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

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  534 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
"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 suitability for the presidency ...more
Published April 27th 2004 by Simon & Schuster
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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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Feb 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 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
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book that tells the story of one of Lincoln's most successful (but as Holzer notes, least quoted) speeches. At this point in his political career, Lincoln was something of an also-ran when people talked about who the nominee would be for the Republicans in the upcoming 1860 election. The frontrunner was New York's own William Seward. This was Lincoln's first chance to speak to an eastern audience.

Fun facts about like that Lincoln's original invitation was to give his speech in Brook
Nathan Albright
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Joseph Iliff
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jacob Lines
Apr 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Don Dennis
Jun 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 . . .
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
David Herbert Donald's life work on Lincoln left us with a definitive and dispassionate biography that refused to glorify or demonize a president that society views emotionally, rather than objectively. Donald's greatest literary and historical accomplishment was rewriting Lincoln's two century old history as history. Donald's understudy, Harold Holzer, who worked closely with him until his death, is now the most important Lincoln historian alive today.

Holzer doesn't write over the ground that
Jul 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a look inside an extremely brief week in Lincoln's New York visit that left him exhausted without sleep. first the invitation to speak at a church turned out to be not an assembly of church goers in pews, but rather twisted in a turn-about, a large assembly auditorium filled with the intellectual elite of the city. the contrast of a hick persona amidst the polished educated thinkers and leaders of the day faded quickly to the credit of the audience as Lincoln's straight forward speech revealed h ...more
Jun 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lincoln: great fucking guy. Also lied about payments made for speeches.
Thomas Rush
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Mecca of New York looms large in the American consciousness for a variety of reasons. It's “The Big Apple,” “The City-That-Never-Sleeps,” and so much more. One of the reasons that it looms so large is the fact that its 10 million inhabitants makes it one of The World's most populous cities, and that, in the most powerful nation on Earth.
It's a complicated city, that has both in its spiritual and material resources, something to please any and everyone. There is nothing that cannot be found
Vincent Li
I consider myself a relatively boring person, in that I find interest in niche and obscure topics. Being a relatively boring person, I found this book...pretty boring. It has nothing to do with Holzer's writing or research, which is actually pretty thorough and rigorous. I'm impressed by Holzer's study of meteorological reports, and old train schedules.

At points the book does seem to be on such a niche topic that its length needs to be inflated. For example, there's substantial sections tied to
Dec 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Grady McCallie
Jun 08, 2015 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
William Monaco
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
Glenn Robinson
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
A surprisingly great read about the narrow topic of Abraham Lincoln's speech at Cooper Union in 1860. The book is very well written, and does a great job of telling the story of Lincoln, the country, and the politics of the time period. The book gives the reader great details about life at the time and how Lincoln was as a person, but not too much detail was any of it was simply filler. The speech itself plays center stage, and the close look at it is well worth the read. Overall a fantastic boo ...more
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.
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
David Carlson
Feb 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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.
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