First among Equals: Abraham Lincoln's Reputation During His Administration

Overview

"One hundred and forty years after his assassination on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln towers more than ever above the landscape of American politics. In myth and memory, he is always the Great Emancipator and savior of the Union, second in stature only to George Washington. But was Lincoln always so exalted? Was he, as some historians argue, in reality a poor chief executive who was deeply disliked? Was Lincoln's legacy ennobled only by John Wilkes Booth's bullet?" In this book, a leading historian finally takes the full measure of Lincoln's
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Overview

"One hundred and forty years after his assassination on April 14, 1865, Abraham Lincoln towers more than ever above the landscape of American politics. In myth and memory, he is always the Great Emancipator and savior of the Union, second in stature only to George Washington. But was Lincoln always so exalted? Was he, as some historians argue, in reality a poor chief executive who was deeply disliked? Was Lincoln's legacy ennobled only by John Wilkes Booth's bullet?" In this book, a leading historian finally takes the full measure of Lincoln's reputation. Drawing on a range of primary documents - speeches, newspaper accounts and editorials, private letters, memoirs, and other sources - Hans L. Trefousse gives us the voices of Lincoln's own time. From citizens North and South, at home and abroad, here are politicians and ordinary people, soldiers and statesmen, abolitionists and slaveholders alike, in a rich chorus of American opinion. Trefousse carefully crafts a clear picture of how his contemporaries measured Lincoln's great strengths - and shortcomings.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Consulting an impressive body of evidence that includes domestic and foreign newspapers, public and private papers, diaries, editorials, foreign correspondence, letters from common soldiers and officers, and appraisals of European elites, Trefousse's effort will stand out amid the seemingly endless treatments of the iconic Civil War president.

Trefousse's thesis is convincing and a welcome corrective to the notion that in a perverse sort of way, it was John Wilkes Booth who finally caused Americans to appreciate the sixteenth president...essential reading for anyone who sees to understand how Lincoln was viewed by his contemporaries.

. . .this slim volume with its analytical bite makes a nice companion to Herbert Mitgang's 1956 broad-ranging collection of newspaper excerpts, Lincoln as They Saw Him (reprinted in 1971 as Abraham Lincoln: A Press Portrait).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823224692
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Series: North's Civil War Series
  • Edition description: 3
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 216
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Hans Trefousse (1921-2010) was Distinguished Professor of History at Brooklyn College and at the Graduate Center, of the City University of New York.

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