The Life of Abraham Lincoln: Drawn from Original Sources and Containing Many Speeches, Letters and Telegrams Hitherto Unpublished. Volume ONE


Ida M. Tarbell

Series: Presidency in the United States
BISAC: HIS036040

The work here was begun in 1894 at the suggestion of Mr. S. S. McClure and Mr. J. S. Phillips, editors of “McClure’s Magazine.” Their desire was to add to our knowledge of Abraham Lincoln by collecting and preserving the reminiscences of such of his contemporaries as were then living. In undertaking the work it was determined to spare neither labor nor money and in this determination Mr. McClure and his associates have never wavered. Without the sympathy, confidence, suggestion and criticism which they have given the work it would have been impossible.
The author was asked to prepare a series of articles on Lincoln covering his life up to 1858 and embodying as far as possible the unpublished material collected. These articles, which appeared in “McClure’s Magazine” for 1895 and 1896, were received favorably, and it was decided to follow them by a series on the later life of Lincoln. This latter series was concluded in September, 1899, and both series, with considerable supplementary matter, are published in the present volumes.
The new material collected will, we believe, add considerably to our knowledge of Lincoln’s life. Documents are presented establishing clearly that his mother was not the nameless girl that she has been so generally believed. His father, Thomas Lincoln, is shown to have been something more than a shiftless “poor white,” and Lincoln’s early life, if hard and crude, to have been full of honest, cheerful effort at betterment. His struggles for a livelihood and his intellectual development from the time he started out for himself until he was admitted to the bar are traced with more detail than in any other biography, and considerable new light is thrown on this period of his life. The sensational account of his running away from his own wedding, accepted generally by historians, is shown to be false. To the period of Lincoln’s life from 1849, when he gave up politics, until 1858, the period of the Lincoln and Douglas Debates, the most important contribution made is the report of what is known as the “Lost Speech.”
The second volume of the Life contains as an appendix 196 pages of letters, telegrams and speeches which do not appear in Lincoln’s “Complete Works,” published by his private secretaries Messrs. Nicolay and Hay. The great majority of these documents have never been published at all. The source from which they have been obtained is given in each case.
No attempt has been made to cover the history of Lincoln’s times save as necessary in tracing the development of his mind and in illustrating his moral qualities. It is Lincoln the man, as seen by his fellows and revealed by his own acts and words, that the author has tried to picture. This has been the particular aim of the second series of articles.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. The Origin of the Lincoln Family —
The Lincolns in Kentucky — Birth of Abraham Lincoln

Chapter 2. The Lincolns Leave Kentucky for Southern Indiana —
Conditions of Life in Their New Home

Chapter 3. Abraham Lincoln’s Early Opportunities — The Books He Read ––
Trips to New Orleans–Impression He Made on His Friends

Chapter 4. The Lincolns Leave Indiana — The Journey to Illinois —
Abraham Lincoln Starts Out for Himself

Chapter 5. Lincoln Secures a Position — He Studies Grammar —
First Appearance in Politics

Chapter 6. The Black Hawk War — Lincoln Chosen Captain of a Company —
Reenlists as an Independent Ranger — End of the War

Chapter 7. Lincoln Runs for State Assembly and Is Defeated —
Storekeeper — Student — Postmaster — Surveyor

Chapter 8. Electioneering in Illinois in 1834 –– Lincoln Reads Law ––
First Term as Assemblyman –– Lincoln’s First Great Sorrow

Chapter 9. Lincoln Is Re-Elected to the Illinois Assembly —
His First Published Address — Protests against Proslavery Resolutions of the Assembly

Chapter 10. Lincoln Begins to Study Law –– Mary Owens ––
A Newspaper Contest –– Growth of Political Influence

Chapter 11. Lincoln’s Engagement to Mary Todd —
Breaking of the Engagement — Lincoln-Shields Duel

Chapter 12. Lincoln Becomes a Candidate for Congress and Is Defeated ––
On the Stump in 1844 –– Nominated and Elected to the 30th Congress

Chapter 13. Lincoln in Washington in 1847 — He Opposes the Mexican War —
Campaigning in New England

Chapter 14. Lincoln at Niagara –– Secures a Patent for an Invention ––
Abandons Politics and Decides to Devote Himself to the Law

Chapter 15. Lincoln on the Circuit –– His Humor and Persuasiveness ––
His Manner of Preparing Cases, Examining Witnesses, and Addressing Juries

Chapter 16. Lincoln’s Important Law Cases — Defense of a Slave Girl ––
The McCormick Case –– The Armstrong Murder Case ––
The Rock Island Bridge Case

Chapter 17. Lincoln Re-Enters Politics

Chapter 18. The Lincoln-Douglas Debates

Chapter 19. Lincoln’s Nomination in 1860 The Campaign of 1860

Chapter 21. Mr. Lincoln as President-Elect


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