Lincoln on Democracy

By Abraham Lincoln; Mario M. Cuomo et al. | Go to book overview

V
“HOUR OF TRIAL”
Lincoln and Union
1861

President-elect Abraham Lincoln sat for this Alexander Gardner photo- graph soon after arriving in Washington, D.C., in late February 1861. Within a week he would deliver his first inaugural address and assume the presidency. At the gallery, as Gardner fussed over his camera equipment, Lincoln became “wholly absorbed in deep thought… oblivious to his surroundings,” according to an eyewitness. By the time Gardner was ready to make his picture, Lincoln’s expression had frozen into the mask his private secretary, John G. Nicolay, described as “that serious, faraway look that with prophetic intuitions beheld the awful panorama of war, and heard the cry of oppression and suffering.”

(Photograph: Library of Congress)

-181-

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