What are some good Abe Lincoln biographies?

Discussion in 'History Forum' started by ChurchBoy, Nov 20, 2004.

  1. ChurchBoy

    ChurchBoy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    0
    Abe Lincoln stirs up a lot of passion in this forum. Like most Americans I was taught(indoctrinated?)as a young boy in school that Abe Lincoln was one of the "greatest" presidents. Several people on BB have voiced a disenting view. I must admit they did bring up thought provoking points. So I have decided to study the life of Abe Lincoln to decide for myself who he really was and what he stood for. My questions is what biographies would you recommend? I plan to read at least 3-4 different biographies to try to get a more all-around perspective on the man.
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Real Lincoln : A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War by Thomas J. DiLorenzo.
     
  3. Gershom

    Gershom
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,030
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brother Ken, I knew you were gonna mention that book! [​IMG] Where's ol' JGrubbs...
     
  4. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Oh, no! I've become predictable! :eek:
     
  5. JGrubbs

    JGrubbs
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Messages:
    4,761
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm still here, but Ken already recomended my book ;)
     
  6. Deacon

    Deacon
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2002
    Messages:
    6,974
    Likes Received:
    129
    Well, more in line with common senceabilities ...and as long as you plan on reading a lot...
    Try looking in the library for a classic by Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln (6 volumes). The first two volumes are called "The Prarie Years"; the last four voumes cover "The War Years".

    More recent and far less wordy is David Herbert Donald's, "Lincoln"; a book that is offered in most bookstores dealing with civil war history.

    Rob
     
  7. Benfranklin403

    Benfranklin403
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    The book by Thomas J. DiLorenzo contains a lot of misleading information. I have read several Lincoln biographies recently and one of the best is by Lincoln's friend by the name of Lamon, published in the late 1800s.

    In my judgment the book by DiLorenzo is really an inferior book for many reasons. He tried to paint Lincoln as a racist. By present day standards Lincoln was not an aggressive abolitionist on racial questions but I am sure that if given a little time to adjust to present attitudes he would be at least comfortable with the most liberal attitudes on race. There are many instances in his life when he was far in advance of most of his contemporaries on racial attitudes. He hated slavery, which some of his detractors on this board seem willing to tolerate. I could mention many other things but I won't right now.
     
  8. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    No really. But some of us believe the U.S. constitution should be respected and not abused as President Lincoln did, which some of his supporers on this board seem willing to tolerate.
     
  9. Benfranklin403

    Benfranklin403
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    The claim by some that slavery was not the main cause of the Civil War is sharply refuted by unimpeachable sources, namely the words of the men who shaped and led the rebellion. Here is a sample, from the state of Mississippi:


    A Declaration of the Immediate Causes which Induce and Justify the Secession of the State of Mississippi from the Federal Union.


    In the momentous step which our State has taken of dissolving its connection with the government of which we so long formed a part, it is but just that we should declare the prominent reasons which have induced our course.

    Our position is thoroughly identified with the institution of slavery-- the greatest material interest of the world. Its labor supplies the product which constitutes by far the largest and most important portions of commerce of the earth. These products are peculiar to the climate verging on the tropical regions, and by an imperious law of nature, none but the black race can bear exposure to the tropical sun. These products have become necessities of the world, and a blow at slavery is a blow at commerce and civilization. That blow has been long aimed at the institution, and was at the point of reaching its consummation. There was no choice left us but submission to the mandates of abolition, or a dissolution of the Union, whose principles had been subverted to work out our ruin.

    That we do not overstate the dangers to our institution, a reference to a few facts will sufficiently prove.

    The hostility to this institution commenced before the adoption of the Constitution, and was manifested in the well-known Ordinance of 1787, in regard to the Northwestern Territory.

    The feeling increased, until, in 1819-20, it deprived the South of more than half the vast territory acquired from France.

    The same hostility dismembered Texas and seized upon all the territory acquired from Mexico.

    It has grown until it denies the right of property in slaves, and refuses protection to that right on the high seas, in the Territories, and wherever the government of the United States had jurisdiction.

    It refuses the admission of new slave States into the Union, and seeks to extinguish it by confining it within its present limits, denying the power of expansion.

    It tramples the original equality of the South under foot.

    It has nullified the Fugitive Slave Law in almost every free State in the Union, and has utterly broken the compact which our fathers pledged their faith to maintain.

    It advocates negro equality, socially and politically, and promotes insurrection and incendiarism in our midst.

    It has enlisted its press, its pulpit and its schools against us, until the whole popular mind of the North is excited and inflamed with prejudice.

    It has made combinations and formed associations to carry out its schemes of emancipation in the States and wherever else slavery exists.

    It seeks not to elevate or to support the slave, but to destroy his present condition without providing a better.

    It has invaded a State, and invested with the honors of martyrdom the wretch whose purpose was to apply flames to our dwellings, and the weapons of destruction to our lives.

    It has broken every compact into which it has entered for our security.

    It has given indubitable evidence of its design to ruin our agriculture, to prostrate our industrial pursuits and to destroy our social system.

    It knows no relenting or hesitation in its purposes; it stops not in its march of aggression, and leaves us no room to hope for cessation or for pause.

    It has recently obtained control of the Government, by the prosecution of its unhallowed schemes, and destroyed the last expectation of living together in friendship and brotherhood.

    Utter subjugation awaits us in the Union, if we should consent longer to remain in it. It is not a matter of choice, but of necessity. We must either submit to degradation, and to the loss of property worth four billions of money, or we must secede from the Union framed by our fathers, to secure this as well as every other species of property. For far less cause than this, our fathers separated from the Crown of England.

    Our decision is made. We follow their footsteps. We embrace the alternative of separation; and for the reasons here stated, we resolve to maintain our rights with the full consciousness of the justice of our course, and the undoubting belief of our ability to maintain it.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
     
  10. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    I don't claim that it was not, but it was done within the context of States' rights. Thus, the Yankee desire was to stamp out States' rights, not slavery, which is proven by Abraham Lincon's own words.
     
  11. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    It' already been stated but I recommend Carl Sandburg's "Abraham Lincoln" (6 volumes).
     
  12. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,079
    Likes Received:
    103
    Sandburg is too dated and hagiographical; certainly not worth six volumes.

    I prefer Gore Vidal's "Lincoln" (just be careful about the syphillis story) and William Safire's "Freedom." Both are novels, but both do a good job of giving vital biographical information.

    (Lincoln's father, BTW, was a Primitive Baptist, and it's thought that's where Lincoln imbibed the predestination that he espoused in his later years.)
     
  13. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    RSR, Gore Vidal's "Lincoln" is not a straight biography. It's a biographical fiction. Big difference. It is, however, good reading.
     
  14. Benfranklin403

    Benfranklin403
    Expand Collapse
    Guest

    (Lincoln's father, BTW, was a Primitive Baptist, and it's thought that's where Lincoln imbibed the predestination that he espoused in his later years.)

    Lincoln had very little use for religion, so I doubt that he was influenced by his father at all in such matters. He had his own view of God which was quite different from most of those in the society at the time. Here is a quote of Lincoln:

    Because Lincoln rejected the idea of miracles and other supernatural interferences with the laws of nature, he emphasized a reliance on human effort in solving problems. In an 1856 speech in Kansas, he stated: "Friends, I agree with you in Providence; but I believe in the Providence of the most men, the largest purse, and the longest cannon."
     
  15. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
  16. poncho

    poncho
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    19,657
    Likes Received:
    128
    Don't leave out Lincoln's lawyer. You can read his story in "War Powers In America Today". You should be able to find an online book if you Google.
     
  17. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,079
    Likes Received:
    103
    Ben said:

    "Lincoln had very little use for religion, so I doubt that he was influenced by his father at all in such matters. He had his own view of God which was quite different from most of those in the society at the time."

    Agreed for the most part. But as the war progressed, he became more and more convinced of predestination (or even fatalism), a view that was reinforced by his attendance at New York Avenue
    Presbyterian Church.
     
  18. ChurchBoy

    ChurchBoy
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2003
    Messages:
    598
    Likes Received:
    0
    I just picked up the book, Abraham Lincoln by Benjamin P. Thomas. Has anyone read this book?
     

Share This Page

Loading...