Eloquent, humble, and shrewd, Abraham Lincoln was one of America’s greatest presidents, and The Essential Lincoln brings together his most defining speeches, public and private correspondence, and personal notations in one slim, handsome volume. Lincoln historian Orville Vernon Burton has culled the thousands of pages of the complete works of Lincoln for the most compelling and revealing pieces. Many are presented unabridged, including Lincoln’s speech at Cooper Union in February 1860; his August 1862 letter to Horace Greeley; the Gettysburg Address; and his second inaugural address. Others have been skillfully edited down to reveal the essence of Lincoln’s beliefs and aspirations, including two of his decisive debates with Stephen A. Douglas, the Emancipation Proclamation, and his first inaugural address. From his earliest writings as a loquacious twenty-three-year-old in New Salem to his last public address from the White House balcony, these original documents give life to Lincoln’s deeply rooted beliefs: his unflagging dedication to a united America, his reverence for the rule of law, his feelings on slavery and each human being’s inalienable natural rights, his boundless commitment to mankind’s innate intelligence and morality. What emerges is a portrait of a stunning American and a compelling historical icon, one who represents the highest ideals we have for our country and for ourselves. This collection is quite simply The Essential Lincoln.