This Fiery Trial: The Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln / Edition 1

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The most eloquent president in our history, Abraham Lincoln's literary ability was extraordinary. In This Fiery Trial, William Gienapp has brought together more than one hundred pieces by Lincoln, ranging from his first published political statement, printed in the Sangamo Journal in 1832, to his final public address, delivered just before his assassination.
Here are some of the greatest speeches in American history, including the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address. Other pieces include Lincoln's "A House Divided" speech to the Republican State convention in 1858, excerpts from his famed debates with Stephen Douglas, and the text of the Emancipation Proclamation. The writings provide a documentary account of Lincoln's thought and how it evolved over time. Students can trace, for instance, how his thoughts on slavery and emancipation changed through the course of the war, from a rather limited view (free slaves for military purposes only) to his ringing endorsement of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery forever. Gienapp has provided detailed introductory headnotes for each piece, and the book includes an extensive chronology of Lincoln's life.
Often eloquent, frequently amusing, and occasionally profound, these writings offer an intimate portrait of Lincoln—in his own words.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"With a connoisseur's eye, William Gienapp has chosen from Lincoln's speeches and writings. Some of the selections will be familiar to readers; others less so. But all demonstrate Lincoln's power as a writer as well as his ability to summarize the issues of his time. With his own profound understanding of the sixteenth president, Gienapp has placed them in context with his brief introductions. The result is nothing less than the public story of Abraham Lincoln told in his own words, from its beginnings in Sangamo County in the 1830s to its end in Washington in 1865."— Jean H. Baker, Elizabeth Todd Professor at Goucher College, and author of Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography
Library Journal
Not taking much stock in the genre, Lincoln tried to shield himself from biography by guarding his private self and carefully crafting his public words and image. Of course, so complex a man, who came to embody America in its ordeal by fire, has attracted scores of biographers hoping to solve the ultimate American enigma. Now Gienapp, author of the acclaimed Origins of the Republican Party, enters the crowded field. This biography neatly synthesizes much recent scholarship and makes Lincoln believable as a president struggling to defend the Union and define freedom. Rather than inventing a Lincoln psyche or persona, as some biographers have done, or trading in oft-recycled Lincoln myths, Giennap goes back to the primary sources to discover a Lincoln who was simultaneously principled and practical, confident of his ability to persuade (though too much so in dealing with generals) and assured in making policy (he was a loner who relied on his own judgment). He does not find the source of Lincoln's enormous ambition, but he does show why Lincoln etched his thought and character into Americans' understanding of themselves. In the public speeches Gienapp gathers in This Fiery Trail, the clarity and cadences of Lincoln's language resound. It is a most apt collection, useful to teachers and anyone wanting to know why Lincoln was our herald. These books in tandem are an excellent way to get hold of Lincoln. Highly recommended. Randall M. Miller, Saint Joseph's Univ., Philadelphia Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195151015
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 10/17/2002
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 276,970
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William E. Gienapp is Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of the award-winning Origins of the Republican Party, co-author of one of the best-selling college texts for American history, Nation of Nations, and editor of The Civil War and Reconstruction: A Documentary Collection.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: "Not much of me," Autobiography, December 20, 1859
1. "I am young and unknown," Communication to the People of Sangamo County, March 9, 1832
2. "I shall be governed by their will," Letter to the Editor of the Sangamo Journal, June 13, 1836
3. "Founded on both injustice and bad policy," Protest in the Illinois Legislature on Slavery, March 3, 1837
4. "Cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason," Speech to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, January 27, 1838
5. "Bow to it I never will," Speech on the Subtreasury, December 26, 1839
6. "The most miserable man living," Letter to John T. Stuart, January 23, 1841
7. "An evil tree can not bring forth good fruit," Letter to Williamson Durley, October 3, 1845
8. "I am not a member of any . . . Church," Handbill Addressed to the Voters of the Seventh Congressional District, July 31, 1846
9. "No one man should hold the power," Letter to William Herndon, February 15, 1848
10. "I like the letters very much," Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln, April 16, 1848
11. "Resolve to be honest," Notes for a law lecture, July 1, 1850?
12. "More painful than pleasant," Letter to John D. Johnston, January 12, 1851
1. "The legitimate object of government," Fragment on government, July 1, 1854?
2. "Our republican robe is soiled," Speech at Peoria, October 16, 1854
3. "Where I now stand," Letter to Joshua Speed, August 24, 1855
4. "Can we not come together, for the future," Speech at a Republican banquet, December 10, 1856
5. "All the powers of earth seem rapidly combining against him," Speech in Springfield, June 26, 1857
6. "A question of interest," Fragment on slavery, 1857-1858?
7. "A house divided," Speech to the Republican state convention, June 16, 1858
8. "Construed so differently from any thing intended by me," Letter to John L. Scripps, June 23, 1858
9. "Public sentiment is every thing," Notes for speeches, August, 1858
10. "Blowing out the moral lights around us," First debate, at Ottawa, August 21, 1858
11. "The social and political equality of the . . . races," Fourth debate, at Charleston, September 18, 1858
12. "A moral, a social and a political wrong," Sixth debate, at Quincy, October 13, 1858
13. "The eternal struggle between . . . right and wrong," Seventh debate, at Alton, October 15, 1858
14. "For, and not against the Union," Last speech of the campaign, October 30, 1858
15. "Opens the way for all," Address before the Wisconsin State Agricultural Society, September 30, 1859
16. "Right makes might," Speech at the Cooper Union, February 27, 1860
17. "I am not the first choice of . . . many," Letter to Samuel Galloway, March 24, 1860
18. "The taste is in my mouth," Letter to Lyman Trumbull, April 29, 1860
19. "I accept the nomination," Letter to George Ashmun, May 23, 1860
20. "A piece of silly affection," Letter to Grace Bedell, October 19, 1860
1. "The tug has to come," Letter to Lyman Trumbull, December 10, 1860
2. "There is no cause for such fears," Letter to Alexander H. Stephens, December 22, 1860
3. "It is the end of us," Letter to James T. Hale, January 11, 1861
4. "An affectionate farewell," Farewell Address at Springfield, February 11, 1861
5. "The Union . . . is perpetual," First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861
6. "To suppress said combinations," Proclamation calling the militia, April 15, 1861
7. "The most prompt, and efficient means," Letter to Winfield Scott, April 25, 1861
8. "A People's contest," Message to Congress, July 4, 1861
9. "To conform to . . . the act of Congress," Letter to John C. Frémont, September 2, 1861
10. "I cannot assume this reckless position," Letter to Orville H. Browning, September 22, 1861
11. "For a vast future also," Message to Congress, December 3, 1861
12. "Grumbling dispatches and letters," Letter to David Hunter, December 31, 1861
1. Making our advantage an over-match for his," Letter to Don Carlos Buell, January 13, 1862
2. "Gradual . . . emancipation, is better for all," Message to Congress, March 6, 1862
3. "But you must act," Letter to George McClellan, April 9, 1862
4. "Questions . . . I reserve to myself," Proclamation revoking General Hunter's order of emancipation, May 19, 1862
5. "I expect to maintain this contest," Letter to William H. Seward, June 28, 1862
6. "The incidents of the war can not be avoided," Appeal to the border state representatives, July 12, 1862
7. "Leaving any available card unplayed," Letter to Reverdy Johnson, July 26, 1862
8. "A single half-defeat," Letter to Agénor-Etienne de Gasparin, August 4, 1862
9. "The ban is still upon you," Address on colonization, August 14, 1862
10. "I would save the Union," Letter to Horace Greeley, August 22, 1862
11. "The will of God prevails," Meditation on divine will, September 2?, 1862
12. "Shall be . . . thenceforward, and forever free," Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, September 22, 1862
13. "The Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended," Proclamation, September 24, 1862
14. "Breath alone kills no rebels," Letter to Hannibal Hamlin, September 28, 1862
15. "If we never try, we shall never succeed," Letter to George McClellan, October 13, 1862
16. "I do not see that their superiority of success has been so marked," Letter to Carl Schurz, November 10, 1862
17. "The last best, hope of earth," Message to Congress, December 1, 1862
19. "In this sad world of ours," Letter to Fanny McCullough, December 23, 1862
1. "Are, and henceforth shall be free," Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863
2. "Broken eggs can not be mended," Letter to John A. McClernand, January 8, 1863
3. "I will risk the dictatorship," Letter to Joseph Hooker, January 26, 1863
4. "There is no eligible route for us into Richmond," Memorandum on Joseph Hooker's plan of campaign against Richmond, ca. April 6-10, 1863
5. "Constantly denounced and opposed," Letter to Isaac Arnold, May 26, 1863
6. "Lee's Army . . . is your true objective point," Letter to Joseph Hooker, June 10, 1863
7. "Indispensable to the public Safety," Letter to Erastus Corning, June 12, 1863
8. "Few things are so troublesome," Letter to William Kellogg, June 29, 1863
9. "You were right, and I was wrong," Letter to Ulysses S. Grant, July 13, 1863
10. "I am distressed immeasureably," Letter to George G. Meade, July 14, 1863
11. "The same protection to all its soldiers," Order, July 30, 1863
12. "I can not consent to suspend the draft," Letter to Horatio Seymour, August 7, 1863
13. "It works doubly," Letter to Ulysses S. Grant, August 9, 1863
14. "I am not watching you with an evil-eye," Letter to William S. Rosecrans, August 10, 1863
15. "A fair specimen of what has occurred to me through life," Letters to James H. Hackett, August 17, November 2, 1863
16. "The heaviest blow yet dealt to the rebellion," Letter to James C. Conkling, August 26, 1863
17. "Give up all footing upon constitution or law," Letter to Salmon P. Chase, September 2, 1863
18. "An idea I have been trying to repudiate for quite a year," Letter to Henry W. Halleck, September 19, 1863
19. "Quarrel not at all," Letter to James M. Cutts, Jr., October 26, 1863
20. "Give me a tangible nucleus," Letter to Nathaniel P. Banks, November 5, 1863
21. "A new birth of freedom," Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863
1. "The new reckoning," Message to Congress, December 8, 1863
2. "A full pardon," Proclamation of amnesty and reconstruction, December 8, 1863
3. "The jewel of liberty," Letter to Michael Hahn, March 13, 1864
4. "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong," Letter to Albert G. Hodges, April 4, 1864
5. "The world has never had a good definition of . . . liberty," Address at Sanitary Fair, April 18, 1864
6. "I wish not to obtrude any constraints . . . upon you," Letter to Ulysses S. Grant, April 30, 1864
7. "Not best to swap horses when crossing streams," Reply to delegation from the National Union League, June 9, 1864
8. "Unprepared . . . to be inflexibly committed to any single plan," Proclamation concerning reconstruction, July 8, 1864
9. "Will be received and considered," Letter "To Whom it may concern," July 18, 1864
10. "Not . . . an entirely impartial judge," Letter to John McMahon, August 6, 1864
11. "Hold on with a bull-dog gripe," Telegram to Ulysses S. Grant, August 17, 1864
12. "The curses of Heaven," Letter to Charles D. Robinson, August 17, 1864
13. "Equal privileges in the race of life," Speech to One Hundred Sixty-sixth Ohio Regiment, August 22, 1864
14. "This Administration will not be re-elected," Memorandum, August 23, 1864
15. "Go far towards losing the whole Union cause," Letter to William T. Sherman, September 19, 1864
16. "I am struggling to maintain the government, not to overthrow it," Response to serenade, October 19, 1864
17. "The election was a necessity," Response to a serenade, November 10, 1864
1. "So costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom," Letter to Lydia Bixby, November 21, 1864
2. "An issue which can only be . . . decided by victory," Message to Congress, December 6, 1864
3. "The honor is all yours," Letter to William T. Sherman, December 26, 1864
4. "Time . . . is more important than ever before," Letter to Edwin Stanton, January 5, 1865
5. "My son . . . wishes to see something of the war," Letter to Ulysses S. Grant, January 19, 1865
6. "Three things are indispensable," Letter to William H. Seward, January 31, 1865
7. "A King's cure for all the evils," Response to a serenade, February 1, 1865
8. "With charity for all," Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865
9. "A truth which I thought needed to be told," Letter to Thurlow Weed, March 15, 1865
10. "Let the thing be pressed," Telegram to Ulysses S. Grant, April 7, 1865
11. "No exclusive, and inflexible plan can safely be prescribed," Speech, April 11, 1865
Chronology of Abraham Lincoln
Selected Bibliography

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