Lincoln in His Own Words
2009 marked Lincoln’s bicentenniel. In recognition of this, I started reading some of the speeches from before his election (Library of America’s 2 volume Speeches and Writings). At first, I flipped around, almost at random. But as I started approaching his presidency, I found myself starting to read his letters as well. Finally, I noticed that I had stopped flipping around, and was reading each and every page.
Lincoln is one of America’s great prose writers. Even his short letters are models of clear and lucid writing. He was also one of America’s great thinkers. His letters and speeches show a systematic, organized, logical mind, and I find it hard to refute any of his arguments.
So, I decided to start posting some of letters and speeches, in order, day by day, as they were first written/said almost 150 years ago. I am not posting all his writings – a quick glance through the Collected Works shows that these are too numerous, and many are cursory and uninteresting. So my selections are based on the Library of America’s choices in their two volume work of his writings and speeches. The posts come straight from the Collected Works as posted by The Abraham Lincoln Association.
In the months to come I’ll go back and post some of his earlier writings, trying to be specific to the date, but by April next year I suspect I’ll be focusing only on events ‘as they happen’ starting in 1861. Unless otherwise noted, however, the year, to start with, is 1860, after Lincoln’s nomination as the Republican presidential candidate, but before the election.
A final word. I’m no historian. I might post a little commentary here and there, but don’t expect much or any. Links to other sites with more information are forthcoming. Notes in italics are those of the editors of the Collected Works. My notes are in [square brackets] and marked “-ed”.