Abraham Lincoln eBook

George Haven Putnam
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 609 pages of information about Abraham Lincoln.
experience of later times have been likely to do so.  Yet if he reflected much on forms of government it was with a dominant interest in something beyond them.  For he was a citizen of that far country where there is neither aristocrat nor democrat.  No political theory stands out from his words or actions; but they show a most unusual sense of the possible dignity of common men and common things.  His humour rioted in comparisons between potent personages and Jim Jett’s brother or old Judge Brown’s drunken coachman, for the reason for which the rarely jesting Wordsworth found a hero in the “Leech-Gatherer” or in Nelson and a villain in Napoleon or in Peter Bell.  He could use and respect and pardon and overrule his far more accomplished ministers because he stood up to them with no more fear or cringing, with no more dislike or envy or disrespect than he had felt when he stood up long before to Jack Armstrong.  He faced the difficulties and terrors of his high office with that same mind with which he had paid his way as a poor man or navigated a boat in rapids or in floods.  If he had a theory of democracy it was contained in this condensed note which he wrote, perhaps as an autograph, a year or two before his Presidency:  “As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master.  This expresses my idea of democracy.  Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy.—­A.  LINCOLN.”



A complete bibliography of books dealing specially with Lincoln, and of books throwing important light upon his life or upon the history of the American Civil War, cannot be attempted here.  The author aims only at mentioning the books which have been of greatest use to him and a few others to which reference ought obviously to be made.

The chief authorities for the life of Lincoln are:—­

“Abraham Lincoln:  A History,” by John G. Nicolay and John Hay (his private secretaries), in ten volumes:  The Century Company, New York, and T. Fisher Unwin, London; “The Works of Abraham Lincoln” (i. e., speeches, letters, and State papers), in eight volumes:  G. Putnam’s Sons, London and New York; and, for his early life, “The Life of Abraham Lincoln,” by Herndon and Weik:  Appleton, London and New York.

There are numerous short biographies of Lincoln, but among these it is not invidious to mention as the best (expressing as it does the mature judgment of the highest authority) “A Short Life of Abraham Lincoln,” by John G. Nicolay:  The Century Company, New York.

The author may be allowed to refer, moreover, to the interest aroused in him as a boy by “Abraham Lincoln,” by C. G. Leland, in the “New Plutarch Series”:  Marcus Ward & Co., London; and to the light he has much later derived from “Abraham Lincoln,” by John T. Morse, Junior:  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A.

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Abraham Lincoln from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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