Lincoln of Kentucky

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Young Abraham Lincoln and his family joined the migration over the Ohio River, but it was Kentucky—the state of his birth—that shaped his personality and continued to affect his life. His wife was from the commonwealth, as were each of the other women with whom he had romantic relationships. Henry Clay was his political idol; Joshua Speed of Farmington, near Louisville, was his lifelong best friend; and all three of his law partners were Kentuckians. During the Civil War, Lincoln is reputed to have said, "I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky." He recognized Kentucky's importance as the bellwether of the four loyal slave states and accepted the commonwealth's illegal neutrality until Unionists secured firm control of the state government. Lowell Harrison emphasizes the particular skill and delicacy with which Lincoln handled the problems of a loyal slave state populated by a large number of Confederate sympathizers. It was not until decades later that Kentuckians fully recognized Lincoln's greatness and paid homage to their native son.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An interesting and convincing account that shows that Kentucky has a legitimate right to claim the rich legacy of perhaps our country's greatest president." —Bourbon Times" —

"A valuable addition to the great volume of work on one of our greatest presidents. It will please anyone interested in Lincoln, the Civil War or Kentucky history." —Bowling Green Daily News" —

"An excellent read that will fascinate." —Choice" —

"'Explains many of the lesser-known aspects of Lincoln, as well as his ties to Kentucky," —College Heights Herald" —

"Achieves its objectives by providing an interesting and highly readable account of the relationships between Lincoln, Kentucky, and the Kentuckians in an attractive volume that readers will enjoy." —Indiana Magazine of History" —

"An outstanding work that sheds new light, brings people and events alive, and provides the deeper understanding of the problems and challenges of Lincoln and Kentuckians in the Civil War." —James A. Ramage" —

"A readable and rewarding book." —Journal of American History" —

"This well-written volume will appeal to general readers who seek an introduction of the life of Abraham Lincoln and to how a border state fared during this national calamity." —Journal of Illinois History" —

"Harrison's close examination of Lincoln's wartime policies toward Kentucky helps to account for the state's ardent southern sympathy during Reconstruction, providing an ironic coda to the Lincoln-Kentucky connection." —Journal of Southern History" —

"Both the general reader and Kentucky historians will find the work of value in understanding not only Lincoln's association with Kentucky, but Kentucky's association with Lincoln." —Journal of the Jackson Purchase Historical Society" —

"Describes the ongoing relationship between this great president and his home state throughout his life." —Kentucky Living" —

"An enlightening perspective on both Abraham Lincoln and the state of his birth." —Kentucky Monthly" —

"A useful and authoritative study of Lincoln's relationship with his native state." —Lexington Herald-Leader" —

"Covers Lincoln's background in Kentucky and his lifelong association with the state of his birth in a professional and entertaining manner. His work is well researched." —Louisville Courier-Journal" —

"A fascinating and interesting account of Lincoln the boy, Lincoln the young man, Lincoln the politician, Lincoln the president, Lincoln the husband and father, and Lincoln the Kentuckian." —Louisville Voice-Tribune" —

"Shows that despite Kentucky's apparent wariness of Lincoln during his lifetime, the state can make a claim to his rich legacy." —McCormick (SC) Messenger" —

"A fresh story, told in an effective and uncluttered style that provides new depth and detail to many of the important issues raised by the Civil War." —Mississippi Review" —

"'You are a Kentuckian.' In crisp, lean prose, Harrison sets out precisely what the phrase meant for Lincoln's generation." —Register of the Kentucky Historical Society" —

"Stresses the state's continuing influence on Abe." —James Klotter, Lexington Herald-Leader" —

"A good book for those interested in Lincoln, the seccession Crisis, the first year of the war, and domestic politics during the conflict, as well as for the general student of the Civil War."— Lincoln of Kentucky Book Reviews" —

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813192437
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 9/16/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 324
  • Sales rank: 795,187
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Lowell H. Harrison, professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University, is the author of several books, including The Civil War in Kentucky and George Rogers Clark and the War in the West, and editor of Kentucky’s Governors.  He is coauthor of A New History of Kentucky.

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