Lincoln on Democracy

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Back in print after ten years, this unique book brings together 141 speeches, speech excerpts, letters, fragments, and other writings by Lincoln on the theme of democracy. Selected by leading historians, the writings include such standards as the Emancipation Proclamation and the Gettysburg Address, but also such little-seen writings as a letter assuring a general that the President felt safe-drafted just three days before Lincoln's assassination. In this richly annotated anthology, the writings are grouped thematically into seven sections that cover politics, slavery, the union, democracy, liberty, the nation divided, and the American Dream. The introductions are by well-known historians: Gabor Borritt, William E. Gienapp, Charles B. Strozier, Richard Nelson Current, James M. McPherson, Mark E. Neely, Jr., and Hans L. Trefousse. In addition, each section's title page displays a photograph of Lincoln from the time period covered in that section, with a paragraph describing the source and the occasion for which the photograph was made.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780823223459
  • Publisher: Fordham University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2004
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Mario C. Cuomo is the former Governor of New York. His most recent book is Why Lincoln Matters: Now More Than Ever. Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President for External Affairs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is one of the nation's leading authorities on Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. He served as co-chairman of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and has written, co-written, or edited 35 books.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fordham University Press edition
"Not much of me" : Lincoln's "autobiography," age 50, December 20, 1859
I "The people's business" : Lincoln and the American dream, 1832-1852
Introduction 3
No wealthy ... relations to recommend me 9
I shall be governed by their will 11
The people know their rights 12
Injustice and bad policy 13
The political religion of the nation 15
The wealthy can not justly complain 24
Many free countries have lost their liberty 25
'God tempers the wind' 26
The sorrow quenching draughts of perfect liberty 28
By the fruit the tree is to be known 30
Useless labour is ... the same as idleness 32
The right to rise up 34
No one man should hold the power 36
There are few things wholly evil, or wholly good 38
Leaving the people's business in their hands 40
Go to work, 'tooth and nails' 41
Valuable to his adopted country 43
Resolve to be honest 44
The presidency ... is no bed of roses 46
Principles held dear 49
A deep devotion to the cause of human liberty 51
II "All we have ever held sacred" : Lincoln and slavery, 1854-1857
Introduction 55
We proposed to give all a chance 62
'To do for the people what needs to be done' 63
Our Republican robe is soiled 65
No peaceful extinction of slavery in prospect 78
I am not a know-nothing 80
This great principle of equality 84
Free society is not ... a failure 86
A standard maxim for free society 88
Not bloody bullets, but peaceful ballots 92
III "Another explosion will come" : Lincoln and the house divided, 1858
Introduction 97
Government cannot endure ... half slave and half free 105
The electric cord in that declaration 114
Fight this battle upon principle 118
This expresses my idea of democracy 121
Return to the fountain 121
I claim no ... exemption from personal ambition 123
The moral lights around us 125
Our reliance is in the love of liberty 127
Never have had a black woman for either a slave or a wife 128
Give to him that is needy 130
'He trembled for his country' 132
The eternal struggle 134
The fight must go on 136
IV "Right makes might" : Lincoln and the race for president, 1859-1960
Introduction 141
Sole hope of the future 148
He who would be no slave, must consent to have no slave 154
Aim at the elevation of men 156
The moral lights around us 157
Equality ... beats inequality 159
Free labor ... gives hope to all 160
Let us stand by our duty 164
The laborer can strike if he wants to 175
Allow the humblest man an equal chance 176
I accept the nomination 177
Work, work, work is the main thing 178
I rejoice with you in the success 179
The tug has to come 180
V "Hour of trial" : Lincoln and union, 1861
Introduction 183
The principle that clears the path for all 188
If we surrender, it is the end of us 189
With a task before me 190
Liberty, for yourselves, and not for me 191
There is but little harm I can do 192
Give the greatest good to the greatest number 193
The majority shall rule 194
The ship can be saved, with the cargo 195
In accordance with the original idea 196
I would rather be assassinated 198
Plain as a turnpike road 199
The momentous issue of Civil War 201
I hope we have a government and a president 210
The perpetuity of popular government 211
We can not permanently prevent their action 213
Suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus 214
The central idea pervading this struggle 215
A Polish gentleman ... highly recommended 216
This is ... a people's contest 217
Allow no man to be shot 226
I cannot assume this reckless position 227
Wanting to work is so rare 229
The capacity of man for self-government 230
The struggle of today ... for a vast future also 231
VI "Forever free" : Lincoln and liberty, 1862-1863
The principle of the equal rights of men 243
Gradual ... emancipation, is better for all 244
Government was saved from overthrow 246
Our common country is in great peril 247
A fit and necessary military measure 249
Your race are suffering 251
My paramount object in this struggle 253
God wills this contest 254
The time has come now 255
Thenceforward, and forever free 257
To suppress the insurrection 260
Breath alone kills no rebels 262
A fiery trial 263
We cannot escape history 264
The promise must now be kept 269
Sincerely believed to be ... an act of justice 270
An instance of sublime Christian heroism 273
I will risk the dictatorship 275
Resist ... such recognition 276
Public safety does require the suspension 277
The decision is to be made 282
How long ago is it? - eighty odd years 283
My 'public-opinion baths' 284
Those who shall have tasted actual freedom ... can never be slaves 285
Better prepared for the new 286
You say you will not fight to free Negroes 288
The boundless field of absolutism? 292
Has the manhood of our race run out? 293
I do not intend to be a tyrant 296
VII "For us the living" : Lincoln and democracy, 1863-1865
Introduction 301
New birth of freedom 307
You will not find that to be an obstacle 308
The new reckoning 309
I have never interfered ... in any church 311
Common looking people are the best in the world 312
Universal amnesty ... with universal suffrage 313
Keep the jewel of liberty 314
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another 315
Never knew a man who wished to be ... a slave 316
If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong 316
The limb must be sacrificed 319
A good definition of the word liberty 320
So that they can have the benefit 321
May I have to answer for robbing no man 323
A fitting, and necessary conclusion 324
The people's business 325
I should deserve to be damned 325
Kindly paying attention 327
Any one of your children may look to come here 328
My duty to co-operate 329
The purposes of the almighty are perfect 330
Struggling to maintain government, not to overthrow it 331
Discharge him at once 332
The election was a necessity 333
Not the sort of religion upon which people can get to heaven 335
The voice of the people 336
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude ... shall exist 338
A king's cure for all the evils 339
With malice toward none 340
I have always thought that all men should be free 343
A righteous and speedy peace 344
A union of hearts and hands 349
Afterword : the Abraham Lincoln association 351
Lincoln, the nation, and the world : a chronology, 1809-1865 355
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