In modern times, some critics have belittled Abraham Lincoln's antislavery resolve as shallow. Some have portrayed him as a passive president, waiting upon the bold initiatives of others. 'Citizen Lincoln' regards him differently. First, it portrays Lincoln's animus against slavery as rooted in the highest ideals of the American Revolution, which he saw as being corrupted in his own time. Second, it analyses Lincoln's supposed 'passivity' as more aptly defined as wise caution. Lincoln learned as a legislator, first in Illinois and later in the United States Congress, that bold initiatives often backfire and fail to fulfil original intentions. In the state legislature, Lincoln supported a dramatic internal-improvements project that collapsed in the midst of a national depression. Lincoln also boldly opposed the Mexican War in Congress, only to see his cause evaporate as soon as a peace treaty was drafted with Mexico. In both instances, his timing was faulty. He had rushed into taking rigid policy positions when greater caution would have reaped better results. But in both instances, he learned lessons that would hold him in good stead later. Lincoln as president was wisely cautious, knowing that bold action could only disrupt the delicate coalition that kept the Union cause moving forward to victory. Harriet Beecher Stowe described Lincoln's unique strength as "swaying to every influence, yielding on this side and on that to popular needs, yet tenaciously and inflexibly bound to carry its great end". She wisely added that no other kind of strength could have seen the nation through the worst trial in its history. In filling this role, Abraham Lincoln fulfilled that which he had long regarded as his personal mission within the larger context of his nation's providential destiny.
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Illinois Reelects Douglas
Campaign and the Crisis
Waiting in the Wings
The Presidential Nomination
A Mandate for Limited Change
Elected by the People
Young Lincoln on Slavery and Race
Lincoln and Women
Lawyer Lincolns Congressional Ambitions
The Presidential Campaign of 1848
Lincoln Takes an Antislavery Stand
California Gold Radicalizes American Politics
Out of Office
Slavery and Union
The KansasNebraska Act
Lincoln Opposes Calhoun
Lincoln Challenges Douglas
A Whig in Search of a New Party
Somebody Named Lincoln
The Dred Scott Decision
The Lecompton Constitution
Challenging Douglass Reelection
Abstractions to Die For
Lincoln Goes to Washington
Waiting for War
Responsibility for the Apocalypse
Preserver Protector and Defender
The Politics of Union
Lincolns Gift of Detachment
Lincoln and McClellan
The Great Emancipator?
The Cautious Emancipator
Waiting and Preparing for the Backlash
A Union Worth Saving
From Vallandigham to Gettysburg
Turning Grant Loose
Lincolns PreElection Political Arena
Mr Lincolns Treachery
A Momentum Toward Victory
Celebration and Tragedy
Now He Belongs to the Ages
A Man of Destiny
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Page xix - I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me. Now, at the end of three years' struggle, the nation's condition is not what either party or any man devised, or expected. God alone can claim it. Whither it is tending seems plain. If God now wills the removal of a great wrong, and wills also that we of the North as well as you of the South, shall pay fairly for our complicity in that wrong, impartial history will find therein new cause to attest and revere...
Page 144 - 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 92 - I am not a Know-nothing; that is certain. How could I be? How can any one who abhors the oppression of negroes...
Page 184 - This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so cooperate with the President-elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration ; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he cannot possibly save it afterwards.
Page xi - Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into actual Service of the United States...
Page 115 - They meant to set up a standard maxim for free society, which should be familiar to all, and revered by all ; constantly looked to, constantly labored for, and even though never perfectly attained, constantly approximated, and thereby constantly spreading and deepening its influence and augmenting the happiness and value of life to all people of all colors everywhere.
Page 171 - My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do that; and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it; and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.
Page 75 - Properly attended to, fuller justice is done to both lawyer and client. An exorbitant fee should never be claimed. As a general rule never take your whole fee in advance, nor any more than a small retainer. When fully paid beforehand, you are more than a common mortal if you can feel the same interest in the case, as if something was still in prospect for you, as well as for your client.
Page 37 - I know that the great volcano at Washington, aroused and directed by the evil spirit that reigns there, is belching forth the lava of political corruption in a current broad and deep, which is sweeping with frightful velocity over the whole length and breadth of the land...