The Life of Abraham Lincoln

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A.L. Burt, 1901 - Presidents - 435 pages
"In his introduction to The Life of Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ketcham notes that there has been so much written about Lincoln that the legend has begun to obscure, if not to efface, the man. In this biography the single purpose has been to present the living man with such distinctness of outline that the reader may have a sort of feeling of being acquainted with him. Ketcham's clearly-written, unadorned account of Lincoln's life achieves its stated purpose, never removing its focus from the man who became the 16th President of the United States and led the nation through some of its most turbulent and difficult times." -- Amazon.com.
 

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A good review of how times were and how they have changed with a few inventions. Most of today's Americans couldn't have survived those days; of no central air (heat or a/c), one room cabins, dirty floors, and only three walls. Plus no cell phones with news at the touch of a finger and the media though bias but somewhat still realistic.
I liked the authors comparison to G. Washington, two Presidents with honor and integrity. Sadly we may never have another one to meet those expectations.
I also liked that the author lived in the day. Though sometimes poorly written, at lease he had a first hand knowledge of the circumstances and/or was able to add in some historical validity from persons involved in the actions and happenings of the day. I enjoyed his quotes and recounts from those who had dealings with Lincoln. Great read...
 

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This book does a good job summarizing Lincoln's life and period. I like the fact it was written by someone who lived around the same time as Lincoln. It has good pace and stays interesting from beginning to end. In many ways it was a good primer to the book Team of Rivals. I say this because Ketcham's book does not get too bogged down in details, so it seems like a quick read and then other books (such as Team of Rivals) fill in the finer points about the Civil War, his cabinet, etc. 

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Page 220 - I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend" it. I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break, our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.
Page 299 - If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that. What I do about slavery and the colored race, I do because I believe it helps to save the Union; and what I forbear, I forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the Union.
Page 315 - ... commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States, in time of actual armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and...
Page 427 - Great captains, with their guns and drums, Disturb our judgment for the hour, But at last silence comes; These all are gone, and, standing like a tower, Our children shall behold his fame, The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man, Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame, New birth of our new soil, the first American.
Page 236 - In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to "preserve, protect, and defend it.
Page 133 - A house divided against itself cannot stand." I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved— I do not expect the house to fall— but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push...
Page 228 - The power confided to me will be used to hold, occupy, and possess the property and places belonging to the government, and to collect the duties and imposts; but beyond what may be necessary for these objects, there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere.
Page 218 - I therefore consider that in view of the Constitution and the laws the Union is unbroken, and to the extent of my ability I shall take care, as the Constitution itself expressly enjoins upon me, that the laws of the Union be faithfully executed in all the States.
Page 157 - Wrong as we think slavery is, we can yet afford to let it alone where it is, because that much is due to the necessity arising from its actual presence in the nation; but can we while our votes will prevent it allow it to spread into the national Territories and to overrun us here in these free States! If our sense of duty forbids this, then let us stand by our duty fearlessly and effectively.
Page 57 - They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy; but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than to abate its evils. They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power, under the constitution, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States.

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