A House Dividing: Lincoln as President Elect

A House Dividing: Lincoln as President Elect

A House Dividing: Lincoln as President Elect

A House Dividing: Lincoln as President Elect

Excerpt

Lying between two periods of his career which have been extensively studied, Lincoln's four months as President Elect have hitherto been treated only in outline. Yet it was a time big with the fate of the nation. Despite the multiplicity of volumes on Lincoln and the Civil War, comparatively little information on this subject is to be found in them. Memoirs and recollections yielded valuable bits, while diaries were far more fruitful. The real essence, the bone and blood of the time, was obtainable only in private letters and newspapers. Private papers of some sixty statesmen were studied; items on Lincoln from twenty of these were made available by means of photostats and microfilms collected by Dr. J. G. Randall and deposited in the University of Illinois Library. While the majority of public men whose papers were used were Republicans, many letters expressing the southern and the moderate, middle-of-the-road view were also studied.

The book emerged, somewhat to the author's surprise, as the story of the making of a statesman. It is not a history of the United States, November 6, 1860 to March 5, 1861. The history of compromise attempts is told only as they related to the President Elect; there exist adequate accounts of the Laocoön writhings of Congress old (Rhodes) and new (Potter). Confessing that the study was originally written as a doctoral dissertation, the author hopes readers will not hold that against it.

In the course of research numerous libraries performed the services for which they are maintained, while three, Library of . . .

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