Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter by Harold Holzer
Read: June 28 - July 13
Format: Hardback 483 pages
Source: Public Library
Subject: preCivil War - Lincoln post election
Category: Civil War and its Leaders
Challenges: 101020, 75 Book, SYLL, USPC, Chunkster
It's hard to believe that a book this large was devoted only to the activities surrounding one man in a 3½ month period of time. It was extremely detailed in the activities of Abraham Lincoln following his election as President of the United States from Election Day until his inauguration.
During the time period between the election and inauguration, Lincoln was besieged by office seekers. He would spend hours everyday greeting those that traveled to Springfield to shake his hand and tell him what job they wanted him to give them. At the same time, the nation was being torn apart by the Southern states starting their secessions, Lincoln remained quietly in Illinois. He believed that he did not have the power and influence required until the Electoral College confirmed his election and that President Buchanan should be the person to handle the current crisis.
During the Secession winter of 1860-1961 Abraham Lincoln 'successfully maintained a masterful inactivity and public silence to prevent the spread of slavery, privately fought a political battle to bar unprincipled compromise.'
When asked to evaluate the reasons for the crisis as it related to him, he "reminded them that no President could possibly prove wicked enough to destroy the country in the four years allotted by the Constitution - not even, it implied, a Republican elected by a minority of the popular vote." (history repeating itself?) and when asked on the legality of the seceding states he said " My opinion is that no state can in any way lawfully get out of the Union without the consent of the others."
The book told of his struggles to create a cabinet, his train trip to Washington and the threats on his life all while finalizing his inaugural speech which would endeavor to show his devotion to the laws of the nation and the Constitution as well as maintaining the traditions of the Founding Fathers.
This was a very detailed book with numerous quotes and stories of Abraham Lincoln at this time. However, I think that in the long run, it was too detailed when it came to the day to day activities and could have been shortened with some good editing.