Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration

Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration

Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration

Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times: Some Personal Recollections of War and Politics during the Lincoln Administration

Synopsis

An associate of Abraham Lincoln offers an intimate view of the president's relations with military men and top politicians, placing particular emphasis on the election campaigns of 1860 and 1864. A. K. McClure, a Republican powerbroker and later editor of the Philadelphia Times, reveals how Lincoln replaced Vice President Hannibal Hamlin with the Southern Democrat Andrew Johnson on the 1864 ticket. According to McClure, Lincoln kept his hand hidden in order not to offend Hamlin and his New England supporters. In 1892, the publication of Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times caused an angry exchange of letters (included in this edition) between McClure and the late president's secretary, John G. Nicolay. For all his nobility, Lincoln was a shrewd and cautious politician, running scared for reelection until major Union army victories in September 1864. McClure writes candidly about William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and George B. McClellan. Among the politicians discussed are Lincoln's predecessor, James Buchanan, who fixed the Southern policy that Lincoln followed until war came; Salmon P. Chase, the annoyingly ambitious secretary of the treasury; Edwin M. Stanton, the moody secretary of war; and Thaddeus Stevens, the ferocious congressman whose relations with Lincoln were uneasy at best.

Excerpt

James A. Rawley

Alexander Kelly McClure--"Aleck" to his friends--was an active participant and sharp observer of mid-nineteenth century American politics. Editor, legislator, orator, attorney for a member of John Brown's band, eyewitness to the battle of Antietam, victim of a Confederate raid on his hometown of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, state party chairman, assistant adjutant general, and friend to mighty Civil War figures, the Pennsylvanian was on occasion in Washington discussing crises and policies with President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was told by the Philadelphia editor, John W. Forney, "McClure is a man of power, talent, wealth, and sagacity, and should always be so regarded."

A prolific writer, he brought out his Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times in 1892. An instant success, it ran through four editions in that year. A century and more later it continues to hold value for biographers and historians. McClure further added to Lincoln literature and lore with an anecdotal work entitled Old Time Notes of Pennsylvania in 1905. The saying attributed to Lincoln, "It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all the people all the time," is traceable to McClure's book, "Abe" Lincoln's Yarns and Stories, first published in 1901.

Born on his family's mountainous farm in Perry County, Pennsylvania, in 1828, Alexander McClure was descended from Scotch- Irish ancestors. After being educated at home, he was apprenticed to a tanner and simultaneously learned the printing trade. Publishing and public office occupied his early years as he worked as . . .

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