Lincoln: A Foreigner's Quest

By Parish, Peter J. | The Journal of Southern History, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Lincoln: A Foreigner's Quest


Parish, Peter J., The Journal of Southern History


Lincoln: A Foreigner's Quest. By Jan Morris. (New York and other cities: Simon and Schuster, c. 2000. Pp. 205. $23.00, ISBN 0-684-855515-1.)

Jan Morris is the latest in a long line of British commentators on Lincoln's achievements and reputation. She is the author of what remains one of the very best travel books on the United States and has written extensively on recent and contemporary America, but this is her first major venture into nineteenth-century American history and culture. Her book is an uneasy mixture of popular history, psycho-biography, myth, travelogue, speculation, and fantasy. She offers suggestive insights into aspects of Lincoln's early life and some intriguing reflections on the transforming effect upon him of four years of wartime presidency. But such attractive passages are intermingled with extraordinary flights of fancy--seeing herself as the judge in a famous Lincoln case, invoking Lincoln's ghost walking the streets of Springfield, describing the visit of a fictional English couple to the White House, and imagining a meeting between Lincoln and Robert E. Lee.

Doubts about the historical credibility of the book are enhanced by the number of factual errors and historical misconceptions. Ridiculing Lincoln's undignified entry into Washington in February 1861, Morris says that he was rushed to Willard's Hotel "instead of going straight to the White House" (p. 104), thus overlooking the fact that James Buchanan was still in residence there. There is the remarkable statement that Lincoln appointed to his cabinet "all of his four main rivals for the presidency, from both parties" (p. 119). She is unreliable on names and also on quotations. Morris mutilates Lincoln's much-quoted statement that "I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me" (p. 118). It would surely have been almost as easy to get such facts right as to get them wrong, but the underlying problem lies in Morris's uncertain grasp of the historical context. …

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: A Foreigner's Quest
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

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

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.