The Presidency of Abraham Lincoln (American Presidency Series) / Edition 1

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Abraham Lincoln's life and work have inspired more books than any other historical figure except Jesus and Shakespeare and attracted some of America's most renowned writers. But few know him as well as Phillip Paludan, one of our nation's foremost authorities on Lincoln and the Civil War.

In this long-awaited study, Paludan offers us Lincoln in whole—a complex, even contradictory personality who found greatness without seeking it and who felt deeply troubled about what he perceived as his failings as a president and person.

Opinion has been divided about the real Lincoln. A conservative. A liberal. The great emancipator. A Union preservationist at all cost. But Paludan's Lincoln is both a constitutionalist and a liberal egalitarian who ultimately saw his efforts to preserve the Union and free the slaves as inseparably linked.

Lincoln, Paludan contends, proved himself a truly great leader in a highly combustible situation. True, he was no saint and could rule with political expediency and a heavy hand. But no other president faced such awesome challenges, and none showed better how the nation could meet them and move toward "a more perfect union."

Filled with new insights and fresh interpretations, Paludan's study presents a genuinely new and compelling portrait of a president and nation at war. It will change the way we look at such things as Lincoln's evolving reconstruction plans, his civil liberties restrictions, and his handling of foreign affairs and enlarge our understanding of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural, which linked the president's personal feelings with the needs of the nation. It is essential reading for anyone interested in Lincoln, the presidency, and the Civil War.

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Editorial Reviews

Times Literary Supplement
Readers wanting a relatively brief, clearly written, carefully argued review of Lincoln's presidency will not find a better source than this volume.
New York Review of Books
A judicious, erudite study.
Richmond Times-Dispatch
A superb analysis. Paludan's deft narrative covers the full sweep of Northern wartime politics. His characterizations are succinct and oftentimes unforgettable. This extremely well-written volume is a tribute not to a demigod but to a man.
Book-of- the-Month-Club News
A genuinely new portrait of Lincoln on the job as chief executive. Thought-provoking and engrossing, this is one of the best and most authoritative books yet on the Lincoln presidency.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is not a biography but a thorough and informative synthesis of much material on Lincoln's work as president. Paludan ( A People's Contest ), who teaches history at the University of Kansas, proceeds chronologically, describing, for example, how Lincoln assembled his cabinet to reflect his party's diverse elements, how he crafted his first inaugural and how Congress prepared for war by authorizing the printing of federal money in the era of state banknotes. Besides such details, Paludan also enters into historical debate: he argues that Lincoln's hands-off attitude toward administrative details strengthened him for ``larger matters of grand strategy''; that his 1862 support for blacks to emigrate and form their own colony helped reduce resistance to inevitable emancipation; that his pre-Emancipation Proclamation proposal that states have 37 years to free their slaves showed commitment to ``an orderly, gradual process of change.'' There is much to chew on in this book, as Paludan demonstrates that Lincoln's mastery of the ``political-constitutional institutions of his time'' served the country well. (May)
Library Journal
Lincoln's presidency began long before he took the oath of office. Political turmoil in the country forced Lincoln to face the challenges of his day and to reshape the nation's government based on the fundamental principles of the Constitution. Paludan examines aspects of the executive office, giving special emphasis to the importance of Lincoln's cabinet and the Congress. The author masterfully handles overviews of the war and how Lincoln used it to preserve the union. By skillfully maneuvering the country through the Civil War, Lincoln was able to redefine the role of commander in chief by being personally involved in the day-to-day actions of the Army of the Potomac. This work is an in-depth examination of the democratic political process, the strength of the Constitution, and how the abilities of a single individual were able to preserve the Union. Recommended for public or academic libraries with large Lincoln collections.-Barbara Zaborowski, Cambria Cty. Lib., Johnstown, Pa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700607457
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 5/28/1994
  • Series: American Presidency Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.99 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents




1. The State of the Union: 1860

2. Assembling the Cast: Winter 1860-61

3. To Sumter: January to April 1861

4. Congress Organizes, Lincoln Acts: April to December 1861

5. Forging the Resources of War: January to February 1862

6. Northern Power Emerges: March to June 1862

7. Leaving Old Moorings—McClellan and Emancipation: June to December 1862

8. Cabinet Crisis: December 1862

9. Emancipation and the Limits of Dissent: January to June 1863

10. Union Power Affirmed: May to July 1863

11. The Meaning of War: July to December 1863

12. Reconstruction Beginnings: May 1862 to December 1863

13. Lincoln Affirmed: January to June 1864

14. Louisiana and Reelection: June to November 1864

15. The Reconstruction Proposition: December 1864 to April 1865

16. Conclusion


Bibliographical Essay


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