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Gettysburg College

Abraham Lincoln

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Full-Text Articles in History

Destroying The Right Arm Of Rebellion: Lincoln’S Emancipation Proclamation, Benjamin Pontz May 2019

Destroying The Right Arm Of Rebellion: Lincoln’S Emancipation Proclamation, Benjamin Pontz

The Gettysburg Historical Journal

Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was a gamble. If it were to succeed, it could cripple the economy of the South, decimating its war effort, drive the border states to accept compensated emancipation, ending slavery as an institution in the United States, and accelerate the end of the war, ensuring the endurance of the United States of America. If it were to fail, it could spur the border states to secede, galvanizing the South, render Abraham Lincoln a political pariah with two years remaining in his term, deflating the North, and encourage European states to broker a two-state solution in North ...


Ghosts Of The Revolution: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, And The Legacy Of The Founding Generation, Amelia F. Wald May 2019

Ghosts Of The Revolution: Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, And The Legacy Of The Founding Generation, Amelia F. Wald

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

For the wartime generation, the Civil War in many ways represented a recapitulation of the American Revolution. Both the Union and Confederate civilian populations viewed themselves as the true successors of the Founding Generation. Throughout the Antebellum years and the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis frequently invoked the Founders and their legacy. The two future executives did so in order to both justify their own political ideologies as well as inspire their respective civilian populations. Their sense of ownership over the legacy of the Founders reflected one of the uniquely American conflicts of the Civil War Era.


Condemning Colonization: Abraham Lincoln’S Rejected Proposal For A Central American Colony, Matthew Harris May 2018

Condemning Colonization: Abraham Lincoln’S Rejected Proposal For A Central American Colony, Matthew Harris

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

This article focuses on a proposal by Abraham Lincoln to settle freed African Americans in Central American countries. The backlash from several countries reveals that other countries besides the warring United States were also struggling with reconciling racial issues. This also reveals how interwoven racial issues were with political crises during the Civil War because it not only effected domestic policies but also international relations.


God And Mr. Lincoln, Allen C. Guelzo Apr 2018

God And Mr. Lincoln, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

On the day in April 1837 that Abraham Lincoln rode into Springfield, Illinois, to set himself up professionally as a lawyer, the American republic was awash in religion. Lincoln, however, was neither swimming nor even bobbing in its current. “This thing of living in Springfield is rather a dull business after all, at least it is so to me,” the uprooted state legislator and commercially bankrupt Lincoln wrote to Mary Owens on May 7th. “I am quite as lonesome here as [I] ever was anywhere in my life,” and in particular, “I’ve never been to church yet, nor probably ...


Is Trump The De-Regulator-In-Chief?, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 2018

Is Trump The De-Regulator-In-Chief?, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Abe Lincoln was a regulation cutter. Who would’ve known that?”

That line in a speech on December 8 by President Trump sent a number of pundits flocking to their history textbooks for fact-checking, especially after he followed it with the claim that, based on the numbers, he had actually exceeded Lincoln’s first-year total. “That’s pretty good for 10 months.”

What the pundits found was largely what they looked for. Blue State Daily’s Matthew Slivan smirked that “Trump likes to conjure comparisons to Abraham Lincoln,” but “the truth is what you’d expect: Trump is a blowhard ...


Gettysburg College Journal Of The Civil War Era 2018 Jan 2018

Gettysburg College Journal Of The Civil War Era 2018

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

No abstract provided.


“Died Of The Spotted Fever”: The Spot Resolutions And The Making Of Abraham Lincoln, Ryan D. Bilger Oct 2017

“Died Of The Spotted Fever”: The Spot Resolutions And The Making Of Abraham Lincoln, Ryan D. Bilger

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

On December 22, 1847, the Speaker of the House of Representatives recognized a young, freshman congressman from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln who wished to speak about the ongoing war with Mexico. The lanky, awkward, high-voiced westerner raised doubts regarding President James Knox Polk’s conduct in starting the war, proposing eight resolutions that challenged Polk to provide evidence for his stated reason for doing so. Polk had said that Mexican troops had shed “American blood on American soil” and forced his hand, but Lincoln challenged this assertion. Lincoln insinuated that the fatal encounter between Mexican and American troops had in ...


Lincoln's Words At Gettysburg Resonate After Charlottesville, Christopher R. Fee Aug 2017

Lincoln's Words At Gettysburg Resonate After Charlottesville, Christopher R. Fee

English Faculty Publications

Seven score and fourteen years ago, Abraham Lincoln eloquently reminded us of the idealism of our founding our fathers, who “brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. “

Lincoln also called upon all persons of good conscience, not simply to remember the sacrifice of those who died preserving these ideals on the battlefield at Gettysburg, but also to act upon those ideals, and to rise to the challenge “to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us….” (excerpt)


How Hard Is It To Drain A Swamp?, Allen C. Guelzo Jul 2017

How Hard Is It To Drain A Swamp?, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Some humid, summer evening, go out and listen to the swamp. It chirps, it keens, it hoots, it chitters. It is both quiet and restless, serene and ominous. It is alive, full of bats’ wings, copperheads, and clouds of insects. Imagine how it will respond when it learns you plan to drain it.

That thought has some political parallels as Donald Trump finds himself at odds with the bureaucracy of the federal government in an effort to “drain the swamp” of the so-called Deep State. Thomas Jefferson did a good deal of swamp-draining after his victory over Federalist John Adams ...


Lincoln’S Forgotten Middle Years, Allen C. Guelzo Jul 2017

Lincoln’S Forgotten Middle Years, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

It would be difficult to find two books on Abraham Lincoln published in the same year and yet more unalike in their conclusions than Sidney Blumenthal’s Wrestling with His Angel (the second installment in his multi-volume survey of Lincoln’s “political life”) and Elizabeth Brown Pryor’s Six Encounters with Lincoln. Blumenthal’s narrative of Lincoln’s “wilderness years,” from 1849 to 1856, begins with Lincoln at the lowest pitch of his professional life, returning to Illinois from his solitary term in Congress, an embarrassment to his fellow Whigs, only to rise, phoenix-like, from the firestorm of the controversy ...


Lincoln’S First 100 Days, Hannah M. Christensen May 2017

Lincoln’S First 100 Days, Hannah M. Christensen

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Imagine trying to avoid a civil war and then having to figure out how to fight one—all in one’s first 100 days in office and all without Congress. That was what Abraham Lincoln’s first 100 days as president essentially looked like. From his first full day in office on March 5th, 1861 to his 100th day in the middle of June, Lincoln barely had time to handle the things presidents normally did, never mind relax.


Defending Reconstruction, Allen C. Guelzo May 2017

Defending Reconstruction, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

There are no Reconstruction re-enactors. And who would want to be? Reconstruction is the disappointing epilogue to the American Civil War, a sort of Grimm fairy tale stepchild of the war and the ugly duckling of American history. Even Abraham Lincoln was uneasy at using the word “reconstruction”—he qualified it with add-ons like “what is called reconstruction” or “a plan of reconstruction (as the phrase goes)”—and preferred to speak of the “re-inauguration of the national authority” or the need to “re-inaugurate loyal state governments.” Unlike the drama of the war years, Reconstruction has no official starting or ending ...


Commentary: Will The Courts Make Trump's Presidency Less Imperial?, Allen C. Guelzo, James H. Hulme Apr 2017

Commentary: Will The Courts Make Trump's Presidency Less Imperial?, Allen C. Guelzo, James H. Hulme

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Nearly three months ago, Donald Trump assumed a presidency that, for more than a century, had grown seemingly endless discretionary powers. And he did so in company with Republican majorities in Congress and in 32 state legislatures -- all of which should have made his decisions unassailable.

Instead, he has been stymied and embarrassed by resistance from a federal judiciary that has twice halted executive orders on the most prominent issue of his presidential campaign. So, will the federal judiciary become the wall against which Trump bleeds away the power not just of his own presidency but of the “imperial presidency ...


A Springfield Education, Allen C. Guelzo Jun 2016

A Springfield Education, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Politicians have never been shy about writing about themselves, even when it seemed that all they could expect from the public was a polite nod. The Civil War era abounded in such political selfies, among them George W. Julian’s Political Recollections 1840 to 1872, John Sherman’s Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate and Cabinet, David Turpie’s Sketches of My Own Times, Albert Riddle’s Recollections of War Times: Reminiscences of Men and Events in Washington, 1860–1865, Alexander McClure’s Recollections of Half a Century, and, of course, Ulysses S. Grant’s Complete Personal Memoirs ...


“The Union Forever”: Frederick, Maryland In The Elections Of 1860 And 1864, Megan E. Mcnish May 2016

“The Union Forever”: Frederick, Maryland In The Elections Of 1860 And 1864, Megan E. Mcnish

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Frederick, Maryland has been remembered as a bastion of Unionist sentiment during the Civil War. However, in the Election of 1860, on the eve of the nation’s internal conflict, a large portion of the city’s 8,000 residents voted for a secessionist candidate. The Election of 1860 is famous for straying from the typical bi-partisan election; four candidates ran for office and each appealed to different political sentiments. [excerpt]


This Month In Civil War History: April 2016, Jeffrey L. Lauck Apr 2016

This Month In Civil War History: April 2016, Jeffrey L. Lauck

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Click the play button below in order to listen to “This Month in Civil War History.” You can also scroll down to read through the transcript if you would prefer to read it. This report is also airing on WZBT 91.1 FM throughout this month. Thanks to WZBT for their help in producing this piece. [excerpt]


Challenging Lincoln: How Gettysburg’S Lincoln-Centric Emancipation Narrative Has Overshadowed Local Black History, Jeffrey L. Lauck Feb 2016

Challenging Lincoln: How Gettysburg’S Lincoln-Centric Emancipation Narrative Has Overshadowed Local Black History, Jeffrey L. Lauck

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

When it comes to symbols of emancipation, President Abraham Lincoln is king. No other person is more associated with the abolition of slavery than "The Great Emancipator" himself. This holds true in Gettysburg just as much as it does throughout the country. Only last September, Gettysburg College erected a statue of Abraham Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation in the hope that it would "promote the discussion of race relations in America today." Yet when it comes to commemorating and remembering the struggle for emancipation, Lincoln is far from the only face that we should look to in our historic town ...


This Month In Civil War History: February 2016, Jeffrey L. Lauck Feb 2016

This Month In Civil War History: February 2016, Jeffrey L. Lauck

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Transcript:

On February 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. The self-educated lawyer served in the United States House of Representatives as a delegate from Illinois before being elected as the sixteenth president of the United States.

In February of 1861, the Confederacy formed a government at Montgomery, Alabama and appointed Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederate States of America. [excerpt]


Great Emancipator Was Radical Of His Day: Lincoln Opposed Economic Injustice, Allen C. Guelzo Feb 2016

Great Emancipator Was Radical Of His Day: Lincoln Opposed Economic Injustice, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong,” Abraham Lincoln said in 1864. “I can not remember when I did not so think, and feel.”

Yet there has always been doubt about just how great an emancipator he really was. Why did he wait for two years into his presidency to issue his Emancipation Proclamation? And why didn’t that Proclamation free all the 3.9 million African-Americans then held in bondage? [excerpt]


Cotton, Clemency, And Control: United States V. Klein And The Juridical Legacy Of Executive Pardon, Heather L. Clancy Jan 2016

Cotton, Clemency, And Control: United States V. Klein And The Juridical Legacy Of Executive Pardon, Heather L. Clancy

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

When the guns of war fell silent in 1865, Americans throughout the reunited states grappled with the logistics of peace. At virtually every turn lay nebulous but critical questions of race, class, allegiance, and identity. More pragmatic legal stumbling blocks could also be found strewn across the path to Reconstruction; some of them would ensnare the healing nation for decades to come. Among their number was notorious Supreme Court decision United States v. Klein (1872). Born on July 22, 1865 out of a small debate over the wartime seizure of Vicksburg cotton stores, Klein quickly evolved into a legal behemoth ...


Gettysburg College Journal Of The Civil War Era 2016 Jan 2016

Gettysburg College Journal Of The Civil War Era 2016

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

No abstract provided.


“What About Thad Stevens?”: A Call To Action To Commemorate A Great Gettysburgian And An Even Greater American, Jeffrey L. Lauck Sep 2015

“What About Thad Stevens?”: A Call To Action To Commemorate A Great Gettysburgian And An Even Greater American, Jeffrey L. Lauck

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

I love Lincoln. He adorns my iPhone case. A poster of him hangs in my room. I occasionally wear his signature stovepipe hat around the house. Earlier this week, I wrote about the newly dedicated Abraham Lincoln statue outside of Stevens Hall. I now make an effort to walk by it every day on my way to class [excerpt].


President Lincoln Finds A Permanent Seat On Campus: The Dedication Of The New Abraham Lincoln Statue Outside Stevens Hall, Jeffrey L. Lauck Sep 2015

President Lincoln Finds A Permanent Seat On Campus: The Dedication Of The New Abraham Lincoln Statue Outside Stevens Hall, Jeffrey L. Lauck

The Gettysburg Compiler: On the Front Lines of History

Students, faculty, and visitors to Gettysburg College have likely noticed the most recent addition to our campus. Last Friday, a brand new bronze statue of President Abraham Lincoln was dedicated outside Stevens Hall. The statue, which stands nine feet tall, depicts a seated President Lincoln signing the Emancipation Proclamation and was designed by Stanley Watts, who also designed the Lincoln statue outside the Gettysburg Public Library on Baltimore Street. The statue unveiling comes almost 153 years to the day when President Lincoln issued the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, which gave the Confederate States 100 days to return to the Union before ...


What If Abraham Lincoln Had Lived?, Allen C. Guelzo Apr 2015

What If Abraham Lincoln Had Lived?, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

The lead .41-calibre bullet with which John Wilkes Booth shot President Abraham Lincoln on the night of April 14, 1865, was the most lethal gunshot in American history. Only five days earlier, the main field army of the Southern Confederacy had surrendered at Appomattox Court House, and the four dreary years of civil war were yielding to a spring of national rebirth. But by then, the man to whom everyone looked for guidance in reconstructing the nation was dead. [excerpt]


Slavery's End Deserves A 150th Celebration, Allen C. Guelzo Feb 2015

Slavery's End Deserves A 150th Celebration, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War winds down toward its conclusion in the spring, it's difficult not to look back on the four years of this sesquicentennial and wonder why it all seemed so lackluster. Unlike the centennial in 1961-65, Congress decided not to create a national commission. And President Obama took a pass on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address.

But the most surprisingly lackluster remembrance was the one that just slipped by us - the 150th anniversary of the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, abolishing slavery in the United States. [excerpt]


The Political War, Allen C. Guelzo Jun 2014

The Political War, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Pity Abraham Lincoln. Everything that should have gone right for the Union cause in the spring of 1864 had, in just a few weeks, gone defiantly and disastrously wrong.

For two years, the 16th president had toiled uphill against the secession of the Confederate states, against the incompetence of his luckless generals and against his howling critics from both sides of the congressional aisle. Finally, in the summer and fall of 1863, the course of the war had begun to turn his way. Two great victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg staggered the Confederates, and those were followed by a knockdown ...


Île À Vache And Colonization: The Tragic End Of Lincoln's “Suicidal Folly”, Graham D. Welch Apr 2014

Île À Vache And Colonization: The Tragic End Of Lincoln's “Suicidal Folly”, Graham D. Welch

The Gettysburg College Journal of the Civil War Era

Colonization, the state-sponsored emigration and resettlement of freed slaves outside the United States, was a prevalent narrative in the antebellum United States, and had a vocal adherent in Abraham Lincoln. Despite its ideological support, American colonization had few examples of emigration in action, leading to the attempted settlement on the Haitian island of Île à Vache. Led by speculators and Wall Street financiers under the aegis of the Lincoln administration, 453 black settlers departed Virginia in April 1863 for the hopes of a new, prosperous life in Haiti. The venture proved disastrous, however, as the colony was marred by disease ...


"Public Sentiment Is Everything": Abraham Lincoln And The Power Of Public Opinion, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 2014

"Public Sentiment Is Everything": Abraham Lincoln And The Power Of Public Opinion, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Book Summary: Since Abraham Lincoln’s death, generations of Americans have studied his life, presidency, and leadership, often remaking him into a figure suited to the needs and interests of their own time. This illuminating volume takes a different approach to his political thought and practice. Here, a distinguished group of contributors argue that Lincoln’s relevance today is best expressed by rendering an accurate portrait of him in his own era. They seek to understand Lincoln as he understood himself and as he attempted to make his ideas clear to his contemporaries. What emerges is a portrait of a ...


Lincoln And Liberty, Too, Allen C. Guelzo Oct 2013

Lincoln And Liberty, Too, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

“The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty,” Abraham Lincoln said in 1864. And surely, from Lincoln of all people, that statement must come as a surprise, and for two reasons. In the first place, no one in American history might be said to have been a more shining example of liberty than Abraham Lincoln. Not only had he exercised liberty to its fullest extent, rising from poverty and obscurity to become the 16th president of the United States, but in the process he became the Great Emancipator of over three million slaves, and if anyone ...


A New Birth Of Freedom, Allen C. Guelzo Jul 2013

A New Birth Of Freedom, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

The president of the United States had been more than usually agitated ever since the news of a major collision of the Union and Confederate armies around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, first flew along the telegraph wires to the War Department on July 1, 1863. For days, he was clouded with “sadness and despondency” until the message arrived, announcing a great victory for the Union. That was followed almost at once by news from Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles: another dispatch had come in, “communicating the fall of Vicksburg [Mississippi] on the fourth of July.” At once, Abraham Lincoln’s mood ...