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Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific

Overview

This first-ever volume to comprehensively explore President Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the American West brings together a variety of scholars and experts who offer a fascinating look at the sixteenth president’s lasting legacy in the territory beyond the Mississippi River. Editor Richard W. Etulain’s extensive introductory essay treats these western connections from Lincoln’s early reactions to Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War in the 1840s, through the 1850s, and during his ...

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Lincoln Looks West: From the Mississippi to the Pacific

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Overview

This first-ever volume to comprehensively explore President Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the American West brings together a variety of scholars and experts who offer a fascinating look at the sixteenth president’s lasting legacy in the territory beyond the Mississippi River. Editor Richard W. Etulain’s extensive introductory essay treats these western connections from Lincoln’s early reactions to Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War in the 1840s, through the 1850s, and during his presidency, providing a framework for the nine essays that follow.

Each of these essays offers compelling insight into the many facets of Lincoln’s often complex interactions with the American West. Included in this collection are a provocative examination of Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican War; a discussion of the president’s antislavery politics as applied to the new arena of the West; new perspectives on Lincoln’s views regarding the Thirteenth Amendment and his reluctance regarding the admission of Nevada to the Union; a fresh look at the impact of the Radical Republicans on Lincoln’s patronage and appointments in the West; and discussion of Lincoln’s favorable treatment of New Mexico and Arizona, primarily Southern and Democratic areas, in an effort to garner their loyalty to the Union. Also analyzed is “The Tribe of Abraham”—Lincoln’s less-than-competent appointments in Washington Territory made on the basis of political friendship—and the ways in which Lincoln’s political friends in the Western Territories influenced his western policies. Other essays look at Lincoln’s dealings with the Mormons of Utah, who supported the president in exchange for his tolerance, and American Indians, whose relations with the government suffered as the president’s attention was consumed by the crisis of the Civil War.

In addition to these illuminating discussions, Etulain includes a detailed bibliographical essay, complete with examinations of previous interpretations and topics needing further research, as well as an extensive list of resources for more information on Lincoln's ties west of the Mississippi. Loaded with a wealth of information and fresh historical perspectives, Lincoln Looks West explores yet another intriguing dimension to this dynamic leader and to the history of the American West.

 

Contributors:

Richard W. Etulain

Michael S. Green

Robert W. Johannsen

Deren Earl Kellogg

Mark E. Neely Jr.

David A. Nichols

Earl S. Pomeroy

Larry Schweikart

Vincent G. Tegeder

Paul M. Zall

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Editorial Reviews

The Annals of Iowa

"In the preface of Lincoln Looks West, editor Richard Etulain writes, "This volume attempts what no other book has done. . . This book introduces readers to the two decades of Lincoln's major involvements with the West" (ix). That mission is accomplished. In an introductory essay Etulain presents an extensive overview of Lincoln and the trans-Mississippi West. Seven of the subsequent essays are reprints from a variety of historical journals and cover a wide range of topics. Mark E. Neely (Civil War History, 1978) explores Lincoln's opposition to the Mex­ican War. Earl S. Pomeroy (Pacific Historical Review, 1943), Vincent G. Tegeder (Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1948), Daren Earl Kellogg (New Mexico Historical Review, 2000), and Robert W. Johannsen (Wash­ington Comes of Age: The State in the National Experience, 1992) delve into Lincoln's patronage appointments in the West. Larry Sdiweikart (West­ern Humanities Review, 1980) investigates Lincoln's connections to the Mormons, and David A. Nichols (The Historian's Lincoln: Pseudohistory, Psychohistory, and History, 1988) writes about his study of Lincoln and the Indians. Two new essays were written specifically for this volume: Michael G. Green surveys the politics of the 1850s and Lincoln's atti­tudes toward the West during those years; and Paul M. Zall presents a biographical sketch of Lincoln's friend Anson G. Henry, a physician and politician whom Zall describes as "Lincoln's Junkyard Dog." The book concludes with a bibliographical essay by Etulain and a bibliog­raphy of significant books and articles about Lincoln and the West.

 

 

 

 

This compilation of essays provides a wide range of topics, brings together a plethora of research, and demonstrates that the West was never far from Lincoln's mind, although during his presidency the war took his full attention. For those readers not well acquainted with Lincoln and the West, this volume is a great place to start and to dis­cover that there really was a lot happening west of the Mississippi River during and even before the Civil War. " --Patricia Ann Owens

— Patricia Ann Owens

From the Publisher

“This sweeping collection of more than a full generation’s worth of scholarship on the neglected topic of Lincoln and the West fills a huge void in the historical literature. Richard Etulain deserves much credit for assembling in one valuable book the best and the brightest essays on this intriguing subject, adding an important introduction that reflects on—and adds to—the record. Why it took so long to give readers a chance to see the West as this western president saw it is hard to fathom; the good news is that this volume ends a long drought with a flourish.”

 —Harold Holzer, cochairman, U.S. Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

“These nine essays help illuminate an aspect of Lincoln’s career, both presidential and prepresidential, that deserves to be better understood. Students of the sixteenth president’s life and times will welcome this collection as a valuable addition to the literature.”

 —Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life

“The comprehensive introduction and nine balanced essays mark a pioneer assessment of Lincoln’s relationship to the vast terrain that stretches west from the Mississippi River. Lincoln Looks West belongs in the library of every Lincoln admirer.”

—Ferenc Morton Szasz, author of Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends

The Annals of Iowa - Patricia Ann Owens

120 "In the preface of Lincoln Looks West, editor Richard Etulain writes, "This volume attempts what no other book has done. . . This book introduces readers to the two decades of Lincoln's major involvements with the West" (ix). That mission is accomplished. In an introductory essay Etulain presents an extensive overview of Lincoln and the trans-Mississippi West. Seven of the subsequent essays are reprints from a variety of historical journals and cover a wide range of topics. Mark E. Neely (Civil War History, 1978) explores Lincoln's opposition to the Mex­ican War. Earl S. Pomeroy (Pacific Historical Review, 1943), Vincent G. Tegeder (Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 1948), Daren Earl Kellogg (New Mexico Historical Review, 2000), and Robert W. Johannsen (Wash­ington Comes of Age: The State in the National Experience, 1992) delve into Lincoln's patronage appointments in the West. Larry Sdiweikart (West­ern Humanities Review, 1980) investigates Lincoln's connections to the Mormons, and David A. Nichols (The Historian's Lincoln: Pseudohistory, Psychohistory, and History, 1988) writes about his study of Lincoln and the Indians. Two new essays were written specifically for this volume: Michael G. Green surveys the politics of the 1850s and Lincoln's atti­tudes toward the West during those years; and Paul M. Zall presents a biographical sketch of Lincoln's friend Anson G. Henry, a physician and politician whom Zall describes as "Lincoln's Junkyard Dog." The book concludes with a bibliographical essay by Etulain and a bibliog­raphy of significant books and articles about Lincoln and the West.

This compilation of essays provides a wide range of topics, brings together a plethora of research, and demonstrates that the West was never far from Lincoln's mind, although during his presidency the war took his full attention. For those readers not well acquainted with Lincoln and the West, this volume is a great place to start and to dis­cover that there really was a lot happening west of the Mississippi River during and even before the Civil War. " --Patricia Ann Owens

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809329618
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 3/26/2010
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 957,422
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard W. Etulain, a professor emeritus of history at the University of New Mexico, is the author or editor of more than forty books, primarily on the history and culture of the American West. His most recent book is Beyond the Missouri: The Story of the American West. He is a coeditor of the Concise Lincoln Library book series.

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