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Congressman Lincoln

3.94 of 5 stars 3.94  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  11 reviews
The “gifted young historian” (Richard Norton Smith) who gave us Founding Rivals, Chris DeRose delivers the first fully realized portrait of Abraham Lincoln’s ambitious and controversial early political career, and his surprising ascendancy that was both historic and far from inevitable. In 1847, Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington in near anonymity. After years of outman ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Threshold Editions
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A solid introduction to an often-neglected chapter of Lincoln's life.

Lincoln served only one two-year term as a Whig in the House of Representatives, but this is a period worth learning from. Lincoln dealt with a bitterly divided do-nothing Congress, an aggressive war started on false pretenses, the great crime of slavery (to which he was already staunchly opposed), and the acquisition of the Oregon Territory.

I found the fights over his "Spot Resolutions" as especially interesting. President Po
As the title indicates, this book treats Abraham Lincoln's activities as a US Representative in the 30th Congress (1847-1849). The author of this book, who is basically a political consultant, can't write to save his life. The book is just a jumble of facts, with no analysis to speak of, and often there seems to be no rhyme or reason to what appears, much less any indication of a broader understanding of the political and historical significance of the facts. Some paragraphs are just one sentenc ...more
David Kent
Author Chris DeRose takes a more detailed look at a period in Abraham Lincoln's life that is normally glossed over in other biographies - his single term as a U.S. Congressman. The first few chapters highlight the political status of the time, as well as the political wrangling between different factions both within and external to the Whig party. The book goes into various aspects of the key question of the day, slavery. Doing so makes it clear that the post-Civil War reinvention of history to ...more
A decently informative look into Lincoln's single term as a Congressman in the 30th Congress. It's interesting as it focuses on Lincoln as Whig Party man rather than Lincoln as Commander in Chief or Lincoln the Emancipator. Lincoln the office seeker is a more human and openly political animal and DeRose does a decent job of taking the reader through his attempts at securing party unity and viable Whig candidates.

Any book about Congress inevitably gets bogged down in procedural and parliamentary
Congressman Lincoln: The Making of America’s Greatest President, by Chris DeRose (2013) is among the latest and most engaging historical studies of Lincoln’s path to the Presidency. With only eight years as an Illinois State Representative (1834-1842) and one two year term in the U.S. House of Representatives (1847-49), Abraham Lincoln came to the presidency with rather sparse credentials. The author presents a detailed, but highly readable and informative study of Lincoln’s political battles to ...more
Stephanie McCown
Much has been written about Abraham Lincoln's time as president, but remarkably little has been written about his time as a congressman. It was this time in congress that helped shape his presidency, but it is chronically overlooked. I really enjoyed this book because it shared the story of what would serve as Lincoln's run-up to his candidacy for and ultimate election as President of the United States. Lincoln has always been a force to be reckoned with, and he was no less so as a congressman t ...more
Yosef Shapiro
This book covers an often neglected period of Abraham Lincoln's life. The author points out that only two books have been written about this period of Lincoln's life. So, it is an often overlooked period of his life. He was only in Congress for one term. But during that time, he made friends with many people that would play important roles in his administration. He was able to watch President Polk's administration and learned a lot from the way it operated. He also become well known around the ...more
Chris DeRose's presentation on "pre-presidential" Lincoln adds a significant context to his life and the background he brought to the extraordinarily troubled country (to say the least) as president. Though not a Washington insider, like Seward, Lincoln became acquainted with many of the major players in the upheaval of the 1860's during his time in Congress a dozen years earlier. DeRose brings this experience to light with his wonderful storytelling abilities.
The first part of the book is a slog as we go through the minutiae of Illinois politics that got Lincoln elected, but once Abe gets to DC, it really picks up. Abe's term didn't have a huge historical impact, but there was ample prelude to the coming war, the current war, and many of the political personalities of the day. And in his spare time, Lincoln invented a device that would make him the first and only president ever to hold a patent.
I love reading about Abraham Lincoln, but this is a little too focused on one aspect of his life -- 1847-1849, his years in Congress. I did read the first couple of chapters, but quickly lost interest.
Very interesting. Chris used some great sources and I thoroughly enjoyed learning about Lincoln's days in the House.
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