, author Ferenc Morton Szasz reveals how famed Scots poet Robert Burns—and Scotland in general—influenced the life and thought of one of the most beloved and important U.S. presidents and how the legends of the two men became intertwined after their deaths. This is the first extensive work to link the influence, philosophy, and artistry of these two larger-than-life figures.

Lacking a major national poet of their own in the early nineteenth century, Americans in the fledgling frontier country ardently adopted the poignant verses and songs of Scotland’s Robert Burns. Lincoln, too, was fascinated by Scotland’s favorite son and enthusiastically quoted the Scottish bard from his teenage years to the end of his life. Szasz explores the ways in which Burns’s portrayal of the foibles of human nature, his scorn for religious hypocrisy, his plea for nonjudgmental tolerance, and his commitment to social equality helped shape Lincoln’s own philosophy of life. The volume also traces how Burns’s lyrics helped Lincoln develop his own powerful sense of oratorical rhythm, from his casual anecdotal stories to his major state addresses.

Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns connects the poor-farm-boy upbringings, the quasi-deistic religious views, the shared senses of destiny, the extraordinary gifts for words, and the quests for social equality of two respected and beloved world figures. This book is enhanced by twelve illustrations and two appendixes, which include Burns poems Lincoln particularly admired and Lincoln writings especially admired in Scotland.

 

[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln and the Bible
Abraham Lincoln and the Bible
A Complete Compendium
Gordon Leidner
Southern Illinois University Press, 2023
Lincoln’s life and leadership through the lens of the Bible
 
How did Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong study of scripture influence him as a man and, ultimately, as president? Historian Gordon Leidner believes the impact was profound—more than previously recognized—and has investigated all the known writings of Abraham Lincoln to identify, catalog, and study every instance in which Lincoln quoted from or alluded to the Bible. Rather than dwelling on the never-ending debate about Lincoln’s religious beliefs, Leidner shows how scripture affected Lincoln personally, professionally, and politically.
 
Leidner offers first a short biography that focuses on Lincoln’s use of the Bible, how it shaped him as a person, how its influence changed over time, and how biblical quotations peppered his letters, speeches, and conversations. The book concludes with an unparalleled appendix that tabulates nearly 200 instances of Lincoln’s quoting from or alluding to scripture, giving locators for the Bible and Roy P. Basler’s nine volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln and quotations from both sources. The appendix also includes when and where Lincoln used each quote, providing valuable context, whether the use was in personal letters such as one to Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert, political speeches such as the Gettysburg Address, or state addresses such as the Second Inaugural Address.
 
By showcasing Lincoln’s specific biblical references and influences, Leidner reframes the question of Lincoln’s religious beliefs so that readers may evaluate for themselves what solace and guidance the Bible afforded the sixteenth president.
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory
Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory
Barry Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 2000
Abraham Lincoln has long dominated the pantheon of American presidents. From his lavish memorial in Washington and immortalization on Mount Rushmore, one might assume he was a national hero rather than a controversial president who came close to losing his 1864 bid for reelection. In Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory, Barry Schwartz aims at these contradictions in his study of Lincoln's reputation, from the president's death through the industrial revolution to his apotheosis during the Progressive Era and First World War.

Schwartz draws on a wide array of materials—painting and sculpture, popular magazines and school textbooks, newspapers and oratory—to examine the role that Lincoln's memory has played in American life. He explains, for example, how dramatic funeral rites elevated Lincoln's reputation even while funeral eulogists questioned his presidential actions, and how his reputation diminished and grew over the next four decades. Schwartz links transformations of Lincoln's image to changes in the society. Commemorating Lincoln helped Americans to think about their country's development from a rural republic to an industrial democracy and to articulate the way economic and political reform, military power, ethnic and race relations, and nationalism enhanced their conception of themselves as one people.

Lincoln's memory assumed a double aspect of "mirror" and "lamp," acting at once as a reflection of the nation's concerns and an illumination of its ideals, and Schwartz offers a fascinating view of these two functions as they were realized in the commemorative symbols of an ever-widening circle of ethnic, religious, political, and regional communities. The first part of a study that will continue through the present, Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory is the story of how America has shaped its past selectively and imaginatively around images rooted in a real person whose character and achievements helped shape his country's future.
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era
Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era
History and Memory in Late Twentieth-Century America
Barry Schwartz
University of Chicago Press, 2008
By the 1920s, Abraham Lincoln had transcended the lingering controversies of the Civil War to become a secular saint, honored in North and South alike for his steadfast leadership in crisis. Throughout the Great Depression and World War II, Lincoln was invoked countless times as a reminder of America’s strength and wisdom, a commanding ideal against which weary citizens could see their own hardships in perspective.
 
But as Barry Schwartz reveals in Abraham Lincoln in the Post-Heroic Era, those years represent the apogee of Lincoln’s prestige. The decades following World War II brought radical changes to American culture, changes that led to the diminishing of all heroes—Lincoln not least among them. As Schwartz explains, growing sympathy for the plight of racial minorities, disenchantment with the American state, the lessening of patriotism in the wake of the Vietnam War, and an intensifying celebration of diversity, all contributed to a culture in which neither Lincoln nor any single person could be a heroic symbol for all Americans. Paradoxically, however, the very culture that made Lincoln an object of indifference, questioning, criticism, and even ridicule was a culture of unprecedented beneficence and inclusion, where racial, ethnic, and religious groups treated one another more fairly and justly than ever before. Thus, as the prestige of the Great Emancipator shrank, his legacy of equality continued to flourish.
 
Drawing on a stunning range of sources—including films, cartoons, advertisements, surveys, shrine visitations, public commemorations, and more—Schwartz documents the decline of Lincoln’s public standing, asking throughout whether there is any path back from this post-heroic era. Can a new generation of Americans embrace again their epic past, including great leaders whom they know to be flawed?  As the 2009 Lincoln Bicentennial approaches, readers will discover here a stirring reminder that Lincoln, as a man, still has much to say to us—about our past, our present, and our possible futures.
 
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln, Philosopher Statesman
Abraham Lincoln, Philosopher Statesman
Joseph R. Fornieri
Southern Illinois University Press, 2014

2015 ISHS Superior Achievement Award

What constitutes Lincoln’s political greatness as a statesman? As a great leader, he saved the Union, presided over the end of slavery, and helped to pave the way for an interracial democracy. His great speeches provide enduring wisdom about human equality, democracy, free labor, and free society. Joseph R. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s political genius is best understood in terms of a philosophical statesmanship that united greatness of thought and action, one that combined theory and practice. This philosophical statesmanship, Fornieri argues, can best be understood in terms of six dimensions of political leadership: wisdom, prudence, duty, magnanimity, rhetoric, and patriotism. Drawing on insights from history, politics, and philosophy, Fornieri tackles the question of how Lincoln’s statesmanship displayed each of these crucial elements.

Providing an accessible framework for understanding Lincoln’s statesmanship, this thoughtful study examines the sixteenth president’s political leadership in terms of the traditional moral vision of statecraft as understood by epic political philosophers such as Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s character is best understood in terms of Aquinas’s understanding of magnanimity or greatness of soul, the crowning virtue of statesmanship. True political greatness, as embodied by Lincoln, involves both humility and sacrificial service for the common good. The enduring wisdom and timeless teachings of these great thinkers, Fornieri shows, can lead to a deeper appreciation of statesmanship and of its embodiment in Abraham Lincoln.

With the great philosophers and books of western civilization as his guide, Fornieri demonstrates the important contribution of normative political philosophy to an understanding of our sixteenth president. Informed by political theory that draws on the classics in revealing the timelessness of Lincoln’s example, his interdisciplinary study offers profound insights for anyone interested in the nature of leadership, statesmanship, political philosophy, political ethics, political history, and constitutional law.

[more]

logo for University of Illinois Press
Abraham Lincoln, Statesman Historian
Jesse Derber
University of Illinois Press, 2024

Abraham Lincoln drew upon history in his political career and particularly when crafting the rhetorical masterpieces that still resonate in the present day. Jesse Derber explores how Lincoln’s views of the limits of human understanding drove a belief in--and untiring pursuit of--historical truth.

Lincoln embraced the traditional ideas that good history made good statesmanship and that an understanding of the past informed decision-making in the present. Seeing history as a source of wisdom, Lincoln strove for accuracy through a combination of research, reasoning ability, emotional maturity, and a willingness to admit his mistakes and challenge his biases. His philosophy flowed from an idea that authentic history could enlighten people about human nature. Though he revered precedents, Lincoln understood the past could be imperfect, and that progress through change was an ineffable part of building a better nation.

Perceptive and revealing, Abraham Lincoln, Statesman Historian looks at how the Lincoln practiced history and applied its lessons to politics and leadership.

[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay
Edited by Michael Burlingame
Southern Illinois University Press, 2007
In 1890 Abraham Lincoln’s two main White House secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay, published the ten-volume biography Abraham Lincoln: A History. Although the authors witnessed the daily events occurring within the executive mansion and the national Capitol, their lengthy biography is more a recounting of the Civil War era than a study of Lincoln’s life.
            Editor Michael Burlingame sifted through the original forty-seven-hundred-page work and selected only the personal observations of the secretaries during the Lincoln presidency, placing ten excerpts in chronological order in Abraham Lincoln: The Observations of John G. Nicolay and John Hay.  The result is an important collection of Nicolay and Hay’s interpretations of Lincoln’s character, actions, and reputation, framed by Burlingame’s compelling preface, introduction, chapter introductions, and notes.  The volume provides vivid descriptions of such events as Election Day in 1860, the crisis at Fort Sumter, the first major battle of the war at Bull Run, and Lincoln’s relationship with Edwin Stanton and George McClellan.
           In this clear and captivating new work, Burlingame has made key portions of Nicolay and Hay’s immense biography available to a wide audience of today’s readers.
[more]

front cover of Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy
Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy
Jon D. Schaff
Southern Illinois University Press, 2019
This bold, groundbreaking study of American political development assesses the presidency of Abraham Lincoln through the lenses of governmental power, economic policy, expansion of executive power, and natural rights to show how Lincoln not only believed in the limitations of presidential power but also dedicated his presidency to restraining the scope and range of it.
 
Though Lincoln’s presidency is inextricably linked to the Civil War, and he is best known for his defense of the Union and executive wartime leadership, Lincoln believed that Congress should be at the helm of public policy making. Likewise, Lincoln may have embraced limited government in vague terms, but he strongly supported effective rule of law and distribution of income and wealth. Placing the Lincoln presidency within a deeper and more meaningful historical context, Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy highlights Lincoln’s significance in the development of American power institutions and social movement politics.
 
Using Lincoln’s prepresidential and presidential words and actions, this book argues that decent government demands a balance of competing goods and the strong statesmanship that Lincoln exemplified. Instead of relying too heavily on the will of the people and institutional solutions to help prevent tyranny, Jon D. Schaff proposes that American democracy would be better served by a moderate and prudential statesmanship such as Lincoln’s, which would help limit democratic excesses.
 
Schaff explains how Lincoln’s views on prudence, moderation, natural rights, and economics contain the notion of limits, then views Lincoln’s political and presidential leadership through the same lens. He compares Lincoln’s views on governmental powers with the defense of unlimited government by twentieth-century progressives and shows how Lincoln’s theory of labor anticipated twentieth-century distributist economic thought. Schaff’s unique exploration falls squarely between historians who consider Lincoln a protoprogressive and those who say his presidency was a harbinger of industrialized, corporatized America.
 
In analyzing Lincoln’s approach, Abraham Lincoln’s Statesmanship and the Limits of Liberal Democracy rejects the idea he was a revolutionary statesman and instead lifts up Lincoln’s own affinity for limited presidential power, making the case for a modest approach to presidential power today based on this understanding of Lincoln’s statesmanship. As a counterpoint to the contemporary landscape of bitter, uncivil politics, Schaff points to Lincoln’s statesmanship as a model for better ways of engaging in politics in a democracy.
 
[more]

front cover of Adams Family Correspondence
Adams Family Correspondence
Adams Family
Harvard University Press, 1963

This volume continues the incredible family saga of the Adamses of Massachusetts as told through their myriad letters to one another, to their extended family, and to such other notable correspondents as Thomas Jefferson and Mercy Otis Warren. The book opens in January 1786, when John and Abigail resided at Grosvenor Square in London, partaking of the English social scene, while John made slow progress on negotiations for an Anglo-American commercial treaty. Daughter Abigail ("Nabby"), also in London, had begun a courtship with William Stephens Smith that would culminate in their marriage in June 1786. Back in Massachusetts, John Quincy had rejoined his brothers Charles and Thomas, entered Harvard College, and begun to make preparations to study law.

Writing back and forth across the Atlantic, the Adamses interspersed observations about their own family life--births and deaths, illnesses and marriages, new homes and new jobs, education and finances--with commentary on the most important social and political events of their day, from the scandals in the British royal family to the deteriorating political situation in Massachusetts that eventually culminated in Shays' Rebellion. As in the previous volumes in this series of the Adams Papers, the correspondence presented here offers a unique perspective on the eighteenth century from a preeminent American family.

[more]

front cover of Adams Family Correspondence
Adams Family Correspondence
Adams Family
Harvard University Press, 1963

“I cannot O! I cannot be reconcil’d to living as I have done for 3 years past… Will you let me try to soften, if I cannot wholy releave you, from your Burden of Cares and perplexities?” So begins Abigail Adams’s correspondence to her husband in these volumes: a plea to end their long separation, as John Adams represented the United States in Europe while Abigail tended to family and farm in Massachusetts, and passed on to John crucial political information from Congress.

In October 1782, the Adams family was as widely scattered as it would ever be, with young John Quincy Adams in St. Petersburg, John at The Hague, and Abigail in Braintree with her daughter and younger sons. With the summer of 1784, however, Abigail would have her fondest wish, as most of the family reunited to spend nearly a year together in Europe. As the Adams family traveled, and as the children came of age, so their correspondence expanded to include an ever larger and more fascinating range of Cultural topics and international figures. The record of this remarkable expansion, these volumes document John Adams’s diplomatic triumphs, his wife and daughter’s participation in the cosmopolitan scenes of Paris and London, and his son John Quincy’s travels in Europe and America. These pages also welcome Thomas Jefferson, who soon became one of Abigail’s closest friends, into the family correspondence. From the intimacies of the children’s education, sentimental and worldly, to the details of the firm friendship between Abigail and Madame Lafayette, to the grand drama of Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Younger debating in Parliament, the contents of these letters draw an incredibly rich picture of international life in the 1780s and an incomparable portrait of America’s first family of politics and letters.

[more]

front cover of Afonso Costa
Afonso Costa
Portugal
Filipe Ribeiro de Meneses
Haus Publishing, 2010
Portugal’s poor military performance in the First World War, notably in Africa, restricted Afonso Costa's (1871-1937) ability to secure his diplomatic aims which, in any case, were highly unrealistic. Nevertheless, his loyal press in Portugal described him as the ‘leader of the small nations’, and reported his every statement as a major triumph. Afonso Costa’s most important intervention took place in May 1919, when he denounced the Allies' unwillingness to make Germany pay for all the damage she had caused during the conflict; this speech led to a number of newspaper interviews in which Costa restated his position. The final draft of the Treaty was a complete shock to Portuguese public opinion: It effectively spelt the end of Costa’s political career. This book considers the political implications of Portugal’s participation in the First World War and of the ‘defeat’ in Paris. Reconciliation between the rival parties – and between factions within parties – became impossible, as did, as a result, the formation of a stable cabinet.
[more]

logo for Ohio University Press
African Leaders of the Twentieth Century
Biko, Selassie, Lumumba, Sankara
Lindy Wilson
Ohio University Press, 2015
This omnibus edition brings together concise and up-to-date biographies of Steve Biko, Emperor Haile Selassie, Patrice Lumumba, and Thomas Sankara. African Leaders of the Twentieth Century will complement courses in history and political science and serve as a useful collection for the general reader. Steve Biko, by Lindy Wilson Steve Biko inspired a generation of black South Africans to claim their true identity and refuse to be a part of their own oppression. This short biography shows how fundamental he was to the reawakening and transformation of South Africa in the second half of the twentieth century and just how relevant he remains. Emperor Haile Selassie, by Bereket Habte Selassie Emperor Haile Selassie was an iconic figure of the twentieth century, a progressive monarch who ruled Ethiopia from 1916 to 1974. The fascinating story of the emperor¹s life is also the story of modern Ethiopia. Patrice Lumumba, by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja Patrice Lumumba was a leader of the independence struggle in what is today the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Decades after his assassination, Lumumba remains one of the heroes of the twentieth-century Africanindependence movement. Thomas Sankara: An African Revolutionary, by Ernest Harsch Thomas Sankara, often called the African Che Guevara, was president of Burkina Faso, one of the poorest countries in Africa, until his assassination during the military coup that brought down his government. This is the first English-language book to tell the story of Sankara’s life and struggles.
[more]

front cover of Aleksandur Stamboliiski
Aleksandur Stamboliiski
Bulgaria
Richard Crampton
Haus Publishing, 2009
Aleksandur Stamboliiski was one of the most original politicians of the 20th century. His tragedy was that he came to power at the end of the First World War in which Bulgaria had been defeated. It fell to him, therefore, to accept and apply the peace settlement. This created tensions between him and traditional Bulgarian nationalism, tensions which ended with his murder in 1923. The book will examine the origins of this traditional nationalism from the foundation of the Bulgarian state in 1878, and of the agrarian movement which came to represent the social aspirations of the majority of the peasant population. It will also illustrate Stamboliiski's rise to power and examine his ideology. Emphasis will be placed on how this ideology clashed with the monarchy, the military, and the nationalists. Stamboliiski's policies in the Balkan wars and the First World War will be described before the details of the 1919 peace settlement are examined. The implementation of those terms will then be discussed as will the coup of 1923. The legacy of the peace treaty in the inter-war period and of Stamboliiski's image in the years after his downfall will form the final section of the book.
[more]

front cover of America’s Hardscrabble General
America’s Hardscrabble General
Ulysses S. Grant, from Farm Boy to Shiloh
Jack Hurst
Southern Illinois University Press, 2022
How Grant’s humble beginnings shaped his unique military genius

Renowned for his skill, courage, and indomitability during the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant is considered a model for outstanding American generalship. However, unlike most of his fellow officers, Grant came from humble Midwestern beginnings and experienced a number of professional failures before rising to military prominence.
 
Grant grew up on a farm on the Ohio frontier and reluctantly attended West Point, where he finished in the middle of his class. In his early army career, he was often underestimated by his peers despite valiant service. After the Mexican War Grant’s “Hardscrabble” farm outside St. Louis failed, and when he decided to rejoin the U.S. army, he was given the unenviable command of a rowdy volunteer regiment, the 21st Illinois. 
 
How did Grant—an average student, failed farmer, and common man—turn the 21st Illinois into a showcase regiment and become a successful general? In this engaging analysis, Jack Hurst argues that Grant’s military brilliance stemmed not from his West Point education but rather from his roots in America’s lower middle class and its commonsense values. His upbringing in the antebellum rural Midwest undergirded his military skill and helped him develop an innate humility, sense of justice, and ability to focus, leading him to form close relationships with his men. 
 
Through a detailed account of Grant’s early years, from boyhood through the Battle of Shiloh, Hurst explores how Grant’s modest start and experiences in the Mexican War prefigured his greatest military triumphs. Ultimately Grant abandoned the traditional military practice of his time, which relied upon maneuver, and instead focused on fighting. His strategy to always move forward, win or lose, turned even his losses into essential elements of victory and characterized the aggressive, relentless approach that would ultimately win the Civil War and save the Union. 
[more]

front cover of America’s Lawyer-Presidents
America’s Lawyer-Presidents
From Law Office to Oval Office
Norman Gross
Northwestern University Press, 2009

The historic election of Barack Obama was rife with references to Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the greatest lawyer-president, whose legal career spanned 25 years and 5,100 cases. President Obama’s ties to Lincoln are part of a great tradition begun by John Adams, the first lawyer-president, who combined a twenty-year law practice with major contributions to our nation’s founding charters. His son, John Quincy Adams, argued landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases both before and after his presidency, one of eight lawyer-presidents to appear as counsel before the highest court in the land. And Rutherford B. Hayes and Benjamin Harrison were among those lawyer-presidents who handled notable high-profile cases, including sensational murder trials.

These are but a few of the fascinating—yet still largely unknown—stories about America’s lawyer-presidents. Now available in an updated, expanded paperback edition, America’s Lawyer-Presidents sheds light on the legal backgrounds of each of these chief executives and how their experiences as lawyers impacted and shaped their presidencies. Written by historians and presidential scholars and featuring an engaging and image-rich presentation, America’s Lawyer-Presidents provides unique insights into our national leaders and their lives and times, from colonial days to the present.

[more]

front cover of Andrew Johnson And The Negro
Andrew Johnson And The Negro
David Warren Bowen
University of Tennessee Press, 1989

“Bowen has probed the working of Andrew Johnson’s mind. His analysis illuminates the character of East Tennessee’s tailor president and the contradictions—as well as the consistency—of his policies toward slavery and toward blacks.”— LaWanda Cox, author of Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study in Presidential Leadership

Andrew Johnson, who was thrust into the office of presidency by Lincoln’s assassination, described himself as a “friend of the colored man.” Twentieth century historians have assessed Johnson’s racial attitudes differently.

In his revisionist study, David Bowen explores Johnson’s racist bias more deeply than other historians to date, and maintains that racism was, in fact, a prime motivator of his policies as a public official. A slave owner who defended the institution until the Civil War, Jonson accepted emancipation. Once Johnson became president, however, his racial prejudice reasserted itself as a significant influence on his Reconstruction policies.

Bowen’s study deftly analyzes the difficult personality of the seventeenth president and the political influences that molded him. This portrait of a man who, despite his many egalitarian notions, practiced racism, will intrigue historians and readers interested in Civil War and Reconstruction history alike.

The Author: David Warren Bowen, formerly on the staff of The Papers of Andrew Johnson, teaches history at Livingston University

[more]

front cover of Andrew Johnson's Civil War and Reconstruction
Andrew Johnson's Civil War and Reconstruction
Paul Bergeron
University of Tennessee Press, 2011

Few figures in American political history are as reviled as Andrew Johnson, the seventeenth president of the United States. Taking office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, he clashed constantly with Congress during the tumultuous early years of Reconstruction. He opposed federally-mandated black suffrage and the Fourteenth Amendment and vetoed the Freedmen’s Bureau and Civil Rights bills.



In this new book, Paul H. Bergeron, a respected Johnson scholar, brings a new perspective on this often vilified figure. Previous books have judged Johnson out of the context of his times or through a partisan lens. But this volume—based on Bergeron’s work as the editor of The Papers of Andrew Johnson—takes a more balanced approach to Johnson and his career.



Admiring Johnson's unswerving devotion to the Union, Lincoln appointed him as military governor of Tennessee, a post, Bergeron argues, that enhanced Johnson's executive experience and his national stature. While governor, Johnson implemented the emancipation of slaves in the state and laid the foundation for a new civilian government. Bergeron also notes that Johnson developed a close connection with the president which eventually resulted in his vice-presidential candidacy. In many respects, therefore, Johnson's Civil War years served as preparation for his presidency. Bergeron moves beyond simplistic arguments based on Johnson’s racism to place his presidency within the politics of the day. Putting aside earlier analyses of the conflict between Johnson and the Republican Radicals as ideological disputes, Bergeron discusses these battles as a political power struggle. In doing so, he does not deny Johnson’s racism but provides a more nuanced and effective perspective on the issues as Johnson tried to pursue the “politics of the possible.”



Bergeron interprets Johnson as a strong-willed, decisive, fearless, authoritarian leader in the tradition of Andrew Jackson. While never excusing Johnson’s inflexibility and extreme racism, Bergeron makes the case that, in proper context, Johnson can be seen at times as a surprisingly effective commander-in-chief—one whose approach to the problems of reestablishing the Union was defensible and consistent.



With its fresh insight on the man and his times, Andrew Johnson’s Civil War and Reconstruction is indispensable reading for students and scholars of the U.S. presidency and the Civil War and Reconstruction periods.


[more]

front cover of Around the World with LBJ
Around the World with LBJ
My Wild Ride as Air Force One Pilot, White House Aide, and Personal Confidant
By Brigadier General James U. Cross, USAF (retired), with Denise Gamino and Gary Rice
University of Texas Press, 2008

When Lyndon Baines Johnson wanted to go somewhere, there was no stopping him. This dynamic president called for Air Force One as others summon a taxi—at a moment's notice, whatever the hour or the weather. And the man who made sure that LBJ got his ride was General James U. Cross, the president's hand-picked pilot, top military assistant, and personal confidante. One of the few Air Force One pilots to have a position, simultaneously, in the White House, General Cross is also the only member of LBJ's inner circle who has not publicly offered his recollections of the president. In this book, he goes on the record, creating a fascinating, behind-the-scenes portrait of America's complex, often contradictory, always larger-than-life thirty-sixth president.

General Cross tells an engrossing story. In addition to piloting Air Force One around the globe, he served President Johnson in multiple capacities, including directing the Military Office in the White House; managing a secret two-million-dollar presidential emergency fund; supervising the presidential retreat at Camp David, the president's entire transportation fleet, and the presidential bomb shelters; running the White House Mess; hiring White House social aides, including the president's future son-in-law, Charles Robb; and writing condolence letters to the families of soldiers killed in Vietnam. This wide-ranging, around-the-clock access to President Johnson allowed Cross to witness events and share moments that add color and depth to our understanding of America's arguably most demanding and unpredictable president.

[more]

front cover of Asquith
Asquith
Stephen Bates
Haus Publishing, 2006
Asquith's administration laid the foundation of Britain's welfare state, but he was plunged into a major power struggle with the House of Lords. The budget of 1909 was vetoed by the hereditary upper chamber, and in 1910 Asquith called and won two elections on this constitutional issue. The Lords eventually passed the 1911 Parliament Act, ending their veto of financial legislation. Asquith was Prime Minister on the outbreak of World War I, but his government fell in 1916 as a result of the 'Shells Scandal'.
[more]

front cover of At Lincoln's Side
At Lincoln's Side
John Hay's Civil War Correspondence and Selected Writings
Edited by Michael Burlingame
Southern Illinois University Press, 2006

John Hay believed that “real history is told in private letters,” and the more than 220 surviving letters and telegrams from his Civil War days prove that to be true, showing Abraham Lincoln in action: “The Tycoon is in fine whack. I have rarely seen him more serene & busy. He is managing this war, the draft, foreign relations, and planning a reconstruction of the Union, all at once. I never knew with what tyrannous authority he rules the Cabinet, till now. The most important things he decides & there is no cavil.”

Along with Hay’s personal correspondence, Burlingame includes his surviving official letters. Though lacking the “literary brilliance of [Hay’s] personal letters,” Burlingame explains, “they help flesh out the historical record.” Burlingame also includes some of the letters Hay composed for Lincoln’s signature, including the celebrated letter of condolence to the Widow Bixby.

More than an inside glimpse of the Civil War White House, Hay’s surviving correspondence provides a window on the world of nineteenth-century Washington, D.C.

[more]

front cover of Attlee
Attlee
David Howell
Haus Publishing, 2006
Former British Prime Minister best known for the creation of the National Health Service.
[more]

front cover of The Audacity of Hoop
The Audacity of Hoop
Basketball and the Age of Obama
Alexander Wolff
Temple University Press, 2015

While basketball didn’t take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did. In The Audacity of Hoop, celebrated sportswriter Alexander Wolff examines Barack Obama, the person and president, by the light of basketball. This game helped Obama explore his identity, keep a cool head, impress his future wife, and define himself as a candidate. 

Wolff chronicles Obama’s love of the game from age 10, on the campaign trail—where it eventually took on talismanic meaning—and throughout his two terms in office. More than 125 photographs illustrate Obama dribbling, shooting free throws, playing pickup games, cooling off with George Clooney, challenging his special assistant Reggie Love for a rebound, and taking basketball to political meetings. There is also an assessment of Obama’s influence on the NBA, including a dawning political consciousness in the league’s locker rooms. 

Sidebars reveal the evolution of the president’s playing style, “Baracketology”—a not-entirely-scientific art of filling out the commander in chief’s NCAA tournament bracket—and a timeline charts Obama’s personal and professional highlights.

Equal parts biographical sketch, political narrative, and cultural history, The Audacity of Hoop shows how the game became a touchstone in Obama’s exercise of the power of the presidency.  

 
[more]


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter