Lincoln, near to Being a Perfect Man; POLITICS

Daily Mail (London), February 20, 2009 | Go to article overview

Lincoln, near to Being a Perfect Man; POLITICS


Byline: BY PETER LEWIS

TEAM OF RIVALS BY DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN (Penguin [pounds sterling]10.99)

THIS American bestseller comes over to us encumbered with praise as 'the book that inspired Barack Obama'. He is quoted as calling it 'a remarkable study in leadership' and the book that he could not live without in the White House.

There are obvious parallels between Lincoln and the current President, who used his Bible to be sworn in at his inauguration.

Both outsiders from humble beginnings; both makers of superb speeches working by themselves; both calmly facing crises on the largest scale. The chief difference is in education.

Obama got the best; Lincoln had to educate himself.

He was born in a log cabin, son of an illiterate, itinerant hired hand on the farms of Kentucky.

His mother, apparently a clever woman, died when he was nine. Luckily, his uneducated stepmother encouraged him to read. Books, especially Shakespeare, were his schooling -- he was never without one.

By the age of 51 when the newlyformed Republican Party chose him as their presidential candidate, Lincoln was a seasoned circuit lawyer from Springfield, Illinois, best known for his string of droll, folksy stories with which he would entertain his fellow lawyers on circuit for hours.

HIS THREE rival candidates were national figures: two as senators and state governors, the other an elder statesman. Lincoln had twice run for the senate and twice been defeated. But he had made his mark as an orator in debates on slavery.

When he won, to his great surprise, in 1860 he unhesitatingly appointed his three rivals to leading cabinet posts.

'We needed the strongest men in the party. I looked and concluded these were the very strongest men. Then I have no right to deprive the country of their services,' he explained in a typically simple, down-to-earth Lincolnian statement.

He chose William Seward, New York's renowned senator, for the prime post of Secretary of State, in the same spirit that Obama gave the job to his rival,

Hillary Clinton. Doris Goodwin devotes almost as much attention to Lincoln's rivals and their families as to Lincoln and his. These men were all intensely able and ambitious.

She explores at length the competitive strains and jealousies that were bound to result and how skilfully Lincoln kept them and his quarrelling generals united in the cause of saving the Union from break-up in the Civil War.

Lincoln did it by a mixture of straightforwardness and diplomacy, modesty and humour, an ability to defuse tensions by telling apt but funny stories and by his obvious good fellowship.

He made them all into personal friends.

Lincoln had no vanity. When he called on his army commander, General McClellan and was kept waiting for more than an hour, he waited uncomplainingly.

When his explosive Treasury Secretary, Salmon Chase, sent him a letter of resignation once too often, Lincoln deflated him by announcing his successor to Congress -- but then, because of his ability, made him Chief Justice instead. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Lincoln, near to Being a Perfect Man; POLITICS
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.