Category Archives: general info

Doris Kearns Goodwin on the night Lincoln was assassination

Smithsonian.com features Doris Kearns Goodwin’s account of the Lincoln assassination from her bestseller Team of Rivals, along with an interactive map you can use to follow the evening’s events across Washington, D.C.

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Merry Christmas

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December 24, 2013 · 11:22 am

Could modern medicine have saved Lincoln’s life?

Maybe so, according to Philip Mackowiak’s fascinating piece of speculation in The Atlantic.  “Optimal management combining early mobilization, a multidisciplinary approach to treatment, and early aggressive rehabilitation might have saved Lincoln,” he writes.  “However, it could not have restored his neurological function to normal.  At best, he would have been left with several permanent neurological deficits,” such as lack of impulse control, partial paralysis, and problems with speaking and writing.

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Lincoln’s contemporary critics

These days he’s as widely revered as any historical figure, but in his own time Abraham Lincoln dealt with vitriolic attacks on everything from his appearance to his prose.  Mark Bowden’s recent essay for The Atlantic examines this contemporary criticism of Lincoln.

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Lincoln’s predecessor

The National Constitution Center’s blog recently featured a concise overview of James Buchanan’s controversial political career:

In his inaugural address, Buchanan called the territorial issue of slavery “happily, a matter of but little practical importance.” He had been tipped off about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case, which came shortly after the inauguration. Buchanan supported the theory that states and territories have a right to determine if they would allow slavery. (There were also reports Buchanan may have influenced the court’s ruling.) The Dred Scott decision angered and solidified Buchanan’s Republican opponents, and it drove a wedge into the Democratic Party. The country also went into an economic recession as the Civil War approached.

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What do we expect from our presidents?

CBS News Sunday Morning spent some time with a few notable scholars to examine this question.

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An inauspicious start

This month marks the 180th anniversary of Lincoln’s first political defeat.  In 1832, at the age of twenty-three, he kicked off his career in politics with a run for the Illinois legislature.  The election took place on August 6th.  Out of thirteen candidates, Lincoln placed eighth.  Only the top four (Edmund D. Taylor, Lincoln’s future senior law partner John T. Stuart, Achilles Morris, and Peter Cartwright) went to the legislature.

The young upstart failed to win office, but he was making a local name for himself; Lincoln received 277 out of 300 votes cast in his own precinct of New Salem.  Two years later, he ran again, this time successfully.

The Lincoln-Berry Store at New Salem, IL. By Amos Oliver Doyle, via Wikimedia Commons

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