PREFACE Nearly sixteen years have elapsed since this book was written. In that time sundry inaccuracies have been called to my attention, and have been corrected, and it may be fairly hoped that after the lapse of so long a period all errors in matters of fact have been eliminated. I am not aware that any fresh material has been made public, or that any new views have been presented which would properly lead to alterations in the substance of... more...

The editor has often been asked: "Upon what principle have you constructed this series of lives of American statesmen?" The query has always been civil in form, while in substance it has often implied that the "principle," as to which inquiry is made, has been undiscoverable by the interrogator. Other queries, like pendants, have also come: Why have you not included A, or B, or C? The inference from these is that the querist conceives A, or B, or... more...

CHAPTER I EMANCIPATION AND POLITICS During the spring and summer of 1861 the people of the North presented the appearance of a great political unit. All alleged emphatically that the question was simply of the Union, and upon this issue no Northerner could safely differ from his neighbors. Only a few of the more cross-grained ones among the Abolitionists were contemptuously allowed to publish the selfishness of their morality, and to declare... more...

CHAPTER I THE RAW MATERIAL Abraham Lincoln knew little concerning his progenitors, and rested well content with the scantiness of his knowledge. The character and condition of his father, of whom alone upon that side of the house he had personal cognizance, did not encourage him to pry into the obscurity behind that luckless rover. He was sensitive on the subject; and when he was applied to for information, a brief paragraph conveyed all that... more...