Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America's Greatest Leader

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In Lincoln Lessons, seventeen of today’s most respected academics, historians, lawyers, and politicians provide candid reflections on the importance of Abraham Lincoln in their intellectual lives. Their essays, gathered by editors Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, shed new light on this political icon’s remarkable ability to lead and inspire two hundred years after his birth.

Collected here are glimpses into Lincoln’s unique ability to transform enemies into steadfast ...

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Overview

In Lincoln Lessons, seventeen of today’s most respected academics, historians, lawyers, and politicians provide candid reflections on the importance of Abraham Lincoln in their intellectual lives. Their essays, gathered by editors Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, shed new light on this political icon’s remarkable ability to lead and inspire two hundred years after his birth.

Collected here are glimpses into Lincoln’s unique ability to transform enemies into steadfast allies, his deeply ingrained sense of morality and intuitive understanding of humanity, his civil deification as the first assassinated American president, and his controversial suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. The contributors also discuss Lincoln’s influence on today’s emerging democracies, his lasting impact on African American history, and his often-overlooked international legend—his power to instigate change beyond the boundaries of his native nation. While some contributors provide a scholarly look at Lincoln and some take a more personal approach, all explore his formative influence in their lives. What emerges is the true history of his legacy in the form of first-person testaments from those whom he has touched deeply.

Lincoln Lessons brings together some of the best voices of our time in a unique combination of memoir and history. This singular volume of original essays is a tribute to the enduring inspirational powers of an extraordinary man whose courage and leadership continue to change lives today.

Contributors

Jean H. Baker

Mario M. Cuomo

Joan L. Flinspach

Sara Vaughn Gabbard

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Harold Holzer

Harry V. Jaffa

John F. Marszalek

James M. McPherson

Edna Greene Medford

Sandra Day O’Connor

Mackubin Thomas Owens

William D. Pederson

Edward Steers Jr.

Craig L. Symonds

Thomas Reed Turner

Frank J. Williams

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Editorial Reviews

The Lincoln Herald
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Seventeen authors describe their experiences with the Lincoln subject. They are Jean H. Baker, Mario M. Cuomo, Joan Flinspach, Sara Vaugh Gabbard, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Harold Holzer, Harry V. Jaffa, John F. Marszalek, James M. McPherson, Edna Greene Medford, Sandra Day O'Connor, Mackubin Thomas Owens, William D. Pederson, Edward Steers, Jr., Craig L, Symonds, Thomas Reed Turner and Frank J. Williams.

 

Their tales make for entertaining reading. Some, of course, are more interesting than others. Overall, a reader will enjoy this volume. Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals her inner thoughts concerning Team of Rivals, her immensely successful book. Harold Holzer details his career with Lincoln images. Frank J. Williams traces his interest in Abraham Lincoln from his youth to his present leadership in the field. Edna Greene Medford gives a unique story of her experience as an African-American scholar writing on Lincoln. Craig L. Symonds admits that as a four-year-old kindergarten pupil he thought of Lincoln as "Sixteen Feet Tall."

 

     To savor this volume, one must read all the fine chapters. Such an endeavor will be well worth your while. However, a word of caution when you read reference number 12 in chapter one. Here are the facts: Mary Lincoln Beckwith died in 1975, and the family estate, Hildene, became the property of her brother, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith. He allowed James T. Hickey to examine the mansion where Hickey discovered Robert Todd Lincoln's file of personal papers in a room just off the study. Here, Hickey found the "MTL Insanity File" tied together with ribbon. It was, indeed, find of a lifetime for Lincoln scholars. In May of 1981, Mr. Beckwith determined to have R. Gerald McMurtry and Mark E. Neely, Jr. publish that collection of documents. He termed this team, "competent Lincoln scholars." Both were at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr, Beckwith determined to divide his inherited Lincolniana among several institutions before his death. Le items went to Lincoln Memorial University, some to Iowa Wesleyan, the Insanity File to the Lincoln Museum at Fort Wayne, He later died Christmas Eve in 1985. In 1986, Neely & McMurtry's volume, entitled The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln, appeared from the press of Southern Illinois University. —Wayne C. Temple, Illinois State Archives

— Wayne C. Temple

The Lincoln Herald - Wayne C. Temple
Seventeen authors describe their experiences with the Lincoln subject. They are Jean H. Baker, Mario M. Cuomo, Joan Flinspach, Sara Vaugh Gabbard, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Harold Holzer, Harry V. Jaffa, John F. Marszalek, James M. McPherson, Edna Greene Medford, Sandra Day O'Connor, Mackubin Thomas Owens, William D. Pederson, Edward Steers, Jr., Craig L, Symonds, Thomas Reed Turner and Frank J. Williams.

Their tales make for entertaining reading. Some, of course, are more interesting than others. Overall, a reader will enjoy this volume. Doris Kearns Goodwin reveals her inner thoughts concerning Team of Rivals, her immensely successful book. Harold Holzer details his career with Lincoln images. Frank J. Williams traces his interest in Abraham Lincoln from his youth to his present leadership in the field. Edna Greene Medford gives a unique story of her experience as an African-American scholar writing on Lincoln. Craig L. Symonds admits that as a four-year-old kindergarten pupil he thought of Lincoln as "Sixteen Feet Tall."

To savor this volume, one must read all the fine chapters. Such an endeavor will be well worth your while. However, a word of caution when you read reference number 12 in chapter one. Here are the facts: Mary Lincoln Beckwith died in 1975, and the family estate, Hildene, became the property of her brother, Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith. He allowed James T. Hickey to examine the mansion where Hickey discovered Robert Todd Lincoln's file of personal papers in a room just off the study. Here, Hickey found the "MTL Insanity File" tied together with ribbon. It was, indeed, find of a lifetime for Lincoln scholars. In May of 1981, Mr. Beckwith determined to have R. Gerald McMurtry and Mark E. Neely, Jr. publish that collection of documents. He termed this team, "competent Lincoln scholars." Both were at Fort Wayne, Indiana. Mr, Beckwith determined to divide his inherited Lincolniana among several institutions before his death. Le items went to Lincoln Memorial University, some to Iowa Wesleyan, the Insanity File to the Lincoln Museum at Fort Wayne, He later died Christmas Eve in 1985. In 1986, Neely & McMurtry's volume, entitled The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln, appeared from the press of Southern Illinois University. —Wayne C. Temple, Illinois State Archives

Library Journal

Coeditors Williams (chief justice, Supreme Court of Rhode Island; Judging Lincoln) and Pederson (director, International Lincoln Ctr., Louisiana St. Univ., Shreveport; Grassroots Constitutionalism) hit upon an intriguing idea by asking various prominent Lincoln scholars (e.g., Doris Kearns Goodwin, James M. McPherson) and other notables who have studied him closely (e.g., Sandra Day O'Connor, Mario M. Cuomo) to relate how they first "met" Lincoln and how they've approached him. The result is a book that combines, in varying degrees, autobiography and argument. If a thematic thread runs throughout, it is that Lincoln demanded explanation, for he stood at the center of so many essential questions about America-the purpose and prospects of freedom, the nature of democracy, the qualities of great leadership, the limits of government, and America's place in the world. Some of the arguments here are distillations of ideas presented in fuller form elsewhere, and none of them will surprise any close student of Lincoln. Still, together, they remind us why Lincoln has such a powerful grip on the American imagination. [William D. Pederson is a longtime book reviewer in history and law for LJ.-Ed.]
—Randall M. Miller

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809328918
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 1/2/2009
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction Frank J. Williams Williams, Frank J. William D. Pederson Pederson, William D. 1

1 Getting Right with Mary Lincoln; or, How a First Lady Taught Me to Be a Feminist Jean H. Baker Baker, Jean H. 4

2 Lincoln on Democracy Mario M. Cuomo Cuomo, Mario M. 18

3 A View from the Lincoln Museum Joan Flinspach Flinspach, Joan 23

4 The Evolution of a Lincoln Editor Sara Vaughn Gabbard Gabbard, Sara Vaughn 28

5 Transforming Foes to Allies: The Political Alchemy of Lincoln Doris Kearns Goodwin Goodwin, Doris Kearns 32

6 The Lincoln Visual Image: A Personal Journey of Discovery Harold Holzer Holzer, Harold 41

7 A Political Philosopher's Defense of Lincoln Harry V. Jaffa Jaffa, Harry V. 55

8 Lincoln through the Eyes of a Civil War and Civil Rights Historian John F. Marszalek Marszalek, John F. 65

9 Lincoln's Legacy for Our Time James M. McPherson McPherson, James M. 75

10 Lincoln and African American Memory Edna Greene Medford Medford, Edna Greene 91

11 Suspension of Habeas Corpus Sandra Day O'Connor O'Connor, Sandra Day 101

12 Lincoln and the Meaning of Equality: How I Became a "Lost Cause" Apostate Mackubin Thomas Owens Owens, Mackubin Thomas 110

13 Crossing Borders to an International Lincoln William D. Pederson Pederson, William D. 122

14 Tell Me What You Want to Believe, and I'll Tell You What You Will Believe Edward Steers, JR. JR., Edward Steers, 130

15 Sixteen Feet Tall: Abraham Lincoln and History Craig L. Symonds Symonds, Craig L. 140

16 Historian, Editor, and the Assassination Legacy Thomas Reed Turner Turner, Thomas Reed 151

17 The Compleat Lincolnator: Enthusiast, Collector, and Scholar Frank J. Williams Williams, Frank J.160

Selected Bibliography of Works by Contributors 169

Contributors 173

Photo credits 175

Index 177

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