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MAN AND THE WAR PRESIDENT.
SHOWING IIIS GROWTH, TRAINING, AND SPECIAL FITNESS
BY WILLIAM O. STODDARD,
ONE OF PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S CONFIDENTIAL SECRETARIES DURING THE WAR
An entire generation has passed away since the close of the life-work of Abraham Lincoln.
His cabinet; the generals and the admirals who commanded under him; the jurists and the legislators; the governors of States and the leaders of parties; the journalists who sustained or who criticised him; the statesmen who upheld the Union and the statesmen who sought to create the Confederacy,—all have disappeared. The few notable men who here and there remain but mark with greater distinctness the fact that a new nation may now look back, without partisan feeling of any kind, and study the processes of its renovation, and the men and the times of its greatest trial.
The amount and variety of materials for such a study, which have been collected and printed during the ten years which have elapsed since the author of this book prepared it for the press, are almost beyond computation. It is worthy of note, in presenting a new edition, revised as to some important features, that no cause has been discovered for any modification of the estimate thus formed, or of the picture thus drawn of the great President, whose figure in history seems to grow taller as the years go by.
Full and searching as has been the biographical and historical work performed by many writers, it is still true, as was said in the preface to the author's first edition :
"There can be no question but that the popular idea of Mr. Lincoln's character is vague, fragmentary and incomplete. His origin, growth, and development, his education and his services, rightly presented and understood, offer one of the noblest lessons to be found in the world's history. To present such a biography is the single aim of this book. It is a record of political and military events, only as these in some manner became a part of or illustrated the character and services of the great President. The writer knew Mr. Lincoln well, and had many opportunities of preparation for such a work as this. These were obtained during a residence of several years, before the war, in Mr. Lincoln's own district in Illi nois, and as one of his assistant private secretaries at Washington, from the beginning of his administration in 1861, to about the end of September, 1864. Every effort possible has been made to put away partisan feeling and the blindness of personal affection, and to produce and present a faithful portrait of the man as he was."
As the record now stands, this work was one of the earlier of the several Lincoln biographies, and subsequent writers have liberally drawn from it or have duplicated its uses of original authorities. It may therefore be as well to admit that the entire mass of accumulated materials has become the common property of literary workers, who are henceforth responsible only for the uses they make of it.
There are two ideas which stand facing each other as opposites in the world's estimate of the relations between man and the State. The falsified acceptance and erroneous application of one of these ideas reduces the individual to a mere counter, and enables a ruler, or a ruling caste, to say with Louis XIV., "I am the State."
To the United States, in the van of history and of the world's advance, has been given the keeping and the championship of the counterbalancing idea, the truth that no State has a sufficient cause for existence, except as the servant and