The Life of Abraham Lincoln: From His Birth to His Inauguration as President

By Monroe, Dan | Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, Summer 1999 | Go to article overview

The Life of Abraham Lincoln: From His Birth to His Inauguration as President


Monroe, Dan, Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society


The Life of Abraham Lincoln: From His Birth to His Inauguration as President. By Ward H. Lamon. Introduction to the Bison Books Edition by Rodney 0. Davis. (Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press, 1999. Pp. xxviii, 547. $22.00.)

On the evening of April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln attended the performance of "Our American Cousin" at Ford's Theater. In the play's third act, John Wilkes Booth entered the unguarded presidential box and fatally shot the president in the back of the head with a palm-size derringer, Laid out in a nearby home, Lincoln clung to life through the night, finally expiring early in the morning, attended by a crowd of shocked and horrified government officials. In the wake of Lincoln's death, Secretary of State William H. Seward mused that if Ward Hill Lamon had been present, the tragedy would never have occurred.

An old Illinois friend and fellow lawyer who had practiced law with Lincoln in the Eighth Judicial Circuit, "Hill" Lamon had personally assumed the role of protector of Lincoln's person upon his election as president. Lincoln in turn appointed Lamon marshal of the District of Columbia, where he promptly alienated congressional radicals by enforcing the fugitive slave act. An immense bear of a man, barrelchested, with a stem visage that glares out from daguerreotypes as though about to reach out and throttle you, Lamon looked the part of the forbidding bodyguard. He is habitually described as bristling with weaponry: machete-like bowie knives, brass knuckles, pistols. He kept Lincoln safe throughout the war, repeatedly lecturing the fatalistic president on the necessity of precautions, warnings that Lincoln typically ignored. Lamon was in Richmond, Virginia on April 14 and thus was not on duty when most needed.

Having failed in the end to protect his friend's life, Lamon, in the eyes of many, had the further ill-grace to assassinate Lincoln's character by writing a critical biography of his deceased patron. Settling at the Washington law firm of Jeremiah Black, a former Buchanan administration cabinet member, Lamon struck up a friendship with Jeremiah's son Chauncey. The two young men decided to win fame and riches by writing a two volume Lincoln biography, with Black doing the writing, and Lamon providing the Lincoln material. To better accomplish that purpose, Lamon acquired William Herndon's "Lincoln Record," a fund of Lincolniana he had elicited after the war.

Black took Herndon's material and molded it into the first volume, which takes Lincoln's life up to the presidency A new paperback edition of this work has just been published by the University of Nebraska Press, with an introduction by Rodney 0. Davis. Black had imbibed the Democratic partisanship of his father, and he eagerly seized upon the more controversial elements of Herndon's research. As Albert V. House, Jr. put it: "too much space was devoted to Lincoln's love affairs, questionable ancestry, and lack of conventional religious beliefs." Black wrote "in a belligerent fashion." Rodney Davis notes Black's "overdone realism" and tendency to "emphasize the unattractive and disreputable in Lincoln's early life. …

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

The Life of Abraham Lincoln: From His Birth to His Inauguration as President
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.