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

Overview

One hundred and forty years after his assassination on April 14, 1865, AbrahamLincoln towers more than ever above the landscape of American politics. Inmyth 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, a poorPresident, deeply disliked, whose legacy was ennobled only by John WilkesBooth's bullet? In this fascinating book, a leading historian finally takes the full measure ...

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Overview

One hundred and forty years after his assassination on April 14, 1865, AbrahamLincoln towers more than ever above the landscape of American politics. Inmyth 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, a poorPresident, deeply disliked, whose legacy was ennobled only by John WilkesBooth's bullet? In this fascinating book, a leading historian finally takes the full measure ofLincoln's reputation. Drawing on a remarkable range of primary documents-speeches, newspaper accounts and editorials, private letters, memoirs, andother sources-Hans L. Trefousse gives us the voices of Lincoln's own time. FromNorth and South, at home and abroad, here are politicians and ordinary people,soldiers and statesmen, abolitionists and slaveholders alike, in a rich chorus ofAmerican opinion. The result is a masterly portrait of Lincoln the President inthe eyes of his fellow Americans.

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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."-The Historian

"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."-Journal of American History

". . .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)."-American Historical Review

"An important addition to scholarship on nineteenth-century America."-Journal of Southern History

"An accomplised biographer of Civil War figures (Andrew Johnson, 1997), historian Trefousse considers the fluctuations in domestic and foreign opinion on Abraham Lincoln and his presidency."-Gilbert Taylor, Booklist

"This illuminating book offers an avalanche of evidence and will surely serve as a valuable source for future scholars. [...] Trefousse's lively collection of wartime hosannas reminds us how early, and how often, Lincoln was lionized while he lived."-The Washington Post

"A much-needed corrective of the traditional story of a contrast between Lincoln's unpopularity while president and his elevation to heroic stature after the assassination."-James M. McPherson

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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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