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PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 1. A. LINCOLN ~ CHAPTERS 1-3 (3 - 42) (11/01/09 - 11/07/09) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 13, 2009 04:56AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
A. Lincoln A Biography by Ronald C. White Jr.

This is the reading assignment for week one - (November 1, 2009 to November 7, 2009):

Chapters 1 - 3: (pages 3 - 42)

A. Lincoln and the Promise of America - page 3

Undistinguished Families: 1809-12 - page 7

Persistent in Learning: 1816-30 - page 23


Hello Everyone,


We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book will be kicked off on November 1st.

We look forward to your participation. Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

Since we will not be starting this book until November 1st, there is still some advance time remaining to obtain the book and get started.

There is no rush and we are thrilled to have you join us. It is never too late to get started and/or to post.

For those of you who would like to kick this book off early, please be my guest; however this thread is only dedicated to pages 3 - 42 (Chapters 1 - 3) (so no spoilers beyond those pages).

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Author's Link:

Ronald C. White Jr.


message 2: by Joe (last edited Nov 01, 2009 11:29AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Well, it's November 1st, and I have been waiting for this discussion to begin for quite some time.

Chapter 1 begins with a broad overview of Abraham Lincoln himself, how he signed his name, his nicknames, what he looked like, and broadly how he was defined by himself and by others. Basically, White suggests why each generation since his death has had to re-examined Lincoln, and how that examination defines all of us.

Chapter 2 begins with one of Lincoln's most quoted pieces, "It is a great piece of folly to attempt to make anything out of my early life." While not saying very much, he clearly expresses emphases on the view that his early life was not something he was comfortable describing.

White then begins telling us about Lincoln's first American ancestor, Samuel Lincoln, and his journey to America from England during "the Great Migration" in 1637. He describes the continued theme that the "American Lincolns" moved from England, and didn't stop migrating west with each successive generation.

A most unfortunate event occurred to Samuel's grandson, Captain Abraham Lincoln, the future President's grandfather. He was shot dead in front of his children by a native American Indian in 1786. While Lincoln's young father Thomas, who was 6 years old at the time, was weeping over his dead father, his brother Mordecai shot the Indian and killed the assailant. This event shaped the future President's father's life like no other could. Thomas Lincoln, the future Presidents' father, was only six years old when his father died before his eyes. His life without a father and with his oldest brother, Mordecai, managing their father's estate, would now be lived out in different conditions from his forbears. (pg 13)

White, in the next paragraph, states that Thomas Lincoln has been described as not having a home and was in great need of support, (Lincoln described his father "in childhood" as a "wandering, laboring boy.") but White explains that he did have his mother's relatives, who did reach out to help. We can only wonder how Thomas, being a witness to his father's killing, and forced with the burden of the absence of his father's guidance, could have been different without this tragedy, thereby changing the future events to come.


message 3: by Joe (last edited Nov 01, 2009 12:56PM) (new)

Joe (blues) Chapter 2 continues with more details about Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas, quickly examining his upbringing. He eventually grew more independent, purchased land, started a family, and moved farther west. White then states that Abraham Lincoln was born on February 12th, 1809, "in the name of his assassinated grandfather." pg 16

"Abraham Lincoln came of age amid a growing controversy over slavery in Kentucky," White explains on page 17. Giving stark example, explaining that the Baptist church his parent's were attending just before he was born "burst apart in debate over slavery." pg 18.

Lincoln's early childhood, and first schooling is then described. Chapter 3 begins as Thomas and his family are again uprooted, moving into Indiana by flatboat. Lincoln begins to grow up as a strong young man, helping his father fell trees and work on the farm.

Yet another tragic event, further altering forever the life of this Lincoln family, Thomas Sparrow and his wife Elizabeth, cousins on his mother's side who lived with the Lincoln's at the time, died of the "milk sick", "a disease contracted from drinking the milk of a cow who had ingested a poisonous white snakeroot plant." pg 27 And not to end there, Abraham Lincoln's own mother, Nancy Hank Lincoln, succumb as well a little while later. Abraham was just 9 years old when his mother died.

These combined events of loss and tragedy, while both father and son were very young, must have had a huge and lasting influence on these two men and their family. A deeper understanding of these events and how they influenced Abraham Lincoln must not be underestimated.


message 4: by James (new)

James | 34 comments I believe Lincoln handle a lot of this tragedy by turning inward thereby becoming a self made intellectual. I have seen this approach happen in my own family. White's chapter on the early Lincoln family to me was most fascinating. Something that Lincoln tried to find out but failed to do. I think if Lincoln really knew his heritage he would have been very proud. He would have used it in his speeches to his advantage too.



message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Glad to see you guys are off and running on the first three chapters. I will open up the other chapter groupings tomorrow. Back in the UK.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
James wrote: "I believe Lincoln handle a lot of this tragedy by turning inward thereby becoming a self made intellectual. I have seen this approach happen in my own family. White's chapter on the early Lincoln f..."

James, you raise an interesting point; my feeling was that Lincoln always looked withdrawn and someone who may have had some self esteem issues along with some depressive qualities.



message 7: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Chapter 2 continues with more details about Abraham Lincoln's father, Thomas, quickly examining his upbringing. He eventually grew more independent, purchased land, started a family, and moved fart..."

The story about his assassinated grandfather is spooky. But all of the other tragic events which shaped his young life also must have taken its toll.




message 8: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) I wonder if Lincoln became a better man because of the turmoil in his family. But on the flip side of that, society in general was more synthesized to Indian attacks and fatal illnesses because it was much more common back then.


message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "I wonder if Lincoln became a better man because of the turmoil in his family. But on the flip side of that, society in general was more synthesized to Indian attacks and fatal illnesses because it ..."

That is true; it is hard to separate what the collective whole was going through versus individuals and their families like Lincoln.




message 10: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) After Nancy Hanks Lincoln's death, young Abraham Lincoln and his family was without a mother figure for little over a year. His father Thomas then went back to Kentucky with the intention of returning with a wife.

Upon their return, Sara Bush Lincoln filled a gap at the family farm by not only making the living conditions relatively a bit more comfortable, but also encouraging young Abraham's education. But Abraham's relationship with his father was rumoured to have been strained.

While Lincoln was working hard on the family farm and hired out to do more work by his father, he read everything that he could get his hands on. He attended school, and began studying all kinds of literature including, Aesop's Fables, Robinson Crusoe, The Arabian Nights, and William Grimshaw's History of the United States. Lincoln, and I'm sure everyone around him, started to recognise that he was quite different than his peers.

In the fall of 1828, at the age of 19, Lincoln was invited to help sell a cargo of goods by flatboat to New Orleans. When he arrived, he saw first-hand the slaves being bought and sold at market. This scene made a lasting impression on this young man.

Thomas Lincoln moved again further west during the winter of 1830 to Decatur, Illinois. After helping his father move and fell trees to build a new cabin, Abraham made his first speech in front of Renshaw's store on Decatur's town square. Abraham, now 21 years old, legally was able to leave home and start out on his own.


message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Lincoln was lucky to have Sarah. She seemed to support his education and Lincoln also had a natural intelligence. Andrew Jackson did not have a good education and regretted his lack of it all his life. He did read a bit, but not like Lincoln.


message 12: by James (new)

James | 34 comments Bryan wrote: "Lincoln was lucky to have Sarah. She seemed to support his education and Lincoln also had a natural intelligence. Andrew Jackson did not have a good education and regretted his lack of it all his..."

Absolutely! Clearly if she did not encourage him, who would have, his father? No way. Young minds need guidance. There is always that guiding light in the background for those that really succeed. I suspect that it was Sarah for Lincoln.


message 13: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) I wish that so much of Lincoln's early life wasn't lost to history. But what we do have is mainly due to the thanks of his law partner William Herndon. His biography of Lincoln, remains "the most influential biography of Lincoln ever published. ...Not for it's accuracy and completeness, but because Herndon had a privileged position and point of view that can not be rendered obsolete." Herndon actually knew Lincoln as a close friend.

Source: Editor's Introduction to Herndon's Lincoln. pg xxxv

I also own Herndon's Informants: Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln. It "makes available for the first time in complete and accessible form the most important source of information on Lincoln's early life. For twenty-five years after the president's death William Herndon, his law partner, conducted interviews with and solicited letters from dozens of persons who knew Lincoln personally."

Both of these volumes are published by the University of Illinois Press. They were edited by Rodney O. Davis and Douglas L. Wilson, co-directors of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College. "Wilson and Davis have contributed significantly to the rise in quantity and quality of Lincoln scholarship."

Source: http://www.knox.edu/Academics/Distinc...

Herndon's Informants Letters, Interviews, and Statements about Abraham Lincoln by Rodney O. Davis Herndon's Lincoln (Knox College Lincoln Studies Center) by William H. Herndon


message 14: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Well I must say that I like the way Joe lays out what has happened in a concise way for consideration point by point.
I see the Lincoln family as both ambitious and industrious including Lincoln's father Thomas and I fail to understand Lincoln's seemingly lack of recognition of his father's accomplishments and his position in the church if not the community.
The loss of family must have been difficult but it was certainly a factor of daily life much more thatn we feel - I recall in Ambrose's Undaunted Courage he notes that Lewis before leaving realized that he might never again see his mother for example in going on a long trip.
What does strike me is the independent spirit the Lincoln family had in moving on. Certianly not an option for the Linncoln's that Samuel left behind when he came to the new world.
It is interesting to have it pointed out that although one could attend church one couls not necessarily join easily.
Also that Lincoln could stand away from the crowd and not, with the rest of his family, join the church they attended.
Also I note that Lincoln's physical strength and abilities in a time when this especailly on the frontier would greatly contribute to how a man is regarded was probably a key ingredient for this less educated man to achieve his success. His height I am sure did not hurt either (I wonder what kind of background the shore Stephen Douglas came from and will look for that going forward) as it did not hurt the political ambitions of Washington, Jefferson, Jadckson also at least.
Lincoln knew real work - and was really a self made man.



message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Kudos Joe for all of the posting of such useful ancillary documents. They add so much to the discussion.

And Vince..I still cannot believe Lincoln's physical strength. When you see his photos, he looks like someone could just push him over with a fingertip. Looks are deceiving.


message 16: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments I meant the short Stephen Douglas and that the height of Washington, Jefferson, Jackson & Lincoln was an asset - just to clarify


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 11, 2009 05:32AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Vince, you can go in and edit your own posts. Just go to the particular post and select edit.

Here is particularly strange web site devoted to Lincoln and an authentication of what the site suspects was a picture of Lincoln as a young man. I can't see much of a resemblance but am posting it anyway:

http://www.lincolnportrait.com/index.asp

On his athleticism:

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.o...

http://www.abrahamlincolnsclassroom.o...

THE LINCOLN INSTITUTE:

http://www.abrahamlincoln.org/


message 18: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Thank-you, Vince and Bentley.

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how to best contribute to the discussion of Lincoln's early life other than to summarize interesting events. Right now, my ultimate goal in learning more about Lincoln is to better understand how his speeches and written word were developed throughout his life. And I assume as Lincoln gets older, our discussion will focus more on the meaning behind these events than the particular events themselves. We'll see how well that goes in the short time we have... Many scholars have devoted their whole lives studying this guy.


message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
I know Joe..some folks just hone in on one narrow subject and just go to town. Since I am interested in so many different historical people, places, and things..I could never have such a narrow focus.

You have a great goal in mind concerning Lincoln and whether his speeches emulate his life or vice versus. His speeches and what he wrote probably show exactly what he was thinking about; so that is a good place to begin.

Here is a quote for you: (just saw this on one of the sites that I posted)

"Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came."

Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865


message 20: by Joe (last edited Nov 11, 2009 06:27AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Yes! His Second Inaugural and his Gettysburg addresses are his crowning achievements. How did he come to write them, and why are they so important in how our country is defined?

I want a better understanding of these questions.

One of Ronald White's previous books that I have read was a very good starting point, but I definitely need more study.

Lincoln's Greatest Speech The Second Inaugural by Ronald C. White Jr.


message 21: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Although I havn't read it Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis E. Lehrman Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis E. Lehrman by Lewis Lehrman is a study in the turning point thta Lehrman saw for Lincoln at the time. Not just the speech but the shift in philopsophy - I saw him speak on the subject earlier this year at the New York Historical Society. (Bentley I tried to add the cover but it didn't work) I am so far behind in books on my "to read" shelf that I can't even think of it - that is the real shelf dedicated to books not they cyperspace one here on Goodreads


message 22: by Joe (last edited Nov 11, 2009 06:05AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Vince wrote: "Although I havn't read it Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis Lehrman is a study in the turning point thta Lehrman saw for Lincoln at the time. Not ..."

The book cover showed up just fine.. except there are two of them.

I do own that book and plan on reading it as well. Thanks for your insight, Vince.

That must have been an awesome lecture.



message 23: by James (new)

James | 34 comments Joe wrote: "Thank-you, Vince and Bentley.

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how to best contribute to the discussion of Lincoln's early life other than to summarize interesting events. Right now, my ultimate ..."


I have also picked up "Lincoln on Race & Slavery" by Gates. Gates provides full text to speeches and messages Lincoln wrote with his comments that show Lincoln's evolution in his thinking on slavery.



message 24: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 11, 2009 06:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Vince wrote: "Although I havn't read it Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis E. LehrmanLincoln at Peoria by Lewis E. Lehrman by Lewis Lehrman is a study in the turning point thta Lehrman saw for Lincoln at the time. Not ..."


You are doing a whole lot better Vince..when you try to add the book or author; there are two options at the bottom - one is link (the words of the title itself) and the other is cover (which shows the book cover) - make sure to check which one you have marked. Then do the add.

After you have added either the link or the cover; then at the top.. check on author and you will see a list of authors; you would choose the author for the specific book..and then you would once again look at the bottom - do you want the photo of the author which also links to their books or do you want just the link because the photo is not available. Once again check what you have selected at the bottom; make sure it is what you want and then add.

You know Lehrman's book is the one that I was asked to do the review on when I got a chance..of course I have been so busy..but I will get to it too. And like Joe said..you are making progress..but the book cover showed up fine.



message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
James wrote: "Joe wrote: "Thank-you, Vince and Bentley.

To be honest, I wasn't quite sure how to best contribute to the discussion of Lincoln's early life other than to summarize interesting events. Right now, ..."



That sounds like it is just up Joe's alley.




message 26: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Hi Guys
i decided to listen again to the first lecture of his some comments
1)Samuel 2) Guelyo says also that the first land adquired bz Samuel was by inheritance five years afer he arrived in America. 3)he says that Thomas had been picked up by the indian that killed Abraham before 4) he says that thomas neighbors thought of him as lazy white trash and Thomas problems in 5) INndiana offered Federal land grants which made holding title easier removing some challenges that Thomas faced in 6) the church that the lincoln family got into in Indiana was a Calvinist oriented church and this is part of the reason for Lincolns (Our Abe) love for Robert Burns who wrote with a negative eye towards the Calvinist churches in Scotland
7) 8) Although Thomas supported Lincoln going to school it just for rudimentary education and he tought when Abe could cipher up to the 3s it was enough
9) Thomas was not very literate
10) tHOMAS THOUGHT THAT TIME aBE SPENT NOT WORKING TO READ WAS A WASTE
just some comments
misspelling and upper cases and grammar attributed to the German keyboard

ps - i really have liked guelzo as a lecturer and have two of his teaching compnahy courses and one that he did part of. - check your library and try him if you can find him I think


message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 13, 2009 03:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Maybe that was one of the reasons for the tensions between father and son - the fact that Thomas did not encourage education among other things.

Here is a site which has a photo of Lincoln's mother and there is such a remakable sameness.

Cannot say the same thing about the step mother. Although she was kind and loving according all reports.

http://home.att.net/~rjnorton/Lincoln...

http://sc94.ameslab.gov/tour/alincoln...


message 28: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 13, 2009 04:06AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
The cast of characters introduced at the beginning is rather interesting:

Edward Dickinson Baker:

He was a close friend of Lincoln and served in the Illinois legislature with him. Lincoln named his second son after Baker. It is interesting that young Ned as they called Baker had a father who instilled in his son a love of education and self learning and a love of books. He was later nicknamed the old Grey eagle probably due to the color of his hair. Together with Lincoln, Baker was one of the founders of, and, thereafter, politically ran under the banner of the Republican Party. He was a Senator also from Oregon and was the only sitting Senator to be killed in the Civil War. Due to his military service, he was killed in action and buried at The Presidio.

It was during this time when Lincoln and Baker became close personal friends, a relationship which would continue until Baker's death. At times political rivals, Baker defeated Lincoln in a race for the 29th Congress in 1844. Ned and Abe maintained a friendship which transcended a usual lack of trusted confidants of great men. This was perhaps due to both of these men, with their common educational background, recognizing that "quality of greatness" in each other, and, although occasionally rivals as well as associates, saw no conflict in holding differing views. Lincoln named one of his sons, Edward Baker Lincoln, after his close friend.

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...

http://www.bakercounty.org/Facts_Hist...

http://wapedia.mobi/en/Edward_Dickins...

United States Senate biography:

http://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/h...

This was an interesting tidbit about the Senate and Baker's interesting distinction (an excerpt taken from the Senate piece)

"Eighty years later, during the early months of World War II, members of Congress began turning up in combat zones with their reserve units. Despite the appeal of having senators saluting generals, the War Department banned the active duty service of all members, preserving the dubious distinction of Senator Edward Dickinson Baker."


message 29: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Edward Bates was next:

Interestingly enough..he was one of the team of rivals.

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/i...

He became attorney general under Lincoln:

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/i...

"After Lincoln’s murder, Bates wrote in his diary that “besides a deep sense of the calamity which the nation has sustained, my private feelings are deeply moved by the sudden murder of my chief with and under whom I have served the country, through many difficult and trying scenes, and always with mutual sentiments of respect and friendship. I mourn his fall, both for the country and for myself.”

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...

The Diary Of Edward Bates 1859-1866 by Howard K. Beale

The Diary Of Edward Bates 1859-1866

Howard K. Beale

The United States Department of Justice site:

http://www.justice.gov/ag/aghistory/b...



message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 14, 2009 06:50PM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Montgomery Blair was next:

Mr. Lincoln's White House:

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/i...

Mr. Lincoln and Freedom:

http://www.mrlincolnandfreedom.org/in...

Mr. Lincoln and Friends:

htpp://www.mrlincolnandfriends.org/inside.as...

Wikipedia:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montgome...

Blair was the counsel for Plaintiff in the Dred Scott Case and was a Democrat who turned Republican because of the slavery issue.

His Obituary:

http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-...


message 31: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 18, 2009 05:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Noah Brooks was next:

Here is a very interesting personage:

Noah Brooks (October 25, 1830 – August 16, 1903) was a journalist and editor who worked for newspapers in Sacramento, San Francisco, Newark, and New York, and authored a major biography of Abraham Lincoln based on close personal observation.

Born in Castine, Maine, he moved to Dixon, Illinois in 1856, where he became involved in the first Republican campaign for President (John Frémont). During the campaign, he became friends with Lincoln. Brooks moved to Kansas in 1857 as a “free state” settler, but returned to Illinois about a year later, then moved to California in 1859.

After the death of his wife in 1862, Brooks moved to Washington, D.C. to cover the Lincoln administration for the Sacramento Daily Union. He was accepted into the Lincoln household as an old friend.

Unlike most people, Brooks was able to maintain a close friendship with both the President and Mrs. Lincoln. When Brooks was detailed to cover the 1864 Democratic Convention in Chicago, President Lincoln asked Brooks to also report back in detail by private letter.


Source: Wikipedia

Also wrote:

Washington In Lincoln's Time by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

The Story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Dover Books on Americana) by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

The Fairport Nine by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

"One of the members of The Fairport Nine was Sam Black, the only negro boy in “Fairport,” the “best of all the boys in town,” a good student, and, although there was a great gulf at that time between the fishermen's sons and those of the wealthier residents, a valued companion. Perhaps this friendship gave impetus to Brooks’ later interest in politics and the position of the political parties on slavery."

The Boy Emigrants (1877) by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

The Boy Settlers by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

First Across the Continent. The Story of The Exploring Expedition of Lewis and Clark in 1804-5-6 . by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

HENRY KNOX A Soldier of the Revolution, Major-General in the Continental Army and Washington's Chief of Artillery by Noah Brooks Noah Brooks

Brooks became a friend of the Lincoln family and a welcome visitor at the White House. He not only reported war and political events for the California paper-reports signed “Castine” and which gained him a reputation in the west — he also reported in person and by letter to Lincoln, giving candid information and impressions otherwise unobtainable.

In 1865 John Nickolay, Lincoln's private secretary was planning to go abroad and the post was offered to Noah Brooks — however before the change was made Lincoln was assassinated. Brooks was then appointed Naval Officer of San Francisco by President Johnson but, in a year and a half, was removed because of politics and turned again to newspaper work.


WILSON MUSEUM:

http://www.wilsonmuseum.org/bulletins...

MR. LINCOLN'S WHITEHOUSE:

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/i...

WORKS OF NOAH BROOKS ON PROJECT GUTENBERG (FREE ACCESS):

http://www.gutenberg.org/browse/autho...



message 32: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Nov 18, 2009 06:00AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Orville Hickman Browning was next:

He was a conservative Republican Senator from Illinois. His diary is a source of information on Lincoln.

Browning was born February 10, 1806 in Cynthiana, Kentucky. He was a veteran of the Black Hawk War. Browning was a Whig delegate to the anti-Nebraska convention held at Bloomington, Illinois, in May 1856. This convention laid the foundations of the Republican Party.

Browning was appointed to fill the U.S. Senate seat of Stephen A. Douglas after Douglas' untimely death. Browning's bid for re-election as Senator from Illinois failed in 1862, leaving Abraham Lincoln with no personal friends in Congress.

It was rumored that Lincoln was considering appointing Browning Secretary of the Interior to replace Caleb Blood Smith, but he did not become Secretary of the Interior until the Johnson administration.

President Andrew Johnson appointed him Secretary of the Interior serving from 1866 to 1869. Browning died August 10, 1881 and is buried in Woodland Cemetery, Quincy, Illinois.

In 1844, Browning successfully defended five men who had been accused of the murder of Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.


It was interesting that Lincoln did not have any personal friends in the Senate after Browning lost re-election.

SENATE BIOGRAPHY:

http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/...

Speech of Hon. O.H. Browning, of Illinois on the confiscation bill, delivered in the Senate of the United States, April 29, 1862. by Orville Hickman Browning Orville Hickman Browning

The Diary Of Orville Hickman Browning V1 1850-1864 by Theodore Calvin Pease Theodore Calvin Pease

MR. LINCOLN'S WHITE HOUSE:

http://www.mrlincolnswhitehouse.org/i...

FREE DOWNLOAD OF HIS DIARY:

http://www.archive.org/details/diaryo...

SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR BIOGRAPHY:

http://www.doi.gov/secretary/pastsecr...

OPEN LIBRARY:

http://openlibrary.org/b/OL6700506M/d...

LETTERS:

Abraham Lincoln and Mary Owen three letters, Lincoln to Mrs. O.H. Browning, I.N. Arnold to O.H. Br by Lincoln Abraham Abraham Lincoln

GRAVESITE:

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg....


message 33: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 01, 2009 07:04PM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
James awhile back you mentioned the following book...I added the book cover and author's link so your recommendation would not get lost. Please make sure to add both so members can access the links. This looks like a great addition.

[image error] Henry Louis Gates Jr.


message 34: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 01, 2009 09:28PM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
What struck me about the book you recommended is that it clearly discusses a question that White poses at the beginning of the book. "What did Lincoln really believe about slavery?" I asked myself that question too because White emphasized that Lincoln was "comfortable with ambiguity."

I was wondering James what was your take after reading the Gates book about how Lincoln evolved over time in terms of his views on slavery? And what were his decision points along the way? Were there different belief systems at different stages of his political career?


message 35: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 02, 2009 07:31AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe, I was thinking of some of the quotes that White used at the beginning of the book...

Walt Whitman saying that "Lincoln's face was so awful ugly it becomes beautiful".

and the one from The Treatise on Rhetoric by Aristotle that White used to describe Lincoln's quiet persuasiveness -

"Ethos or integrity is the key to persuasion." (reveals the moral center of the man)

or Lincoln's own quote in 1862 - "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate for the stormy present."

What did you think about some of these concepts introduced by White early on?

The Art of Rhetoric by Aristotle Aristotle

By the way for those interested, Barnes and Noble is offering a free download of Aristotle's work. You have to download some free software first; but after that the download is quite nice and better still FREE.

Here is the site: (it downloaded very well) but Hobbes notes seem to be interspersed.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Trea...




message 36: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe, another concept that I took notes on was White's remark or insinuation that Lincoln's presidency was considered by many to be the first "authoritarian imperial presidency"

I am wondering what your thoughts are on this assertion or what are the thoughts of others concerning White's introduction of that criticism early on.

Was it an observation or do you think he was just throwing that assessment out for conjecture?

What do you think are the pros and cons for both arguments: do you or others feel that yes, Lincoln's term of office was the first authoritarian imperial presidency; or do you and others feel that - no, that assertion is hogwash and that you are basically saying that nothing could be further from the truth and here is why.

I am really curious as to why White was teasing us with this concept.


message 37: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
I was trying to think of all the nicknames that Abraham Lincoln had and/or was dubbed by others and I have to admit that he seems to have been called more nicknames than any other president that I could recall and I wondered why.

Here are the ones that White mentioned:

Honest Abe
Black Republican
Rail Splitter
Father Abraham
The Great Emancipator
Old Abe

I am not sure if I forgot any; but if I missed any, what were the others?

White raised the specter of Stephen Douglas as someone that Lincoln was actually jealous of. Did you have that impression and why do you think this was the case?

The other theme that White seems to be very interested in dealt with the religious views of Lincoln in terms of how religious he really was or wasn't; since he never joined any church yet in his second inaugural address - he seemed to introduce some religious concepts/allusions.

What did you think about White's introduction of this theme so early on in his book?


message 38: by Joe (last edited Dec 02, 2009 07:50AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "Joe, another concept that I took notes on was White's remark or insinuation that Lincoln's presidency was considered by many to be the first "authoritarian imperial presidency"

I am wondering wh..."


Thanks for the question, Bentley.

I actually have been working on this same question in preparation for one of our future chapters. In relation to your question, we spend the day in NYC yesterday and attended the lecture hosted by Harold Holzer with James McPherson and Craig Symonds at the New York Historical Society about Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief. I was even lucky enough to be called upon to ask a question. Basically, I asked for comments on how Lincoln expanded the powers of the Executive branch, how he defended his actions, and how future Presidents used Lincoln's president to maintain a more powerful Executive branch of government in the future.

Also, the first chapter of James McPherson's book, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief does a great job in explaining just that.

Tried by War Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief by James M. McPherson James M. McPherson

I personally think that Lincoln laboriously and deliberately made certain (at least in his own mind) that his actions were within the limits of the laws given to him within the Constitution. Lincoln does make a very good case in defense of his actions, and James McPherson added to my understanding of this last night, but I would like to continue this conversation when we get to the chapters dealing the beginning of his Presidency.

Also, Holzer and McPherson both commented last night in response to my question that although Lincoln makes a compelling case for his actions, there have been only two wars since the Civil War in which Congress approved war beforehand. Lincoln certainly elevated the powers of the Executive Branch of government from his administration forward.


message 39: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 02, 2009 07:48AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
As long as we discuss this question (pro and con) because I think it is a concept that White did not introduce lightly I assume.

BTW..glad you enjoyed the program..could not get away.


message 40: by Joe (last edited Dec 02, 2009 08:19AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "As long as we discuss this question (pro and con) because I think it is a concept that White did not introduce lightly I assume.

BTW..glad you enjoyed the program..could not get away."


I am very much looking forward to discussing this question. As far as Lincoln is concerned, and how he made his decisions, I don't think there is a more important topic than this one.



message 41: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "The other theme that White seems to be very interested in dealt with the religious views of Lincoln in terms of how religious he really was or wasn't; since he never joined any church yet in his second inaugural address - he seemed to introduce some religious concepts/allusions.

What did you think about White's introduction of this theme so early on in his book?"


Without actually trying to answer your question, looking at White's resume, it appears that he is uniquely qualified to comment authoritatively on this subject.


message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 02, 2009 08:45AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Yes, I realize that he has done a lot of research in this area.

I would like to discuss religion in Lincoln's life (what kind of religious views he may and/or may not have had) Also did his religious views change over time; and/or during different periods of his life.

And why did he use religious allusions in his Second Inaugural if he was not a religious man since he did not even belong to a organized church.

I think the above is worth discussing since White raises the issues himself in chapter one - right from the get go.

I have posted some talks somewhere else regarding White's dispositions in the matters above (videos done by White) and they are worth discussing I think. And I did not want them to fall by the wayside. I think White introduced the "so called" big themes early on. But religion is most certainly one of those big ones.

Also the Stephen Douglas relationship (was Lincoln jealous of the man as White seems to think).

Just wanted to post some of the big themes that we did not mention early on so that we do not fail to discuss them at some point, etc. Just wanted to draw a line in the sand so to speak.



message 43: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
How did you enjoy the lecture...was it as good as it looked?


message 44: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "Yes, I realize that he has done a lot of research in this area.

I would like to discuss religion in Lincoln's life (what kind of religious views he may and/or may not have had) Also did his reli..."


Yes, how Lincoln viewed religion is a central theme of this book, and thank-you for mentioning it. There are so many topics to discuss in such a short time frame, but this one should not be forgotten. Indeed, in my opinion, one can not gain a full understanding of how Lincoln came to write his most famous speeches without understanding his views on religion.

As of right now, I have gotten the impression that Lincoln studied the scriptures with great passion. But whether or not that has anything to do with not having any other books available is still up for debate. Also, I seem to remember reading somewhere that Lincoln has gotten this reputation that he was not religious from the fact that he hadn't joined a church. BTW, one of his opponents in an early election for state office, I believe, brought this up to try to slander him. But I think that says more about how the churches were worshiping (or bickering amongst themselves) than about Lincoln's religious views themselves. He was a self taught man, and I think he was dissatisfied with the way some preached, and therefore became a very religious individual on his own accord. How could he have possibly written the Gettysburg and his Second Inaugural addresses without being a passionate religious person?


message 45: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Dec 02, 2009 10:33AM) (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
I wonder about the allusions in those great works too. Was he drawing upon religious epithets because he thought they were crowd pleasers or were they drawn from some deep religious conviction.

This is something I would like to understand as we read White's book. White was pretty deep into research regarding this so we should be able to have some pretty solid discussions regarding it.

Just wanted to put it on the table because it was introduced in Chapter One by White...I suspect in retrospect he was introducing his major themes.

Joe you are correct in that Lincoln never joined a church...but on the other hand I have not read anything about the fact that he got the reputation as not being religious because of that one reason. He may have been a privately spiritual man; but that would be a great discussion and I wonder what White will say about it if anything later on.


message 46: by Joe (last edited Dec 04, 2009 11:42AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "How did you enjoy the lecture...was it as good as it looked?"

The whole day yesterday turned out to be beyond my expectations. There is a Lincoln exhibit going until the end on March, and during our walk-through we saw Harold Holzer comment on a few of the displays. And the lecture was phenomenal. James McPherson was so impressive in the way he was able to effortlessly blurt out names and dates that relate to his points. He is such a gifted man who paid his dues. My only complaint would be that it was too short. Although I could have sat there listening to them all night.

Also, being there while they talked briefly to sign our books was a highlight as well. And I am so grateful that my copy of Battle Cry of Freedom is now personally signed.

[image error]
Howard Holzer


message 47: by Joe (last edited Dec 02, 2009 10:53AM) (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "I wonder about the allusions in those great works too. Was he drawing upon religious epithets because he thought they were crowd pleasers or were they drawn from some deep religious conviction.

T..."


I wouldn't say he never joined a church. I do remember reading that he did join one when he was President. But I do think that he considered the act of joining a church as not something that was necessary or important. It was what was inside that mattered.

And I also didn't want to suggest that his religious reputation was derived from only that one indecent, but I do think that's where it originated. I'll see if I can find the page number tonight. And, I think it's hard for us to accurately interpret Lincoln's religious views today because in Lincoln's time, religion was a much different thing back then. I think we need to take that into consideration somehow as well. This subject isn't something I'm strong on, so I would love your input, or that of others.


message 48: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "How did you enjoy the lecture...was it as good as it looked?"

The whole day yesterday turned out to be beyond my expectations. There is a Lincoln exhibit going until the end on Mar..."


I am so glad it was so worthwhile..I guess we could thank Vince for the announcement in advance.




message 49: by Joe (new)

Joe (blues) Bentley wrote: "Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "How did you enjoy the lecture...was it as good as it looked?"

The whole day yesterday turned out to be beyond my expectations. There is a Lincoln exhibit going until th..."


Yes, major kudos to Vince. A big high five at that!



message 50: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44128 comments Mod
Joe wrote: "Bentley wrote: "I wonder about the allusions in those great works too. Was he drawing upon religious epithets because he thought they were crowd pleasers or were they drawn from some deep religiou..."

But that act in and of itself suggests some political pressure...would be interesting to peel away the onion and find out the skinny on his true religious views.

Possibly James or Bryan or Vince might have some additional input but I will see what I can come up with.

It is a great topic I think for White to introduce.




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