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Lincoln "by littles"

by Lewis E. Lehrman
Excerpts from
Lincoln "by littles":

"The self-tutored lawyer from Illinois could not understand those 'don't care' politicians, such as Senator Stephen A. Douglas, who pretended indifference to involuntary servitude."

"For Lincoln, there could be no retreat from the fundamental principles of the Declaration of Independence."

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Lincoln by Littles

Abraham Lincoln In Depth

Abraham Lincoln In Depth

Abraham Lincoln's Beautiful Face By Richard J. Behn

We remember his grave face in granite and marble. Friends remembered Abraham Lincoln's face differently. His "expression in repose was sad and dull; but his ever-recurring humor, at short intervals, flashed forth with the brilliancy of an electric light," recalle...

Abraham Lincoln & Freedom

Abraham Lincoln & Freedom

Entering Richmond

On Monday, April 3, 1865, General Ulysses Grant invited President Lincoln to join him in Petersburg, the key Confederate city below Richmond whose liberation made continued Confederate control of the region untenable. Although the collapse of Richmond came suddenl...

Abraham Lincoln's White House

Abraham Lincoln's White House

James Speed (1812-1887)

James Speed was the Attorney General of the United States who succeeded Edward Bates in late 1864. He was the brother of Joshua Speed, who had been Mr. Lincoln's closest friend in Springfield before Speed returned to Kentucky in 1841. The friendship was transferre...
Abraham Lincoln:
The Impact on the War, Part A
Abraham Lincoln:
The proclamation, Part A
Abraham Lincoln:
New Years Day Reception

Abraham Lincoln & Friends

Abraham Lincoln & Friends

Stephen A. Hurlbut (1815-1882)

Lawyer born in South Carolina who made his adult home in Illinois beginning in 1845. He was first a Whig and later a Republican political leader. Military writer Geoffrey Perret described Hurlbut as "a hard-drinking Chicago lawyer."1 After acting as ...

Abraham Lincoln & New York

Abraham Lincoln & New York

Election Day, 1864

"It is difficult now to recreate the scenes of that campaign. The people had been greatly disheartened," wrote Republican politician Chauncey Depew who took an active role in rallying New York State Republican voters. "Every family was in bereavement, with a son l...

Lincoln's Contemporaries

Abraham Lincoln's Contemporaries

Abraham Lincoln's Secretaries

No one had a better vantage point to observe President Abraham Lincoln than his two principle secretaries, John Hay and John Nicolay. They lived at the White House, worked next to the President's office, slept across the hall, accompanied him to the theater, and a...

Featured Article

by Lewis E. Lehrman

They were big men. George Washington was 6-foot-3. Abraham Lincoln was almost 6-4. Their ambitions were equally big -- first for themselves, and then for the nation they would lead.

As young men, both future presidents trained as surveyors at periods when Americans were preoccupied by the development of the frontier and the acquisition of land. Historian John Ferling wrote: "Starting around age fifteen, George learned surveying through self-help books, such as `The Young Man's Companion,' and it is probable that he was tutored by some of the surveyors employed by the Fairfaxes." In his search for self-improvement, 16-year-old Washington famously wrote out the rules for life and behavior from "Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation." That pursuit would continue the rest of his life.

Surveying helped define both men. In 1834 Abraham Lincoln was named as a deputy surveyor of Sangamon County in Illinois; George Washington had been appointed as Culpepper County surveyor in 1749. Ferling observed that, "surveying ... was a respectable and often lucrative occupation in Washington's Virginia, as the population was growing and new frontiers were opening steadily."

A Project of
The Lehrman Institute
Lewis E. Lehrman, Founder
When using this research please
acknowledge The Lehrman Institute
and The Lincoln Institute.
Lincoln at Peoria

Lincoln at Peoria
The Turning Point
by Lewis E. Lehrman
Lincoln at Peoria explains how Lincoln's speech at Peoria on October 16, 1854, was the turning point in the development of his antislavery campaign and his political career and thought.


April 19, 1864 After delivering short speech to Sanitary Commission Fair on Monday, President Lincoln comes back to Washington by train in the morning – missing the regular Tuesday morning cabinet meeting. Navy Secretary Gideon Welles complains in his diary: “He has a fondness for attending these shows only surpassed by [Secretary of State William […]...Read More
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