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HIS volume is not a biography, but is intended
only as a presentation of the results of an investigation into the record of Abraham Lincoln as a lawyer, his views upon the subjects of universal suffrage and the reconstruction of the Confederate State Governments at the close of the Civil War, and his attitude toward the judiciary, upon which there has been considerable misunderstanding in recent years. To these has been added a chapter devoted to some consideration of his standing as an orator.
Many biographies of Lincoln have been written, but no adequate review of the subjects before mentioned has appeared. It has been frequently said that Lincoln was not a great lawyer. Much misinformation is current in relation to Mr. Lincoln's career at the bar. Indeed, statesmen and lawyers of renown, relying upon the erroneous statements of some of Lincoln's contemporaries, have been led to underestimate greatly his standing as a member of the legal profession. The facts presented in this volume, it is believed, will remove the erroneous impression which has been thus created, and convince
even the most skeptical that Mr. Lincoln was one of the truly great lawyers of his generation.
The attitude of the great President toward the Southern States throughout the Civil War, and in relation to the reconstruction of state governments in them, was always friendly. He sought to aid and encourage those States to reëstablish themselves as members of the Union. He was never inclined to force negro suffrage upon them, but believed that the States should be left free to grant or withhold the right of suffrage as each State might determine for itself. The facts clearly prove that Mr. Lincoln was opposed to the system which has become known as "Carpet-Bag Government," but believed that the loyal white citizens of every State should be allowed to control its political affairs. It has been said that he favored woman's suffrage also, but there is not sufficient evidence to warrant this conclusion, as will be seen from a perusal of these pages. Lincoln's criticism of the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, in the case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford, has been often referred to in recent years as a justification for assaults upon the courts, but a careful review of all that he said upon that subject shows that he was a firm believer in and champion of the independence of the judiciary.
This volume is submitted in the hope that it will