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Abraham Lincoln Art Prints
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Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Goodwin makes the case for Lincoln's political genius by
examining his relationships with three men he selected for his
cabinet, all of whom were opponents for the Republican
nomination in 1860: William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, and
Edward Bates. These men, all accomplished, nationally known, and
presidential, originally disdained Lincoln for his backwoods
upbringing and lack of experience, and were shocked and
humiliated at losing to this relatively obscure Illinois lawyer.
Yet Lincoln not only convinced them to join his
administration--Seward as secretary of state, Chase as secretary
of the treasury, and Bates as attorney general--he ultimately
gained their admiration and respect as well. How he soothed
egos, turned rivals into allies, and dealt with many challenges
to his leadership, all for the sake of the greater good, is
largely what Goodwin's fine book is about.
The Gettysburg Gospel: The Lincoln Speech That Nobody Knows
The Civil War: A Narrative (3 Volume Set)
Lincoln on Leadership: Executive Strategies for Tough Times
Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography
Abraham Lincoln Books
Abraham Lincoln Biography
Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12, 1809, to Thomas Lincoln
and Nancy Hanks Lincoln, two uneducated farmers. Lincoln was
born in a one-room log cabin on the 348 acre (1.4 km²) Sinking
Spring Farm, in Nolin Creek, three miles (5 km) south of
Hodgenville, in southeast Hardin County, Kentucky (now part of
LaRue County), an area which, at that time, was considered the
"frontier." The name Abraham was chosen to commemorate his
grandfather, who was killed in an American Indian raid in 1786.
Thomas Lincoln was a
respected and relatively affluent citizen of the Kentucky back
country. He had purchased Sinking Spring Farm in December 1808
for $200 cash and assumption of a debt. The family belonged to a
Baptist church that had seceded from a larger church over the
issue of slavery.
Lincoln began his political
career in 1832, at age 23, with an unsuccessful campaign for the
Illinois General Assembly, as a member of the Whig Party. He ran
eighth in a field of 13 candidates. The centerpiece of his
platform was the undertaking of navigational improvements on the
Sangamon River. He believed that this would attract steamboat
traffic, which would allow the sparsely populated, poorer areas
along the river to flourish.
He was elected captain of an Illinois militia company drawn from
New Salem during the Black Hawk War, and later wrote that he had
not had "any such success in life which gave him so much
satisfaction." Though he never saw combat, Lincoln did assist in
burying the dead from the Battle of Stillman's Run the day after
Major Isaiah Stillman's troops fled the field of battle.
For several months, Lincoln ran a small store in New Salem,
selling tea, coffee, sugar, salt, blue calico, brown muslin,
straw hats and whiskey. Later, he found work as village
postmaster and as a surveyor.
In 1834, he won election to the state legislature, and after
coming across the Commentaries on the Laws of England, began to
teach himself law. Admitted to the bar in 1837, he moved to
Springfield, Illinois, that same year and began to practice law
with John T. Stuart. With a reputation as a formidable adversary
during cross-examinations and in his closing arguments, Lincoln
became one of the most respected and successful lawyers in
Illinois and grew steadily more prosperous.
He served four successive terms in the Illinois House of
Representatives as a representative from Sangamon County, and
became a leader of the Illinois Whig party. In 1837, he made his
first protest against slavery in the Illinois House, stating
that the institution was "founded on both injustice and bad
On November 4, 1842 Lincoln
married Mary Todd, daughter of a prominent slave-owning family
from Kentucky. The couple had four sons:
Robert Todd Lincoln (August 1 1843 - July 26 1926): born in
Springfield, Illinois, and died in Manchester, Vermont.
Edward Baker Lincoln (March 10 1846 - February 1 1850): born and
died in Springfield.
William Wallace Lincoln (December 21 1850 - February 20 1862):
born in Springfield and died in Washington, D.C..
Thomas "Tad" Lincoln (April 4 1853 - July 16 1871): born in
Springfield and died in Chicago.
Only Robert survived into adulthood. Lincoln greatly admired the
study of science in the elite schools of New England and sent
him to Phillips Exeter Academy and Harvard College.
A staunch Whig and fervent admirer of party leader Henry Clay,
Lincoln was elected to a term in the U.S. House of
Representatives in 1846.
Lincoln left politics for a
while, but Lincoln returned to politics in response to the
Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854), which expressly repealed the limits
on slavery's extent as determined by the Missouri Compromise
(1820). Illinois Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, the most powerful
man in the Senate, proposed popular sovereignty as the solution
to the slavery impasse, and incorporated it into the
Kansas-Nebraska Act. Douglas argued that in a democracy the
people should have the right to decide whether or not to allow
slavery in their territory, rather than have such a decision
imposed on them by Congress.
In a speech against the act,
on October 16, 1854, delivered in Peoria, Lincoln first stood
out among the other free soil orators of the day:
“ The Act has a declared indifference, but as I must think,
covert real zeal for the spread of slavery, I cannot but hate
it. I hate it because of the monstrous injustice of slavery
itself. I hate it because it deprives our republican example of
its just influence in the world—enables the enemies of free
institutions, with plausibility, to taunt us as
hypocrites—causes the real friends of freedom to doubt our
sincerity, and especially because it forces so many really good
men amongst ourselves into an open war with the very fundamental
principles of civil liberty—criticizing the Declaration of
Independence, and insisting that there is no right principle of
action but self-interest.
Entering the presidential nomination process as a distinct
underdog, Lincoln was eventually chosen as the Republican
candidate for the 1860 election for several reasons. His
expressed views on slavery were seen as more moderate than those
of rivals William H. Seward and Salmon P. Chase. His "Western"
origins also appealed to the newer states: other contenders,
especially those with more governmental experience, had acquired
enemies within the party and were weak in the critical western
states, while Lincoln was perceived as a moderate who could win
the West. Most Republicans agreed with Lincoln that the North
was the aggrieved party as the Slave Power tightened its grasp
on the national government. Yet despite his Southern connections
(his in-laws owned slaves), Lincoln misunderstood the depth of
the revolution underway in the South and the emergence of
Southern nationalism. Throughout the 1850s he denied that there
would ever be a civil war, and his supporters repeatedly
rejected claims that his election would incite secession.
On November 6, 1860, Lincoln was elected as the 16th President
of the United States, beating Democrat Stephen A. Douglas, John
C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats, and John Bell of the
new Constitutional Union Party. He was the first Republican
president, winning entirely on the strength of his support in
the North: he was not even on the ballot in nine states in the
South, and won only 2 of 996 counties in the other Southern
states. Lincoln gained 1,865,908 votes (39.9% of the total), for
180 electoral votes; Douglas, 1,380,202 (29.5%) for 12 electoral
votes; Breckenridge, 848,019 (18.1%) for 72 electoral votes; and
Bell, 590,901 (12.5%) for 39 electoral votes. There were fusion
tickets in some states, but even if his opponents had combined
in every state, Lincoln had a majority vote in all but two of
the states in which he won the electoral votes and would still
have won the electoral college and the election.
As Lincoln's election became more likely, secessionists made it
clear that their states would leave the Union. South Carolina
took the lead, followed by six other cotton-growing states in
the deep South. The upper South (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia,
North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arkansas)
listened to and rejected the secessionist appeal. They decided
to stay in the Union, though they warned Lincoln that they would
not support an invasion through their territory. The seven
Confederate states seceded before Lincoln took office, declaring
themselves to be a new nation, the Confederate States of
America. President Buchanan and President-elect Lincoln refused
to recognize the Confederacy.
President-elect Lincoln evaded possible assassins in Baltimore,
and on February 23, 1861, arrived in disguise in Washington,
D.C. At his inauguration on March 4, 1861, the German American
Turners formed Lincoln's bodyguard; and a sizable garrison of
federal troops was also present, ready to protect the capital
from Confederate invasion and local insurrection.
Photograph showing the March 4, 1861, inauguration of Abraham
Lincoln in front of U.S. Capitol BuildingIn his First Inaugural
Address, Lincoln declared, "I hold that in contemplation of
universal law and of the Constitution the Union of these States
is perpetual. Perpetuity is implied, if not expressed, in the
fundamental law of all national governments," arguing further
that the purpose of the United States Constitution was "to form
a more perfect union" than the Articles of Confederation which
were explicitly perpetual, thus the Constitution too was
perpetual. He asked rhetorically that even were the Constitution
a simple contract, would it not require the agreement of all
parties to rescind it?
Also in his inaugural address, in a final attempt to reunite the
states and prevent the looming war, Lincoln supported the
pending Corwin Amendment to the Constitution, which had already
passed Congress. This amendment, which explicitly protected
slavery in those states in which it existed, was designed to
appeal not to the Confederacy but to the critical border states.
At the same time, Lincoln adamantly opposed the Crittenden
Compromise, which would have permitted slavery in the
territories. Despite support for the Crittenden compromise among
some prominent Republicans (including William Seward), Lincoln
denounced it saying that it "would amount to a perpetual
covenant of war against every people, tribe, and state owning a
foot of land between here and Tierra del Fuego."
By the time Lincoln took office, the Confederacy was an
established fact, and no leaders of the insurrection proposed
rejoining the Union on any terms. No compromise was found
because a compromise was deemed virtually impossible. Lincoln
might have allowed the southern states to secede, and some
Republicans recommended that. However, conservative Democratic
nationalists, such as Jeremiah S. Black, Joseph Holt, and Edwin
M. Stanton had taken control of Buchanan's cabinet around
January 1, 1861, and refused to accept secession. Lincoln and
nearly every Republican leader adopted this position by March
1861: the Union could not be dismantled. However, as a strict
follower of the constitution, Lincoln refused to take any action
against the South unless the Unionists themselves were attacked
first. This finally happened in April 1861.
Historian Allan Nevins argues that Lincoln made three
miscalculations in believing that he could preserve the Union,
hold government property, and still avoid war. He "temporarily
underrated the gravity of the crisis", overestimated the
strength of Unionist sentiment in the South and border states,
and misunderstood the conditional support of Unionists in the
Fighting begins: 1861–1862
Main article: American Civil War
In April 1861, after Union troops at Fort Sumter were fired upon
and forced to surrender, Lincoln called on the governors of
every state to send detachments totaling 75,000 troops to
recapture forts, protect the capital, and "preserve the Union,"
which in his view still existed intact despite the actions of
the seceding states. Virginia, which had repeatedly warned
Lincoln that it would not allow an invasion of its territory or
join an attack on another state, responded by seceding, along
with North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas.
The slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, Maryland, and Delaware
did not secede, and Lincoln urgently negotiated with state
leaders there, promising not to interfere with slavery. After
the fighting started, he had rebel leaders arrested in all the
border areas and held in military prisons without trial. Over
18,000 were arrested, though none were executed. One, Clement
Vallandingham, was exiled; but all of the remainder were
released, usually after two or three months (see: Ex parte
Main articles: Abraham Lincoln on slavery and Emancipation
Lincoln met with his cabinet for the first reading of the
Emancipation Proclamation draft on July 22, 1862. L-R: Edwin M.
Stanton, Salmon P. Chase, Abraham Lincoln, Gideon Welles, Caleb
B. Smith, William H. Seward, Montgomery Blair and Edward BatesIn
July 1862, Congress moved to free the slaves by passing the
Second Confiscation Act. The goal was to weaken the rebellion,
which was led and controlled by slave owners. While it did not
abolish the legal institution of slavery (the Thirteenth
Amendment did that), the Act showed that Lincoln had the support
of Congress in liberating slaves owned by rebels. This new law
was implemented with Lincoln's "Emancipation Proclamation."
Lincoln is well known for ending slavery in the United States.
In 1861 – 1862, however, he made it clear that the North was
fighting the war to preserve the Union, not to abolish slavery.
Freeing the slaves became, in late 1862, a war measure to weaken
the rebellion by destroying the economic base of its leadership
class. Abolitionists criticized Lincoln for his sluggishness
over slavery per ses, but on August 22, 1862, Lincoln explained:
“ I would save the Union. I would save it the shortest way
under the Constitution. The sooner the national authority can be
restored; the nearer the Union will be "the Union as it was."
... My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union,
and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save
the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I
could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I
could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would
also do that. ”
The Emancipation Proclamation, announced on September 22 and put
into effect on January 1, 1863, freed slaves in territories not
under Union control. As Union armies advanced south, more slaves
were liberated until all of them in Confederate hands (over
three million) were freed. Lincoln later said: "I never, in my
life, felt more certain that I was doing right, than I do in
signing this paper." The proclamation made the abolition of
slavery in the rebel states an official war goal. Lincoln then
threw his energies into passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to
permanently abolish slavery throughout the nation.
On September 23 and September 24, 1862, thirteen northern
governors met in Altoona, Pennsylvania, at the Loyal War
Governors' Conference to discuss the Proclamation and Union war
effort. In the end, the state executives fully supported the
president's Proclamation and also suggested the removal of
General George B. McClellan as commander of the Union's Army of
For some time, Lincoln had been working on plans to set up
colonies for the newly freed slaves. He commented favorably on
colonization in the Emancipation Proclamation, but all attempts
at such a massive undertaking failed. As Frederick Douglass
observed, Lincoln was, "The first great man that I talked with
in the United States freely who in no single instance reminded
me of the difference between himself and myself, of the
difference of color."
After Union victories at Gettysburg, Vicksburg and Chattanooga
in 1863, victory seemed at hand, and Lincoln promoted Ulysses S.
Grant General-in-Chief (March 12, 1864). When the spring
campaigns turned into bloody stalemates, Lincoln supported
Grant's strategy of wearing down Lee's Confederate army at the
cost of heavy Union casualties. With an election looming, he
easily defeated efforts to deny his renomination. At the
Convention, the Republican Party selected Andrew Johnson, a War
Democrat from the Southern state of Tennessee, as his running
mate in order to form a broader coalition. They ran on the new
Union Party ticket uniting Republicans and War Democrats.
Nevertheless, Republicans across the country feared that Lincoln
would be defeated. Acknowledging this fears, Lincoln wrote and
signed a pledge that, if he should lose the election, he would
nonetheless defeat the Confederacy by an all-out military effort
before turning over the White House:
“ This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly
probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then
it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as
to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as
he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot
possibly save it afterwards. "
Lincoln did not show the pledge to his cabinet, but asked
them to sign the sealed envelope.
Lincoln is Assinated
Originally, John Wilkes Booth, a well-known actor and a
Confederate spy from Maryland, had formulated a plan to kidnap
Lincoln in exchange for the release of Confederate prisoners.
After attending an April 11 speech in which Lincoln promoted
voting rights for blacks, an incensed Booth changed his plans
and determined to assassinate the president. Learning that the
President and First Lady, together with the Grants, would be
attending Ford's Theatre, he laid his plans, assigning his
co-conspirators to assassinate vice-president Andrew Johnson and
Secretary of State William H. Seward.
Without his main bodyguard Ward Hill Lamon, to whom he
related his famous dream regarding his own assassination,
Lincoln left to attend the play Our American Cousin on April 14,
1865. As a lone bodyguard wandered, and Lincoln sat in his state
box (Box 7) in the balcony, Booth crept up behind the President
and waited for the funniest line of the play, hoping the
laughter would muffle the noise of the gunshot. When the
laughter began, Booth jumped into the box and aimed a
single-shot, round-slug .44 caliber Deringer at his head, firing
at point-blank range. Major Henry Rathbone momentarily grappled
with Booth but was cut by Booth's knife. Booth then leapt to the
stage and shouted "Sic semper tyrannis!" (Latin: "Thus always to
tyrants") and escaped, despite a broken leg suffered in the
leap. A twelve-day manhunt ensued, in which Booth was chased
by Federal agents (under the direction of Secretary of War Edwin
Stanton). He was eventually cornered in a Virginia barn house
and shot, dying of his wounds soon after.
An army surgeon, Doctor Charles Leale, initially assessed
Lincoln's wound as mortal. The President was taken across the
street from the theater to the Petersen House, where he lay in a
coma for nine hours before he died. Several physicians attended
Lincoln, including U.S. Army Surgeon General Joseph K. Barnes of
the Army Medical Museum. Using a probe, Barnes located some
fragments of Lincoln's skull and the ball lodged 6 inches (15
cm) inside his brain. Lincoln never regained consciousness and
was officially pronounced dead at 7:22:10 a.m. April 15, 1865 at
the age of 56. There is some disagreement among historians as to
Stanton's words after Lincoln died. All agree that he began "Now
he belongs to the..." with some stating he said "ages" while
others believe he said "angels."After Lincoln's body was
returned to the White House, his body was prepared for his lying
in repose in the East Room. He was the first president to lie in
The Religious Views of Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln Images Click for a larger picture
Photograph from Benjamin Brown French showing
March 4, 1861 inauguration of Abraham Lincoln in front of U.S.
Capitol, which was undergoing construction.
First Reading of the Emancipation Proclamation of President
by Francis Bicknell Carpenter (1830 - 1900)
Oil on canvas, 1864
Allan Pinkerton, President Abraham Lincoln,
and Major General John A. McClernand. This photo was taken not
long after the Civil War’s first battle on northern soil in
Antietam, Maryland on October 3, 1862. In his role as head of
Union Intelligence Services during the war, Pinkerton foiled an
assassination attempt against Lincoln. His wartime work was
critical in raising Pinkerton’s profile and helping to bolster
the reputation of his Pinkerton National Detective Agency, which
pioneered the American private detective industry.
A photograph of the President and son Thomas
(Tad) made by Mathew B. Brady on February 9, 1864
Lincoln Memorial Statue
The assassination of Abraham Lincoln. From
left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris, Mary Todd Lincoln,
Abraham Lincoln and John Wilkes Booth
Lincoln's funeral train carried his remains,
as well as 300 mourners and the casket of his son William, 1,654
miles (2,661 km) to Illinois
Lincoln's face as seen on the U.S. five-dollar bill,
Mt. Rushmore, Abraham Lincoln closeup. Taken
from the Presidential Trail.
Mt. Rushmore Art Prints
An attack on the military leadership of the
The cartoon derives its title from an indiscreet letter written
by secretary of war Edwin McMasters Stanton to past President
James Buchanan immediately following the Union army's defeat at
the Battle of Bull Run. Stanton wrote, "The imbecility of this
Administration, culminated in that catastrophe (Bull Run), and
irretrievable misfortune and national disgrace never to be
forgotten are to be added to the ruin of all peaceful pursuits
and national bankruptcy, as the result of Mr. Lincoln's `running
the machine' for five months." William Pitt Fessenden (far left)
cranks out greenbacks from "Chase's Patent Greenback Mill."
Fessenden succeeded Salmon P. Chase as Treasury secretary. He
says, glaring at the figures seated around the table, "These are
the greediest fellows I ever saw. With all my exertions I cant
satisfy their pocket, though I keep the Mill going day and
night." Seated at the table (clockwise from top left) are
Stanton, Lincoln, secretary of state William H. Seward, Navy
secretary Gideon Welles, and two unidentified contractors. At
left a messenger hands an envelope to Stanton, announcing, "Mr.
Secretary! here is a dispatch. We have captured one prisoner and
one gun; a great Victory." Elated over this minuscule
achievement, Stanton exclaims "Ah well! Telegraph to General Dix
[Union general John A. Dix] immediately." Meanwhile, Lincoln is
guffawing because he is reminded of "a capital joke." (See "The
Commander-in-Chief Conciliating the Soldiers Votes," no.
1864-31, for the allusion.) Seward, with a bell in one hand,
hands an envelope "Fort Lafayette" to a young officer or cadet,
saying, "Officer! I am told that Snooks has called me "
Humbug'--Take this warrant and put him in Fort lafayette--I'll
teach him to speak against the Government." Seward was
criticized for arbitrarily arresting civilians and incarcerating
them in federal prison at Fort Lafayette. Beside Seward Gideon
Welles ineptly works out a problem. "They say the Tallahasse
sails 24 miles an hour!--Well then, we'll send 4 Gunboats after
her that can sail 6 miles an hour, and that will just make
enough to catch her." At center bottom, the two contractors ask
for more greenbacks.
Lincoln Penny - In God We Trust - Liberty