Act 1, Scene 1
• Abe Lincoln in Illinois portrays Lincoln in the years before he was elected President. The play follows his development from an uneducated backwoods young man to a self-educated, successful politician.
• His teacher, Mentor Graham, recognizes an intensity and hunger for learning in Lincoln that is unusual.
• In Act 1, Scene 1, Graham uses a speech by Daniel Webster to teach Lincoln the finer points of the imperative mood in grammar.
• Graham also has Lincoln read Webster's speech out loud, as though he were actually delivering the sentiments.
• In this way, the teacher cultivates Lincoln's great speech-making ability.
• In their discussion, Lincoln brings up his conviction that he will always be in debt.
• Graham suggests Lincoln might consider politics as a profession. Lincoln recoils at the idea of moving to a city and interacting with crowds.
• Graham is intrigued by the apparent contradictions in Lincoln's personality. He is both...
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