NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post The Philadelphia InquirerThe Christian Science Monitor St Louis Post Dispatch NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWINNER OF THE CHRISTOPHER AWARDEveryone wants to define the man who signed his name A Lincoln In his lifetime and ever since, friend and foe have taken it upon themselves to characterize Lincoln according to their own label or libel In this magnificent book, Ronald C White, Jr offers a fresh and compelling definition of Lincoln as a man of integrity what today s commentators would call authenticity whose moral compass holds the key to understanding his life Through meticulous research of the newly completed Lincoln Legal Papers, as well as of recently discovered letters and photographs, White provides a portrait of Lincoln s personal, political, and moral evolution White shows us Lincoln as a man who would leave a trail of thoughts in his wake, jotting ideas on scraps of paper and filing them in his top hat or the bottom drawer of his desk a country lawyer who asked questions in order to figure out his own thinking on an issue, as much as to argue the case a hands on commander in chief who, as soldiers and sailors watched in amazement, commandeered a boat and ordered an attack on Confederate shore batteries at the tip of the Virginia peninsula a man who struggled with the immorality of slavery and as president acted publicly and privately to outlaw it forever and finally, a president involved in a religious odyssey who wrote, for his own eyes only, a profound meditation on the will of God in the Civil War that would become the basis of his finest address Most enlightening, the Abraham Lincoln who comes into focus in this stellar narrative is a person of intellectual curiosity, comfortable with ambiguity, unafraid to think anew and act anew A transcendent, sweeping, passionately written biography that greatly expands our knowledge and understanding of its subject, A Lincoln will engage a whole new generation of Americans It is poised to shed a profound light on our greatest president just as America commemorates the bicentennial of his birth


10 thoughts on “A. Lincoln

  1. Matt Matt says:

    Each generation of Americans rightfully demands a new engagement with the past Fresh questions are raised out of contemporary experiences Does Abraham Lincoln deserve the title the Great Emancipator Was Lincoln a racist Did he invent, as some have charged, the authoritarian imperial presidency How did Lincoln reshape the modern role of commander in chief What were Lincoln s religious beliefs How did he connect religion to politics As we peel back each layer of Lincoln s life, these Each generation of Americans rightfully demands a new engagement with the past Fresh questions are raised out of contemporary experiences Does Abraham Lincoln deserve the title the Great Emancipator Was Lincoln a racist Did he invent, as some have charged, the authoritarian imperial presidency How did Lincoln reshape the modern role of commander in chief What were Lincoln s religious beliefs How did he connect religion to politics As we peel back each layer of Lincoln s life, these questions foster onlyquestions Ronald White, A LincolnSome years ago, during the run up to the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln s birth, I started casting about for the ideal book on the greatest president in history That is easier said than done The problem is not one of quantity, but quality As it turned out, finding the right Lincoln bio is like finding the perfect cup of water in a lake It s tough to choose Eventually, and to the detriment of my credit card, I purchased Michael Burlingame s massive two volume, 2,000 page opus on the Illinois rail splitter turned world historical figure The set is physically huge This isn t simply two books These are two huge books that are difficult to read anywhere but the table To demonstrate this fact, I recently had my two Goodreads assistants, Chief Assistant Millie and Sub Assistant Gracie, attempt to hold them Bottom line Tough to hold My Goodreads assistants, Gracie L and Millie R attempt to hold up the two volumes of Michael Burlingame s substantial opus, Abraham Lincoln A LifeBurlingame s Abraham Lincoln A Life is densely packed with just about every twist or turn, every offhand comment or speech, that Lincoln ever encountered or made In the years since my original purchase, I ve made it through about 300 pages Recently, the Civil War bug alit upon me again I decided to return to Lincoln the last bio on him I d read was David Herbert Donald s renowned Lincoln This time, I decided to sacrifice the comprehensiveness promised by Burlingame, for something a littlemanageable and easier to read while lying in bed After some consideration, I struck upon Ronald C White, Jr s A Lincoln At 676 pages of text, this is not exactly a Denny s menu still, in comparison to Burlingame indeed, in comparison to the overstuffed nature of Lincoln s existence it feels rather slim A Lincoln is a cradle to grave biography It starts with Lincoln s birth in Kentucky, to a middling farmer towards whom Lincoln always displayed a curious reticence It ends with his assassination at the hands of actor white supremacist John Wilkes Booth In between are all the touchstones familiar to most working on a keelboat tending store in New Salem reading law serving in the Illinois legislature getting elected to a lone term as U.S Representative losing a Senate bid debating Stephen Douglas emerging as a dark horse Presidential candidate winning the Presidency and finally saving a Nation born some 80 years earlier.Abraham Lincoln in 1860, before he knew exactly what he was getting intoWith a subject this big, and space at a premium, anyone who writes about Lincoln has to choose his or her focal points White develops several themes that he discusses throughout the length of the narrative Foremost, of course, is slavery Lincoln s views on slavery are complicated, with his personal feelings vying with his conception of the powers of the Federal Government under the Constitution On a personal level, Lincoln was always against the institution of slavery If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel, he wrote in 1864 His earliest extant writings bear this out Racial equality is a thornier matter, one that Lincoln played close to his vest buttons Some of his statements on black suffrage and colonization schemes do not fit well with our notion of the Great Emancipator White sifts the evidence, but it s hard to know whether Lincoln made some of his eyebrow raising pronouncements as a sop to political expediency, or whether he actually held these views In any event, by the end of his Presidency, and his life, he had clearly come round to reality that the end of the Civil War required the end of slavery, and therefore the integration of former slaves fully into American life White also spends a great deal of time tracing the role of religion in Lincoln s life Lincoln s writings are infused with God, but Lincoln himself was not a regular churchgoer The debate has always been whether Lincoln believed the things he wrote, which often brim with spirituality and Biblical imagery, or if his allusions to the Almighty were rhetorical flourishes White is of the belief that the former is true, and that Lincoln s faith helped to shape the moral framework of his leadership White also spends a goodly amount of time focusing on Lincoln s writing ability White s textual analysis do a wonderful job of revealing Lincoln s thought processes, of how he felt about a matter It is instructive, for instance, to compare the Emancipation Proclamation written in such a lawyerly fashion that Marx compared it to the mean pettifogging of a legal summons with the Second Inaugural which reframes the Civil War as a crusade to end slavery Lincoln in 1865, one of the last photos of his life By this time, he knew exactly what he d gotten intoThere are tradeoffs, obviously, in biographies as in life White does not spend a lot of time trying to reach any deeper psychological interpretation of his subject He does not delve into Lincoln s melancholy, his blue moods, his tired spot that nothing could reach He also does not dwell much on Lincoln s personal life, specifically his relationship with Mary Todd, a relationship best described as it s complicated One of the things that makes A Lincoln worthwhile is that it stakes out its positions White has concept of Lincoln that he isthan willing to share That doesn t mean he is always entirely convincing in his arguments For example, White draws a portrait of Lincoln as an activist, self taught commander in chief whose interventions furthered the cause True, at times, Lincoln s untrained eye seemed to see the heart of the military situation better than his West Point trained generals At other times, though, he stymied his generals in the Eastern Theater, at least by giving them contradictory orders to both march out and destroy the Confederate army while also remaining in position to protect Washington, D.C His meddling often frustrated his leaders, and not entirely without reason Incidentally, he recognized that capturing Richmond should not be priority one when it came to his own capital, though, he brooked no chances White also lets Lincoln off pretty easy with respect to some of the terrible promotions he extended often politically motivated , which allowed lightweights such as John Pope and Ambrose Burnsides to lead huge armies of men to their woe White s writing style is crisp and without flourishes He is not on par with master biographers like Robert Caro Yet his narrative is well paced and his insights well distributed The book reads very quickly, though in places it feels rushed A Lincoln closes with the President s death in the Petersen House As the president expires, White relates the timeworn tale of Secretary of War Edwin Stanton musing Now he belongs to the Ages As White briefly explains in an endnote, we don t actually know if Stanton spoke that bon mot which is possibly the ultimate historical mic drop He might have said it Or he might have said Now he belongs to the angels Or he might have said nothing at all, and only thought the phrase Now he belongs to the Ages Or he might have said and thought nothing, and then, years later, told Lincoln s biographer former secretary John Hay that he both thought it and said it In any event, it makes no difference The words, the phrase, is perfect There is no better way to describe Lincoln s place in the firmament He belongs to history but also stands outside of history He will exist forever, to be interpreted and reinterpreted by succeeding generations The measureless impact of Lincoln s life, his utter timelessness, cannot be captured by a single book It cannot be captured by two massive books that my children have a hard time lifting At the same time, most of us don t have the luxury of spending all our waking hours reading about the many faces of Lincoln I applied for a Federal grant, to no avail To that end, A Lincoln ranks up there with David Herbert Donald as the standard one volume biography It is a good place to start, as well as being an excellent addition to any proper Lincoln library It is not a good place to finish, because with Lincoln, you can t ever really be finished


  2. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    An excellent one volume biography of Lincoln, written in a clear, elegant style and concentrating on essentials White is particular good on Lincoln the writer I learned a lot from this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in Lincoln.


  3. Elaine Elaine says:

    I am a Lincoln buff and have read myriad biographies of the man, ranging fron his ardent admirers to his worst detractors So, reading yet another one seemed redundant, but I did it anyway, and I m glad I did The first few pages start out with the usual retelling of his humble beginnings, but soon the revelations and insights begin White searched through Lincoln s own notes to himself on every conceivable issue, and bases this new bio on them Lincoln had a lifelong habit of writing down his t I am a Lincoln buff and have read myriad biographies of the man, ranging fron his ardent admirers to his worst detractors So, reading yet another one seemed redundant, but I did it anyway, and I m glad I did The first few pages start out with the usual retelling of his humble beginnings, but soon the revelations and insights begin White searched through Lincoln s own notes to himself on every conceivable issue, and bases this new bio on them Lincoln had a lifelong habit of writing down his thoughts, as well as pros and cons of every issue he was concerned with, stuffing the notes not only in cubbyholes in his desk, but in every nook and cranny, including his hatband Fortunately, after his death those notes were gathered by archivists They are very revealing For one thing, White chronicles Lincoln s religious thinking For another, he puts to rest any notion that Lincoln was a racist in any way As for his suggesting that freed slaves might be amenable to colonization in Africa, we find that this was a passing notion and that he consulted with African American leaders on the issue a very unusual thing to do in the mid 19th century Lincoln also was the first President to invite an African American to the White House Frederick Douglass, and Lincoln steadfastly insisted that all men are created equal applied to Africans as well as White Protestan landowners This book is so well written, I couldn t put it down Even readers who don t usually like non fiction should enjoy this


  4. Louise Louise says:

    Roland C White Jr packs a lot into this book For me the distinctive features were Lincoln s experiences as a young adult, the analysis of his speeches and how he performed his role as Commander in Chief The first half of this 676 page book is Lincoln s 51 years prior to his presidential run meaning that there is a whole book s worth of detail The second half covers how he was nominated for, ran for and performed as President Throughout the book there are well selected B W photos and draw Roland C White Jr packs a lot into this book For me the distinctive features were Lincoln s experiences as a young adult, the analysis of his speeches and how he performed his role as Commander in Chief The first half of this 676 page book is Lincoln s 51 years prior to his presidential run meaning that there is a whole book s worth of detail The second half covers how he was nominated for, ran for and performed as President Throughout the book there are well selected B W photos and drawings that enhance the narrative.The first Lincoln forbear to arrive in the new world came 2 years after the Mayflower Subsequent generations pushed west Lincoln s father, Thomas, moved the family 4 times One of the few things we know of him was that his hatred of slavery influenced his move from Indiana to Illinois Thomas was not close to his son although they cleared land and built cabin houses together Abraham does not seem to be close to his mother either, but had a warm relationship with his step mother.White shows how lifelong patterns were established in Lincoln s childhood With less that a year of schooling and a high value for learning he read everything he could find With few available books, he memorized long passages from the Bible and Shakespeare s plays which later figure in his speeches and documents There are many examples of his honesty from paying his debts when it was difficult to refusing legal fees he felt he did not deserve He seeks out others opinions He researches and prepares He prefers compromise to fighting and abhorred slavery from the day he first saw it.Lincoln had several careers before law He hired out his farming and building skills He clerked in a dry goods store, surveyed, made two cargo delivery trips down the Mississippi he designed and patented a lift for getting boats over shoals and sandbars and he owned a bar In his political life he drew from these experiences and personal relationships with those he met along the way Through all this, he developed an understanding of people and how, to paraphrase Tip O Neill, all politics can be local Some things I better understand from this book The Whig Party who they were and how they disappeared The House Divided Speech Lincoln gave 3 outcomes for a divided house one side wins the other side wins or the house does not stand The marriage while they are still an odd couple to me Mary had a sharp mind and an interest in politics The Team of Rivals Lincoln squeaked by in getting the Republican nomination and then winning the Presidency, he used his appointments to bringconstituencies into his administration Why the war dragged on It seems that Lincoln had a political strategy keep the border states neutral appoint some rival generals but did not have a military strategy Lincoln encouraged generals to make plans for their regions and at times micro managed He clearly needs a military advisor and a chief of staff to deal with McClellan and others Stephen Douglas their lives intertwined from rooming together in early campaigns to the famous debates to the presidential race Almost eerily, Douglas died shortly after Lincoln beat him in the 1860 presidential run Fort Sumter there is detail on the decision to re supply and how Lincoln and his team responded to the subsequent events Lincoln on the cause of the war he took an oath to protect the union and its Constitution He had no such oath on slavery, which he abhorred He tried to end slavery within the confines of the Constitution i.e the government buys the slaves, or stages freedom over a generation These failed, but he believed his Emancipation Proclamation was consistent with the Constitution and his oath Frederick Douglass while they met fewer times than I thought, Lincoln s welcome to him at the war s end is instructive Lincoln was free, too, to greet Douglass, in public, as a friend A Lincoln the title was how he signed his name and from time to time referred to himself in the third person.In the first part of the book, author Ronald C White shows how Lincoln was an improbable, statistical outlied and inexperienced presidential contender but he won Had he not, what would have happened to the proverbial house under Seward, Douglas, Chase or the otherlikely candidates This book shows the majesty of a man from humble beginnings who could cut to the root of a debate, show moral leadership, speak to the elite and the masses and re form a nation The Last Lincolns The Rise Fall of a Great American Familyshows that only a DNA test would tell us if there is one surviving descendant White shows the improbable rise, task and success of Lincoln He came from a log cabin, rose to defend a nation, left a legacy of wisdom in his speeches and left no confirmed descendants He is like a comet that flew across the sky.This book is recommended for all who like a large scale biography Those interested in elocution will be particularly interested in White s analysis of Lincoln s speeches and writing It is accessible for those knowledgeable about Lincoln and those who are not


  5. John John says:

    What I appreciated was White s literary analysis of many of Lincoln s speeches and letters showing how you can trace the evolution of Lincoln s thoughts on the war, the power of the presidency, and slavery Maybe it s just me, but I always had this image of Lincoln coming from out of nowhere to be President The truth is far from that image Lincoln worked hard in his political career and rose up as many do through less prestigious offices.I also had an image of Lincoln being quiet and reserved, What I appreciated was White s literary analysis of many of Lincoln s speeches and letters showing how you can trace the evolution of Lincoln s thoughts on the war, the power of the presidency, and slavery Maybe it s just me, but I always had this image of Lincoln coming from out of nowhere to be President The truth is far from that image Lincoln worked hard in his political career and rose up as many do through less prestigious offices.I also had an image of Lincoln being quiet and reserved, almost unemotional, but again this is incorrect as can be seen in events described by White The one most alive to me is of Lincoln throwing his hat to the ground in frustration at I believe General McClellan s inability to get the Army of the Potomac moving Personally, I think McClellan is possibly the most incompetent figure of the Civil War I know people, well versed in history, who still criticize Lincoln for some of the actions taken during the war, most notably the suspension of habeas corpus and the placement of Grant the Butcher as Commander of the Union Army, and these people still view Lincoln as one of our worst presidents I believe Lincoln was the only person capable of leading the United States through the war Every aspect, either problem and celebration, of his life seems to have perfectly molded him for that position


  6. Colleen Browne Colleen Browne says:

    I have read many very good biographies of Lincoln but the one by White stands out White s expert knowledge of language allows him to analyze Lincoln s in a manner rare in historical writing Although there is not much that is new, this book presents its information in a new and fresh light and given the ignorance about Lincoln that persists in this country, should be read widely.


  7. Gina Gina says:

    I thought this was an excellent biography of Lincoln I loved that it didn t seem in any way salacious It didn t dwell on his marriage or depression or relationships with his parents It did dwell on his writings and speeches and spent time discussing his rhetoric, poetry, and influences, and this was so muchappealing I thought White handled the civil war amazingly well I am no history buff and although I needed reminding of many of the important battles and their significance, I felt r I thought this was an excellent biography of Lincoln I loved that it didn t seem in any way salacious It didn t dwell on his marriage or depression or relationships with his parents It did dwell on his writings and speeches and spent time discussing his rhetoric, poetry, and influences, and this was so muchappealing I thought White handled the civil war amazingly well I am no history buff and although I needed reminding of many of the important battles and their significance, I felt really comfortable following the flow of the war I hadn t realized that Lincoln had essentially no time in office before the war began Between his election and inauguration, states were already seceding his election was really the final straw I was also alarmed at how current and relevant the pre civil war tension felt I left this book with a much deeper appreciation and love for Lincoln His general style and approach to life felt like something I could relate to, or at least aspire to His measured and thoughtful manner when handling a problem was criticized much of the time, but in retrospect it worked so well for him and our country I was also amazed by how charismatic, personable, and funny he was And finally I was struck by how unpopular he and many of his decisions were at the time Sometimes you just can t judge a president without some hindsight, and that is worth remembering


  8. Brian Brian says:

    Ugh I don t know why this got recommended so highly In fact, I don t know why White wrote this book at all, since it adds almost nothing to Lincoln scholarship It was just astonishing to see entire topics go unmentioned in this 600 page doorstop a book that was billed as the authoritative Lincoln of our time.Interested in the debate over Lincoln s depression How about his marriage, or his hetero a homo sexuality Or perhaps his management of foreign policy and Reconstruction during the Ugh I don t know why this got recommended so highly In fact, I don t know why White wrote this book at all, since it adds almost nothing to Lincoln scholarship It was just astonishing to see entire topics go unmentioned in this 600 page doorstop a book that was billed as the authoritative Lincoln of our time.Interested in the debate over Lincoln s depression How about his marriage, or his hetero a homo sexuality Or perhaps his management of foreign policy and Reconstruction during the war Well, you ll still be interested after reading this book, because White manages to duck these issues completely This book fails as serious historical analysis Unfortunately for White it also fails as narrative history, and as hagiography hard as he tries The reason is simple as a writer, White is utterly outclassed by his subject Lincoln s own speeches and letters tell his story far better than White can, and in aengaging, authentically American voice Great books in the last few decades have enriched our understanding of important dimensions of Lincoln s life Doris Kearns Goodwin on the cabinet, James Macpherson on the war, Garry Wills on rhetoric But White s A Lincoln isn t one of them


  9. Chad Sayban Chad Sayban says:

    In so many ways, I really enjoyed this biography of Abraham Lincoln I learned a great deal about his upbringing, the challenges he had early in his life and the number of choices he had to make and sometimes reverse before becoming the savior of the Union A Lincoln also shined a spotlight on the conditions of the American Midwest in the middle of the nineteenth century as the pressures of an expanding country ran into the pull of slavery This biography does an outstanding job of portrayi In so many ways, I really enjoyed this biography of Abraham Lincoln I learned a great deal about his upbringing, the challenges he had early in his life and the number of choices he had to make and sometimes reverse before becoming the savior of the Union A Lincoln also shined a spotlight on the conditions of the American Midwest in the middle of the nineteenth century as the pressures of an expanding country ran into the pull of slavery This biography does an outstanding job of portraying America in the leadup to the Civil War While there is so much to applaud with A Lincoln, there are shortcomings as well White has a propensity to linger on small points for far too long and then slip right past major points barely an acknowledgement These are minor quibbles The real disappointment was the way White cruised right over the final months of Lincoln s life, barely mentioned his assassination and completely ignored any discussion of the impact of his life on the years and decades that came after As much as I learned from A Lincoln, I have to admit I was a bit disappointed with it in places, especially at the end It may be that other presidential biographies have set a bar to high, it is difficult to achieve But for Honest Abe, that bar is certainly worth exceeding Still, despite its shortcomings, A Lincoln is still worth spending time with


  10. Frank Theising Frank Theising says:

    In my journey of reading at least one biography of every President, I selected this one because it was generally considered the best single volume biography of Lincoln It was easy to read and a solid work of history While it has some good analysis in some areas including Lincoln s writing style, his views on religion, and his evolving views on how to address slavery , the work just felt lacking in personality It seemedlike a work of history than biography While we learn many of Lincol In my journey of reading at least one biography of every President, I selected this one because it was generally considered the best single volume biography of Lincoln It was easy to read and a solid work of history While it has some good analysis in some areas including Lincoln s writing style, his views on religion, and his evolving views on how to address slavery , the work just felt lacking in personality It seemedlike a work of history than biography While we learn many of Lincoln s views, you never really feel like you know the man, his moods, or his personality Additionally, the book abruptly ends without any sort of discussion on his legacy or the implications his death had on the course of Reconstruction in the hands of his chosen VP Andrew Johnson Overall, definitely well worth the read, but there is probably a reason most of the best biographies are multi volume affairs 3 Stars.What follows are my notes on the book Family immigrated to MA in 1600s Over generations, they moved to NJ, VA, KY, IN After land disputes in KY, they moved to IN and purchased 40 acres.His earliest memories were of church and helping on the farm He prized education and took every opportunity to read His mother died at age 34 from sickness His father traveled to KY to find a new wife and mother for his children He married Sarah Johnston, a widowed mother of three, who proved an amazing mother to young Abe.He worked on ferrying passengers on off steamships heading up the river In 1830 this family moved further west to IL In 1831, Lincoln set out on his own, spending the next 6 years in New Salem He worked as a clerk in a store.After a year, he ran for the state assembly His ambitions were put on hold because of the Blackhawk War, when he served as captain of a local regiment Lincoln failed to win a seat for Sangamon County After a failed venture of opening his own store, he served as postmaster, then as a surveyor Two years after his first attempt, he was elected to the state legislature He studied law and became an anti Jackson Whig.He took an early stand against slavery in the IL Assembly The state capitol s move to Springfield proved fortuitous for Lincoln With his law license, he became the junior partner to an establish lawyer in the capitol He traveled the state as part of the judicial circuit Lincoln proved a good campaign speaker, stumping for the first Whig President W.H Harrison.Ann Rutledge died before they could be married Other relationships fell thru due to his social awkwardness Mary Todd was an educated young woman from an aristocratic Lexington, KY family In Springfield she fell into a social circle with the well to do The rugged man and refined lady shared a mutual interest in politics He had a surprise wedding with Mary Todd After four terms in the legislature, he ran for the House of Representative in the new IL 7th district He fell short of the Whig nomination but became the chair of the convention, gaining much prominence.First child Robert born in 1843 He achieved prominence arguing cases before the IL Supreme Court He was saddened by Henry Clay s loss to Polk in the 1844 presidential election A third party, anti slavery candidate played spoiler, solidifying Lincoln s opinion that abolitionists would rather be right than win.During his run for the 7th district in 1846, Polk declared war on Mexico Lincoln defeated his opponent, however he had to wait 16 months before being seated in Congress The freshman challenged Polk s assertion that the Mexico was the aggressor He supported the troops, always voting to supply them, but his rhetoric against the president was considered treasonous back home.Pragmatic he supported hero Zachary Taylor over Henry Clay for the Whig domination When Taylor won the presidency, Lincoln was weakened at home when his petitions for patronage weren t selected His unsuccessful congressional career over, he returned to being a lawyer on the 8th circuit.Mary felt abandoned during their long absences Lincoln s idol Clay died 3 years after he left office 5 years after leaving office, the Kansas Nebraska Act passed, enflaming both Southerners and abolitionists and contributing to the demise of Whig party.Stephen Douglas, and ambitious politician and one of the principal authors of the Kansas Nebraska Act, toured Illinois to defend it against hostile crowds Lincoln stepped into challenge Douglas and his characterization of the bill as an abandonment of the Compromise of 1850 The Lincoln Douglas debates ensured, catapulting Lincoln to prominence.In 1854, he won a seat in the state legislature but declined because it would ve prohibited him from running for Senate He subsequently lost his bid for the Senate and shifted his supporters to an anti Nebraska Democrat candidate He represented the booming railroads in his legal practice.He remained an outspoken Whig as the party crumbled around him, hesitant to associate with the radically abolitionist Republicans He did give the closing address at the IL Republican convention He had separated himself from his peers with the greater vision for the country, praising the past but also laying out hope for a future Received votes at the Rep Convention of 1856 Strongly supported the eventual nominee Fremont over Dem James Buchanan, the US ambassador to England untainted by the Bleeding Kansas controversy.Unlike other firebrands, he offered a sober, thoughtful response to both the Dredd Scott case and Douglas arguments for it Today, Douglas is viewed as littlethan a foil for Lincoln But in context, he was a man of greater prominence When Dems won the legislature in 1859, they selected the senator ending Lincoln s run Within weeks, he was touted as a presidential candidate of the fractious Republican Party He encouraged OH gov Salmon Chase to avoid any provocative planks like trying to repeal the fugitive slave law that would harm the party in election This was the beginning of his national party leadership.Lincoln was nominated on the third ballot defeating Seward and Chase In the national election there were four major candidates With the Dems divided between Breckenridge and Douglas, he swept the north and won, but with 39% of the popular vote Ominously, the Republicans did not win either the House or Senate Isolated in Springfield, he was blind to the growing fervor for succession.7 states seceded before his inauguration Rather than surround himself with yes men, his cabinet was balanced 4 4 with former Whigs and Democrats, many of them the most able bodied men of his age After weeks of indecision, Lincoln went against the advice of his cabinet resupplied Fort Sumter 35 days into his term, the fort was attacked.He needed to keep the Border States on his side He also needed to move quickly before war fever died out, but generals wanted a slow squeeze Anaconda Plan He thought McDowell would be his man of action The alarming defeat at Bull Run followed Lincoln would take a muchactive role than any president before him in the military conduct of war He changed generals, summoning McClellan from WV.He faced a steep learning curve on military affairs but was used to being self taught and dived in to understand strategy and naval affairs Generals didn t appreciate his active role and encroachment into their sphere.Worried over loss of Border States, he respected KY s neutrality and won the state to his side MO provedfrustrating Fremont appointed over the West but overstepped his bounds by freeing slaves of rebels Lincoln nullified his proclamation, removed him, and faced scrutiny in the northern press Still bound by the Constitution, and concerned such actions would push Border States MD, DE, KY, MO to the Confederacy Growing frustration with the young Napoleon McClellan and his delays McClellan despised Lincoln and the rest of his Cabinet 1861 ended with growing frustration on the lack of aggressive military action McClellan was down with typhoid fever and calls for action in the West were equally stalled by General Halleck.He replaced the Sec of War with War Dem Edwin Stanton He proved an active force and their relationship would be one of the most intriguing of the war Lincoln issued General Order 1 commanding McClellan to attack by 22 Feb 1862 McClellan offered his own plan which Lincoln reluctantly deferred to Grant scored his first big victories in the West.His son Willie died Mary devastated but Abe focused on his duties McClellan still hadn t executed his plan Many wondered if he was a Confederate sympathizer Lincoln didn t replace him but did reorganize the Army McClellan continued to overestimate his opponent Lincoln split the Army, leaving McClellan over the Potomac but giving the West to Halleck and TN WV to Fremont.Lincoln pushed the idea of compensated emancipation and colonization of Liberia or Haiti When that went nowhere, he considered adrastic proclamation out of character for him His cabinet was flabbergasted when they got a draft Seward recommended he wait till after victory to make it, so as not to appear desperate He replaced McClellan with Halleck and placed the new Army of Virginia under General Pope.Lincoln understood the critical importance of public opinion and was a newspaper junkie At the second Battle of Bull Run, Pope attacked and thought he had Jackson on the run but McClellan, who was supposed to reinforce Pope, refused to move and helpless Halleck deferred to him Jackson and Longstreet whipped Pope Still Lincoln retained McClellan.He called 5 black leaders to the White House to propose a colonization project in South America all the while waiting for the opportunity to give his emancipation proclamation.Lee invaded MD to a colder reception that expected McClellan obtained a copy of Lee s orders but was slow in acting Lee realized this, and dug in Despite his 2 1 advantage in manpower, McClellan couldn t push Lee back at Antietam, one of the bloodiest battles of the war.Though not decisive, the Rebels were driven out of the North and Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation He had now changed the purpose of the war from restoring the Union to creating a new Union without slavery Radical Republicans criticized this wartime measure as insufficient Democrats accused him of being a dictator Days after the midterm elections, Lincoln finally relieved McClellan and installed Ambrose Burnside.By 1862 he openly stated slavery was cause of the war yet still sought peaceful means to its end, including constitutional amendments for compensated emancipation or colonization.With superior numbers, Burnside attacked Lee at Fredericksburg Rather than try to flank, Burnside went for a frontal assault and suffered 13,000 casualties in a disastrous defeat Burnside took responsibility and resigned Lincoln did not except his resignation and gave him another chance After the Army embarrassingly retreated up the Rappahannock after getting bogged down in mud, Lincoln relieved Burnside and replaced him with Joseph Hooker The demoralized and malnourished army resented this change of command.Grant s string of victories led to critical correspondence to the president from jealous rivals Lincoln was slow to pick up on this Army rivalry Lincoln was impressed with Grant s humility, his willingness to attack, and the fact that he never asked for reinforcements Grant boldly attacked into the interior of MS, defeating a large army by attacking it piecemeal, capturing Jackson, and then moving on to Vicksburg.Fighting Joe Hooker spoke of attack, but like his predecessors was slow to act At Chancellorsville despite having every advantage in manpower and resources, Lee and Jackson defeated him Lincoln was despondent.He replaced Hooker with Meade Lee invaded PA and Lincoln alone saw it as an opportunity Meade failed to follow up Gettysburg and destroy Lee Lincoln wrote a blistering letter arguing that this failure prolonged the war He never sent the letter Grant captured Vicksburg.After Rosecrans defeat at Chickamauga, Lincoln put Grant in command of Ohio, Cumberland, and Tennessee.Lincoln surprised his cabinet by agreeing to speak at the dedication of the new national soldier s cemetery at Gettysburg After the principal speaker s lengthy address, hiss succinct speech proved a perfect little gem.Grant punched into TN, opening the door for the heart of the confederacy With the growing string of successes in the West, squabbling over what Reconstruction should look like ensued Lincoln s own thinking evolved dramatically At the outset he had no intention of abolishing slavery, now following the Emancipation Proclamation, abolishing slavery would be a prerequisite for readmission to the Union.In Grant, Lincoln finally found a general who shared his vision Grant attacked on five fronts not allowing the South to shift forces against disjointed attacks Even after devastating losses in the Battle of the Wilderness, Grant did not turn back but pressed forward As casualties mounted, the public turned against Grant but Lincoln did not.Lincoln accepted the resignation of Salmon Chase His prospects for reelection were dim The Dems elected McClellan, trying to bring together war and peace Democrats If the Democrats won, the North would ve sued for peace, the Confederacy would have survived, and slavery would ve continued Sherman captured Atlanta, changing everything Lincoln would win in a landslide.Lincoln had the opportunity to appoint a new Chief Justice The lawyer in him weighed the decision thoughtfully, knowing that the Emancipation Proclamation could easily come up for judicial review Despite Chase s backstabbing, his views on emancipation and anti slavery amendment were known and Lincoln chose him.Lincoln worried about Sherman s march to the sea After it was a colossal success, he wrote congratulating him and giving him full credit.Lincoln briefly explored peace talks but those proved pointless Meanwhile Sherman continued to wreak havoc in the South and Grant s siege slowly closed the noose on Lee Unconditional Surrender Grant offered a generous peace with Lincoln s blessing at Appomattox.His second inaugural, often considered his best speech, was filled with biblical quotes and imagery It shows how deep his inner thought life was and was considered a sacred effort by Fredrick Douglas.He desired reconciliation after the victory was won and wanted get the Southerners back to their farms Lincoln visited Richmond at risk to his own life Unsure of his own thoughts on Black suffrage, Lincoln stated that black soldiers and really intelligent blacks should be given the right to vote.Shot in head by Booth at Ford s Theater Died Apr 15, 1865 What might have been in his second term