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Abraham Lincoln

Presidential conventions at which no candidate won on the first ballot have produced some of our best Presidents including Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Three U.S President didn’t win a single vote on the first try at their convention.

There has been much talk in recent months about the possibility of a contested Presidential nominating convention. But commentators seem to be quite unaware that candidates have often not been decided until later ballots -- sometimes with happy results.

The Haitian-born barber gave Abraham Lincoln shaves, haircuts, and friendly advice in exchange for free legal work.

Lincoln’s Secretary of the Treasury helped win the Civil War with his many financial innovations and was an ardent advocate of emancipation.

Editor's Note: Walter Stahr is a historian whose essay “The Struggles of Edwin Stanton” appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of American Heritage.

In his Second Inaugural Address, Abraham Lincoln embodied leading in a time of polarization, political disagreement, and differing understandings of reality.

The unique political genius of Abraham Lincoln was to navigate carefully and at times conservatively between abolition and the Southern cause until he knew the time was right for radical justice.

“There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law,” said Abraham Lincoln.

Editor’s Note: Bruce Watson is a Senior Editor of American Heritage and writes a popular history blog at The Attic. He is the author of six books of history and biography. 
When Abraham Lincoln became president, America was even more divided than it is today. But he refused to inflame passions by playing to a political base.  

Abraham Lincoln learned much of what made him a great president — honesty, sincerity, toughness, and humility — from his early reading and from studying the lives of Washington and Franklin.

Editor's Note: David S. Reynolds is a Distinguished Professor at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the author of 15 books including first-rate biographies of Walt Whitman, John Brown, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. His latest is 

Histories written about the nation's greatest crisis focus on Lincoln and the military campaigns. But an intriguing group of characters in Congress also played a major role, advising and prodding the President.

America faced its greatest crisis in 1861 as the nation literally unraveled and the rest of the world wondered whether its experiment in self-determination would succeed. 

Only hours after being sworn in, Lincoln faced the most momentous decision in presidential history

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln’s first day in office, a letter from Maj. Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, landed on the new president’s desk, informing him the garrison would run out of provisions in a month or six weeks.

Lincoln's first secretary of war amassed a fortune at the start of the Civil War, forcing a congressional investigation. 

There were instances of misconduct in Abraham Lincoln's administration, especially in the War Department and the army.

Tears ran down the cheeks of Abraham Lincoln when he heard the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” sung in Congress by a chaplain who had survived a Confederate prison. It would become the most famous literary production of the Civil War.

John Nicolay and John Hay were Lincoln’s two closest aides in the White House, and helped to craft the image of the President we have today.

Working closely with President Lincoln, Secretary of War Stanton was indefatigable in laboring to win the Civil War. But his abruptness could sometimes be counterproductive.

First Medical Report on Lincoln's Assassination Uncovered

It was the discovery of a lifetime. Helena Iles Papaioannou, a researcher with the Papers of Abraham Lincoln project, was meticulously combing through 1865 correspondence of the U.S.

After Fort Sumter fell, a secessionist mob in Baltimore rioted and blocked the passage of Federal troops to Washington, D.C

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Abraham Lincoln Address

The Emancipation Proclamation opened the door for Pennsylvania's African-American soldiers

The scene was wild and grand.

In one momentous decision, Robert E. Lee spared the United States years of divisive violence

As April 1865 neared, an exhausted Abraham Lincoln met with his two top generals, Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumseh Sherman, to discuss the end of the Civil War, which finally seemed to be within reach.

Lincoln’s bid for reelection in 1864 faced serious challenges from a popular opponent and a nation weary of war

For a good part of 1864—the year he faced reelection—Abraham Lincoln had little faith that he would win or even be renominated.

Even though he had no military training, Lincoln quickly rose to become one of America’s most talented commanders

On July 27, 1848, a tall, raw-boned Whig congressman from Illinois rose in the House of Representatives to challenge the Mexican War policies of President James K. Polk.

The Washington, DC, cottage where the 16th president escaped to weigh such matters as the Emancipation Proclamation has been faithfully restored

Only three miles from the White House, the house in northwest Washington, D.C., offered Abraham Lincoln a refuge from the capital’s summertime heat and political pressures. The 16th president spent an estimated one-quarter of his time in office at this 34-room, brown-and-white stucco building.

Only hours after being sworn in, Lincoln faced the most momentous decision in presidential history.

On March 4, 1861, Abraham Lincoln’s first day in office, a letter from Maj. Robert Anderson, commander of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, landed on the new president’s desk, informing him the garrison would run out of provisions in a month or six weeks.

A story that the Confederate president donned a petticoat to evade capture emerged right after Union cavalrymen apprehended him in Georgia at war’s end. But is it true?

An impetuous and sometimes corrupt Congress has often hamstrung the efforts of the president since the earliest days of the Republic

On a little-remarked, steamy day in late June 1973, a revolution took place in Washington, D.C., one that would transfer far more power and wealth than did the revolt against King George III in 1776.

Lincoln came out a victor in the 1860 presidential election despite winning only 2 percent of the Southern vote

Just six months before the presidential election of November 1860 and only days after winning his party’s nomination, Abraham Lincoln received some stunning advice from one of his chief supporters, William Cullen Bryant.

Lincoln painstakingly evolved a plan for harmonious reconstruction of the Union, which Radical Republicans moved to sabotage

Lincoln painstakingly evolved a plan for harmonious reconstruction of the Union, which Radical Republicans moved to sabotage

Theodore Roosevelt, his widow recalled, watched Lincoln’s funeral from his grandfather’s house

A famous educator reviews 100 years of service by the land-grant colleges

The year 1955 marks the centennial of one of the greatest landmarks in our American heritage of education for all the people. A century ago, the Michigan State College and the Pennsylvania State University were founded as the first of a group of uniquely new and evolutionary institutions of higher learning. These twin birthdays have been recognized by the issuance of a special commemorative U.S. postage stamp, dedicated to the two institutions and to the land-grant college idea as conceived in 1862 by Act of Congress.

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