"Edited by the author of The Age of Lincoln (2007), this anthology calls attention to Lincoln’s devotion to constitutional law and the principles of equality enshrined in the Declaration of Independence. Besides the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address, which respectively exhort and admonish an American people rent by civil war, Burton chooses orations and letters that Lincoln composed with persuasive intent. The election speeches he picks represent Lincoln balancing his antislavery convictions and his ambition to win before deeply prejudiced constituencies. The wartime public messages reflect Lincoln’s transition from disclaiming abolition of slavery to effecting emancipation, and his public letters defend controversial policies, such as the suspension of habeas corpus. Burton’s focus compels him to omit Lincoln’s military missives, a defensible decision for introducing readers to Lincoln-on-democracy and one that creates space for examples of private correspondence that express his famed compassion. Every collection needs some Lincoln unmediated, a library requirement that this set of 29 selections ably meets."—Gilbert Taylor, Booklist
Orville Vernon Burton is the author, most recently, of The Age of Lincoln. He lives in Ninety Six, South Carolina.
March 9, 1832
The first known public writing of Abraham Lincoln captures the hardworking aspiring politician. He had lived in New Salem, Illinois (Sangamon County), only half a year and was not quite a month into his twenty-third year when he announced in the c">Sangamo Journal his campaign for a seat in the Illinois General Assembly.