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Lincoln on Lincoln

Lincoln on Lincoln

Selected and Edited by Paul M. Zall
Copyright Date: 1999
Pages: 216
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  • Book Info
    Lincoln on Lincoln
    Book Description:

    " Though Abraham Lincoln has been the subject of numerous biographies, his personality remains an enigma. During his lifetime, Lincoln prepared two sketches of his life for the 1860 presidential race. These brief campaign portraits serve as the core around which Paul Zall weaves extracts from correspondence, speeches, and interviews to produce an in-depth biography. Lincoln's writing about himself offers a window into the soul and mind of one of America's greatest president. His words reveal an emotional evolution typically submerged in political biographies. Lincoln on Lincoln shows a man struggling to reconcile personal ambition and civic virtue, conscience and Constitution, and ultimately the will of God and the will of the people. Zall frames Lincoln's words with his own illuminating commentary, providing a continuous, compelling narrative. Beginning with Lincoln's thoughts on his parents, the story moves though his youth and early successes and failures in law and politics, and culminates in his clashes and conflicts--internal as well as external--as president of a divided country. Through his writings, Lincoln said much more about himself than is commonly recognized, and Zall uses this material to create a unique portrait of this pivotal figure.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-2802-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Some Important Dates
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-4)

    This book came about in trying to understand what Lincoln was really like. He leads in every twentieth-century poll of presidential greatness. He is perennially subjected to biographies for all ages. Yet his personality remains one of the nation’s unsolved mysteries. He himself composed two biographical sketches to be used for the 1860 presidential campaign, so with these as matrix I have interwoven extracts from correspondence, speeches, interviews, and reliable reports to provide a tapestry of his life in his own words.

    He was not the kind of person to bare his soul in public or in private. “Even, between...

  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. 5-6)
  7. 1 Surviving the Frontier 1809–1830
    (pp. 7-20)

    I was born February 12, 1809 in Hardin County, Kentucky.¹ My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families—second families, perhaps I should say. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 2, where, a year or two later, he was killed by indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest.

    The story of his death, and of Uncle Mordecai killing one of the Indians, is the legend more strongly than others imprinted upon my mind and memory.²

    Two young sons,...

  8. 2 Finding a New Life in New Salem 1831–1837
    (pp. 21-34)

    An adventurer from Kentucky, Denton Offutt promised cousin John Hanks, stepbrother John Johnston, and Lincoln 50 cents a day and 60 dollars to trade a flat-boat load of pork, corn, and live hogs down to New Orleans. Offutt came from a respected Kentucky family but somehow had acquired a reputation as inept and shifty (“always had his eyes open to the main chance”) (Thomas,New Salem, 43).

    They found Offutt at Springfield, but learned from him that he had failed in getting a boat at Beardstown. This lead to their hiring themselves to him at $12 per month, each; and...

  9. 3 Seeking a Fortune in Springfield 1837–1844
    (pp. 35-68)

    On April 15, 1837 removed to Springfield, and commenced the practice, his old friend, Stuart taking him into partnership.¹

    He and Stuart were “boon companions,” eating and sleeping together in the same boarding house. Both active supporters of Henry Clay, they served on the same assembly committees. They later split on the slavery issue. But meanwhile, Stuart left the routine practice to Lincoln while he played Whig leader. In the legislature, Lincoln said little the first year but, a good committeeman, made many friends, a valuable asset in moving the capital to Springfield, his home until leaving for Washington. Approaching...

  10. 4 Making His Way with Wit and Wisdom 1845–1852
    (pp. 69-88)

    I never was much interested in the Texas question. I never could see much good to come of annexation; inasmuch, as they were already a free republican people on our own model; on the other hand, I never could very clearly see how the annexation would augment the evil of slavery. It always seemed to me that slaves would be taken there in about equal numbers, with or without annexation. And if moreweretaken because of annexation, still there would be just so many the fewer left, where they were taken from. It is possibly true, to some extent,...

  11. 5 Stumping the State and the Nation 1854–1860
    (pp. 89-114)

    In 1854, his profession had almost superseded the thought of politics in his mind, when the repeal of the Missouri compromise aroused him as he had never been before.

    In the autumn of that year he took the stump with no broader practical aim or object than to secure, if possible, the re-election of Hon Richard Yates to congress. His speeches at once attracted a more marked attention than they had ever before done. As the canvass proceeded, he was drawn to different parts of the state, outside of Mr. Yates’ district. He did not abandon the law but gave...

  12. 6 Preserving, Protecting, Defending 1860–1863
    (pp. 115-144)

    “It was just after my election in 1860, when the news had been coming in thick and fast all day, and there had been a great ‘Hurrah, boys!’ so that I was all tired out, and went home to rest, throwing myself down on a lounge in my chamber. Opposite where I lay was a bureau, with a swinging-glass upon it and, looking in that glass, I saw myself reflected, nearly at full length; but my face, I noticed, hadtwoseparate and distinct images, the tip of the nose of one being about three inches from the tip of...

  13. 7 Making Peace, All Passion Spent 1863–1865
    (pp. 145-174)

    You dislike the emancipation proclamation; and, perhaps, would have it retracted. You say it is unconstitutional. I think differently. I think the Constitution invests its Commander-in-Chief, with the laws of war in time of war. The most that can be said, if so much, is that slaves are property. Is there—has there ever been—any question that, by the law of war, property both of enemies and friends, may be taken when needed? And it is needed whenever taking it helps us, or hurts the enemy. Armies, the world over, destroy enemies property when they can reach it and...

  14. Notes
    (pp. 175-182)
  15. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 183-190)
  16. Index
    (pp. 191-199)