Read The Life and Writings of Abraham Lincoln Online
Authors: Abraham Lincoln
2000 Modern Library Paperback Edition
Copyright © 1940 by Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American
Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by
Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada
by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission
to reprint previously published material:
ALFRED A. KNOPF, A DIVISION OF RANDOM HOUSE, INC
.: Excerpt from
by Benjamin P. Thomas. Copyright © 1952 by Benjamin P. Thomas. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House, Inc.
.: Excerpt from
Abraham Lincoln: The War Years
by Carl Sandburg. Copyright 1939 by Harcourt, Inc. and copyright renewed 1966 by Carl Sandburg. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.
THE ESTATE OF J. G. RANDALL
: Excerpt from
Lincoln the President
, Volume 2:
Springfield to Gettysburg
by J. G. Randall. Reprinted by permission of the Estate of J. G. Randall.
and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Lincoln, Abraham. 1809–1865.
The life and writings of Abraham Lincoln/edited, and with a biographical essay by Phillip Van Doren Stern; with an introduction, “Lincoln and his writings,” by Allan Nevins.—2000 Modern Library ed.
Originally published: New York: Random House, C1940.
1. United States—Politics and government—1861–1865. 2. Lincoln, Abraham, 1809-1865. 3. United States—Politics and government–1845-1861. 4. Illinois—Politics and government—To 1865. I. Stern, Philip Van Doren, 1900–. II. Nevins, Allan,
1890-1971. III. Title.
Modern Library website address:
points out in the foreword to his
Abraham Lincoln: The War Years
, the total number of Lincoln’s words preserved for posterity is more than one million—a figure greater than that of all the words in the Bible (including the Apocrypha) or of Shakespeare’s complete works. Strangely enough, there is no adequate complete edition of Lincoln’s works, nor is there likely to be until after 1947, when certain papers deposited by his son Robert in the Library of Congress will at last be made public. At present, the largest collection is the
Complete Works of Abraham Lincoln
, edited by John G. Nicolay and John Hay and published in 1905. This was issued in twelve volumes, and in 1905 could be considered a reasonably complete edition. Since that time much new Lincoln material has been discovered. In 1917, Gilbert A. Tracy edited the
Uncollected Letters of Abraham Lincoln
; in 1927, the
Lincoln Letters at Brown
was issued by Brown University; in 1930, Paul M. Angle’s
New Letters and Papers of Lincoln
was published; in 1931, Emanuel Hertz, in the second volume of his
Abraham Lincoln: A New Portrait
, brought out still more new material.
All these sources have been carefully examined in compiling the present edition. This volume, of course, does not pretend to completeness, but it is the largest single-volume collection of Lincoln’s writings ever published. The principle of selection used has been to include all those items which are of biographical interest or of historical importance. In order to bring within the covers of one volume a large and representative selection of Lincoln’s writings, it has been necessary to print excerpts from some of the longer pieces. When deletions have been made, they have been frankly indicated either by asterisks or by ellipsis points. For the
general reader these excisions should not be serious, for the material omitted has been left out because it is relatively unimportant, dull, repetitious, of ephemeral interest or because it pertains only to Lincoln’s legal or business life.
A survey of Lincoln’s life has been included in order to give the background needed to understand the full import of his writings. This biographical section is closely integrated with the Lincoln text and with the notes to the text. For quick reference, an extensive chronology is appended to this section so the reader can see at a glance the salient events of Lincoln’s life and of the history of his time.
In compiling a volume of this kind, the author has had to call upon the services of many people to whom he gratefully acknowledges his indebtedness. In particular, however, he would like to mention the name of Mr. Paul M. Angle, Librarian of the Illinois State Historical Library, whose reputation as a Lincoln scholar is too great to need any comment here. He has been endlessly patient in answering questions and in giving advice. The invaluable day-by-day record of Lincoln’s life from 1847 to 1861, edited by him and by Mr. Benjamin P. Thomas, has served not only as the basis for the chronology in this volume, but also as an authoritative guide to check the disputed dating of some of Lincoln’s letters and speeches. Mr. Angle has kindly supplied a photo-static copy of the significant Kalamazoo speech of August 27, 1856, which has never before been printed in any collection of Lincoln’s works.
Brooklyn, New York
December 24, 1939
“Lincoln in His Writings”
by Allan Nevins