The Imperial Congress

An impetuous and sometimes corrupt Congress has often hamstrung the efforts of the president since the earliest days of the Republic

On a little-remarked, steamy day in late June 1973, a revolution took place in Washington, D.C., one that would transfer far more power and wealth than did the revolt against King George III in 1776. On the 29th, a sweaty, angry majority of the House of Representatives and the Senate defied the president of the United States and voted to end armed American involvement in Vietnam. Read more »

America's Oddest Election

Lincoln came out a victor in the 1860 presidential election despite winning only 2 percent of the Southern vote

Just six months before the presidential election of November 1860 and only days after winning his party’s nomination, Abraham Lincoln received some stunning advice from one of his chief supporters, William Cullen Bryant. The influential editor of the pro-Republican New York Evening Post beseeched him to “make no speeches, write no letters as a candidate, enter into no pledges, make no promises.” Only three months earlier, Bryant had urged a large audience at New York City’s Cooper Union to pay heed to Lincoln’s every word.Read more »

A Rude Reception

A tall stranger, told to keep out of the general’s tent, turns out to be Lincoln

Gen. Grant having decided to transfer his army to the James River, preparations began at once. . . . On Tuesday morning, June 14th, Warren crossed [the Chickahominy] at Long Bridge, with Hancock following him. Burnside and Wright crossed at Jones’ Bridge four miles below Long Bridge. The advance of the army reached the James before night, and commenced laying pontons immediately. The crossing was effected near Charles City Court House on the north side, and Fort Powhattan on the south side of the James. Read more »

The Boy In The Window

Theodore Roosevelt, his widow recalled, watched Lincoln’s funeral from his grandfather’s house

Stefan Lorant has made a double reputation, as a picture-magazine editor in Europe and as an historian in America ( The Presidency, Lincoln, The New World ). In the pursuit of these two careers he has become the foremost iconographer in his field, with many discoveries to his credit in American pictorial history.

While editing photographs for a recent book on Lincoln, he studied the picture on the opposite page. Following is his own account of what he found:

 

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“To Open The Door”

A famous educator reviews 100 years of service by the land-grant colleges

The year 1955 marks the centennial of one of the greatest landmarks in our American heritage of education for all the people. A century ago, the Michigan State College and the Pennsylvania State University were founded as the first of a group of uniquely new and evolutionary institutions of higher learning. These twin birthdays have been recognized by the issuance of a special commemorative U.S. postage stamp, dedicated to the two institutions and to the land-grant college idea as conceived in 1862 by Act of Congress.Read more »

Riding The Circuit With Lincoln

A new picture of prairie lawyers coping with bad roads and worse inns on the Illinois frontier, drawn from David Davis’ letters

One of the most important periods in the life of Abraham Lincoln was the time when he “rode the circuit” in central Illinois in the late 1840’s and early 1850’s. Prairie lawyers and court officials traveled together from one county seat to another for sessions of the circuit court, moving by atrocious frontier roads and stopping in inns, taverns and boarding houses where accommodation was not always of the best.Read more »

The Speech That Made The Man

Lincoln’s oration at New York’s Cooper Union showed that the prairie lawyer could play in the big leagues

On the frigid and stormy evening of February 27, 1860, so the newspapers reported, Abraham Lincoln climbed onto the stage of the cavernous Great Hall of New York’s newest college, Cooper Union, faced a room overflowing with people, and delivered the most important speech of his life. Read more »

If Lincoln Hadn’t Died...

Would the disastrous Reconstruction era have taken a different course?

What would have happened had Abraham Lincoln not been assassinated? Every time I lecture on Lincoln, the Civil War, or Reconstruction, someone in the audience is sure to pose this question—one, of course, perfectly natural to ask but equally impossible to answer. This has not, however, deterred historians from speculating about this “counterfactual” problem.

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Lincoln And The Navy

The president takes charge and directs a successful amphibious landing at Hampton Roads

In May 1862, two months after the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack ) fought to a draw in Hampton Roads, Virginia, President Abraham Lincoln traveled south from Washington on a revenue cutter to visit the Army of the Potomac, intending to prod his recalcitrant general, George B. McClellan, into action. The president took with him Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and Gen.Read more »

Lincoln The Orator

Our most talented writer-president always wrote his own material and sweated hours over it

On February 27, 1860, Abraham Lincoln stood before a crowd of 1,500 at Cooper Union Hall in New York City. Until he had declared his candidacy for President of the United States, the former one-term Congressman had drawn little attention outside his home state of Illinois. Now the rail-thin prairie lawyer attracted a sizeable audience, including the “pick and flower of New York culture,” along with an army of journalists eager to record and reprint his words. Read more »