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Lincoln at Cooper Union: The Speech That Made Abraham Lincoln President

4.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  449 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Lincoln at Cooper Union explores Lincoln's most influential and widely reported pre-presidential address -- an extraordinary appeal by the western politician to the eastern elite that propelled him toward the Republican nomination for president. Delivered in New York in February 1860, the Cooper Union speech dispelled doubts about Lincoln's suita
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Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Simon & Schuster (first published April 27th 2004)
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Glenn Robinson I greatly enjoyed it-twice. Lincoln is much more deeper than most of us realize. In light of the 2016 campaign, I think Lincoln would be very thrilled…moreI greatly enjoyed it-twice. Lincoln is much more deeper than most of us realize. In light of the 2016 campaign, I think Lincoln would be very thrilled with the need to have a strong strategy, a deep network and a rewards systems. This book showed the power of the speech, the willingness to take a stand and stick to it and the willingness to work hard in the back rooms.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,142)
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Joe
Dec 04, 2013 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A few months back I had finished Harold Holzer's "Lincoln: President-Elect" and therefore anticipated another five stars. I was not disappointed. If I were to read these two books again however, I would read this book first.

Lately, I have been trying to better familiarize myself with some of the most important documents and speeches of our nation's history, and Lincoln's Cooper Union ranks pretty close to the top. Lincoln basically summarizes the north/south conflict with slavery, and presents h
...more
Brent
Aug 10, 2013 Brent rated it it was amazing
An awesome book that I've now read twice: once a few years ago and now a second time after borrowing it from my son (conveniently I gave it to him ). It is not simply a discussion of the speech at New York's Cooper Union that helped Lincoln become nominated and elected, but almost a biography of Lincoln covering the time period from October 1859 until his election in November 1860. Besides including the entire speech in an appendix and using a chapter to discuss and analyze the speech, there are ...more
Donna
Feb 02, 2009 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Lincoln's speeches
Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union was the event which secured him the Republican nomination in 1860. This speech was unlike many of his prior ones in that he did much more research and used a lot of statistics to prove his his point that the founders intended slavery to be "in the course of ultimate extinction." It was an overwhelming success in front of a sophisticated New York City audience. The other important event of this trip was a Matthew Brady portrait which became the iconic image for th ...more
David Myers
Aug 22, 2015 David Myers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Lincoln's Cooper Union Speech is arguably his most famous speech that most of us know nothing about. His speech at Coopers Union elucidated his overall positions on the most important issue of the time. In a time when news traveled in days or weeks Lincoln's speech traveled by newspaper and a (bestselling) pamphlet. His major stances were laid out and informed the voting public ( white men)of Republican positions. This famous address was to a large extent responsible for Lincoln's election to th ...more
Jim
Mar 03, 2016 Jim rated it really liked it
I think that I have read more books about Lincoln and the Civil War period than just about any other topic and that is since I was a kid reading the Chicago Tribune with its daily article about what had happened 100 years before...this was during the Civil War Centennial of 1961-65! So this is yet another Lincoln book. But it was interesting to me as it focused on one crucial event in Lincoln's life. That is the speech Lincoln delivered at the Great Hall of Cooper Union in New York City in Febr ...more
Nathan Albright
Jan 14, 2016 Nathan Albright rated it it was amazing
This book corrects what is a curious and unfortunate lacuna in the historical record about Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, and that is the absence of a substantial work on the Cooper Union Address, one of the most famous speeches hardly anyone has ever read. It is curious that given the huge attention the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln commands that this is the first full-length book ever that deals with the first and only major speech given by Abraham Lincoln during the entire 1860 presidential camp ...more
Joseph Iliff
Mar 07, 2015 Joseph Iliff rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this examination of Lincoln work at Cooper Union. Holzer has placed the book within the historical context in which it was arranged, delivered, and later remembered. There are a ton of details, but none that I can think of that I deemed unnecessary. Each of them is woven into a tapestry of how this one speech, on one day, changed Lincoln, and subsequently America. Holzer makes a compelling case that Lincoln stepped out on the stage at Cooper Union like a unassuming batter steppi ...more
Bill
Jul 03, 2011 Bill rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
In this book the author makes a convincing argument that this speech helped to make Lincoln president. More important he provides good evidence that without this speech and everything that grew out of it Lincoln would not even have been nominated.
The author makes good use of the different sources available in telling the story in chronological fashion. The use of letters, newspaper headlines and quoted dialog provide a variety that gives some pace to narrative history that some authors make dull
...more
Jacob Lines
Apr 17, 2015 Jacob Lines rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Abraham Lincoln’s speech at the Cooper Union in 1860 turned him into a serious presidential candidate. This book is a marvelous look at the speech’s content, context, and effect. It starts with the invitation to speak and follows Lincoln as he prepares the speech, travels to New York, and gives the speech. As it does, Holzer explains the issues of the day – the problems, the proposed solutions, and the differences between parties and leaders within parties. Then he offers a detailed description ...more
Chelsea
Aug 21, 2013 Chelsea rated it it was amazing
I loved this. Harold Holzer, another brilliant Lincoln historian (if you need proof, he was one of the on-call references for the recent Lincoln movie by Spielberg), narrates the events surrounding Lincoln's masterful Cooper Union speech. This is one of Lincoln's most famous speeches, because it propelled him into the limelight of politics and essentially secured his place on the Republican ballot in 1860, which then led to his election. If you're interested in history, especially the history an ...more
Kathleen
Aug 14, 2013 Kathleen rated it really liked it
A fantastic story that I had never heard before. All historians should read this book; not only because of the interesting subject, but because of the writing style. This book is a perfect example of how history should be recorded. The book was part of a required reading list in my historical methods class.
Richard Campbell
Sep 03, 2013 Richard Campbell rated it it was amazing
Fascinating minute-by-minute account of Lincoln's travel to NYC for his "Cooper Union" speech, a final rebuttal to the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and the response that essentially won him the Presidency. Detailed and engrossing.
Rod Zemke
Aug 20, 2009 Rod Zemke rated it it was amazing
This is a clssic for anyone who wants to have more than a beginners knowledge of American History. The book is well written by an eminent Lincoln scholar who is not an academic--sometimes the best combination.
Wendy
Sep 27, 2008 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: civil-war, history
Holzer is an engaging author. His narrative focuses mainly on Lincoln's speech and a Matthew Brady photograph, yet he crafts a compelling story. But, then again, I'm a bit of a Lincoln nerd . . .
Don Dennis
Jun 01, 2013 Don Dennis rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: many friends
Fascinating delineation of the lead-up to the most important speech Lincoln ever made. A real nugget of a book.
Steve
Dec 10, 2012 Steve rated it really liked it
The speech Lincoln gave at New York's Cooper Institute in February of 1860 made him President. Harold Holzer tells the story of how Lincoln came to be invited to make this trip East, his research into the speech, and its immediate and longer-term aftereffects. He also includes the speech itself, of course, and good analysis of what was in the speech and why it was so important.

The speech had three parts: the first was an answer to some comments Stephen Douglas had made about the founders and sla
...more
Glenn Robinson
Jun 07, 2015 Glenn Robinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book based on the famous speech that Lincoln made before the primaries in Manhattan-the large amount of research Lincoln put into the writing, the structure of the speech and the speech itself. A good description of what happened afterwards and how this speech was put into print both in the newspapers and pamphlets. William Seward was the front runner and Abe was a long shot from Illinois, yet this speech helped build his name in New England and elsewhere. Ironically, in the general elections, ...more
Grady McCallie
Aug 16, 2015 Grady McCallie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a smartly-paced, narrative history of Lincoln's February 27, 1860 speech at the Cooper Union in New York, which - along with the following two weeks of repeating much of the speech all over New England - turned him from a western regional candidate into a national candidate for the Presidency in the 1860 election. The book includes a text of the speech, assembled from four different printed versions, as an appendix, and that is worth reading first. The author has a tendency to say what ...more
Neill Goltz
Jul 02, 2015 Neill Goltz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Civil War buffs
Shelves: civil-war
Fabulous scholarship on what most folk would think of as a little-known or not-often-considered part of the amazing story of Lincoln.

The Civil War is one thing, his pursuit of ascent to the presidency another.

A must read for any Civil War buff.
David Carlson
Feb 02, 2015 David Carlson rated it really liked it
This book shows that Lincoln went to the core of slavery and states rights with a careful examination of both what the founders said and how they voted. Unlike Gettysburg, this is Lincoln the Lawyer making his case.
William Monaco
Apr 23, 2016 William Monaco rated it really liked it
Having read about Lincoln's Cooper Union as a side note in many books, I was excited to read Holzer's book dedicated to the speech and it did not disappoint! The book is excellent and puts Lincoln's speech perfectly in context of the months leading up to the 1860 Republican Convention. I learned a lot about Lincoln I never knew before. My only complaint is that it doesn't delve into the speech as much as I was hoping it would. That said, it includes the entire speech at the end and offers great ...more
Russell
Apr 13, 2008 Russell rated it liked it
Everything a history buff needs to get to know how Lincoln came up with the message being sent in his famous Cooper Union speech. The research that went into this book is incredible, but the content is somewhat dry for those who aren't absolutely in love with Lincoln. I, myself, have a great appreciation for all of Lincoln's work but lost interest a few times while reading the book. Most importantly there is valuable information abound in this book.
Gabriel
Mar 06, 2013 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this book! It was interesting to learn about this speech and how it brought Lincoln from a backwoods long shot, not even in the minds of the eastern Republicans, to being able to upset William Seward in achieving the nomination for the Republican Party in 1860. Highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn about the more intellectual and cunning side of Lincoln.
Alyson Bowers
I would need to read this book again, because I got very interrupted while I was reading it. It did fascinate me the speech debate with Stephen Douglas, and his speech that he gave at Cooper Union. It was a very powerful speech to read, evening reading.
Michael Armstrong
Sep 05, 2011 Michael Armstrong rated it it was amazing
Anyone who is interested in Lincoln will find this a good read. Lincoln in all his homespun aura understood more than anyone the importance of celebrity and his image to the masses. This speech put him over the top. I'm going to read it again.
Tomk
Jan 07, 2013 Tomk rated it really liked it
A good read and very informative. Little has been made about this speech up until now which is curious given the attention it received in the aftermath. A good image of 19th century New York...
Dorothy
Apr 27, 2009 Dorothy rated it it was ok
Shelves: lincoln
Aside from the details of poor old Abe's frumpy wardrobe in NYC, there isn't much in this book that would be new to even a casual Lincoln reader. This one is strictly for die-hard fans only.
Wayne Jr.
Excellent! Not only gave great insight into Lincoln's character before his election, but is a wonderful snapshot into America in 1860.
Brandon
Dec 09, 2008 Brandon marked it as to-read
Shelves: i-own
I've started this a couple times, but haven't gotten around to finishing it.
Maire
Jul 28, 2009 Maire marked it as to-read
I've read the speech; curious about the book.
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