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We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His…
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We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His Friends (2003)

by David Herbert Donald

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238174,509 (3.98)5
Recently added byprivate library, Schmerguls, Railsplitter, Rebellew, Beckester, Dehong, thefirstdark, Ari_Trahan
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    Norton Book of Friendship by Eudora Welty (DisassemblyOfReason)
    DisassemblyOfReason: The author notes in the preface that he considers this (which he got from one of its editors) the best introduction to the literature on the nature and significance of friendship, which he consulted to attempt to answer the question of how Abraham Lincoln (who was very reserved and had few very close friends) could also be a man who was self-made largely on the strength of his ability to make friends everywhere.… (more)
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5644. "We Are Lincoln Men" Abraham Lincoln and His Friends, by David Herbert Donald (read 16 Aug 2019) This 2003 book by David Donald is the fifth book by him I have read. It examines friendships of Lincoln with Joshua Speed, William Herndon, Orville Browning, William Seward, and his secretaries, John Nicolay and John Hay. The author concludes that except with Speed briefly Lincoln had no really close friends, though Herndon, who was his law partner claimed to be a close friend after Lincoln had died. The book is exceptionally detailed in regard to Lincoln's relationship with each of the persons named, and feels Lincoln would have been happier if he had had closer friends than were the persons named. The author claims that Lincoln had probably no more that a total of one year formal education, which today seems pretty amazing and suggests to me that maybe the many years of formal education now considered necessary is, in at least some rare cases are not required, and I think of my own parents who concluded their education when they finished the "sixth reader" and what excellent people they turned out to be. ( )
  Schmerguls | Aug 16, 2019 |
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Epigraph
All I can do is to urge you to put friendship ahead of all other human concerns, for there is nothing so suited to man's nature, nothing that can mean so much to him, whether in good times or bad.- Cicero, "On Friendship"
Dedication
For my grandchildren, Aleta Groh Donald and Maia Groh Donald
First words
In the 1880s, when John Hay and John G. Nicolay were collaborating on their biography of Abraham Lincoln, they discussed the tone and bias of the work. Fierce Republicans both, they did not want to "write a stump speech in eight vols," but instead "to write the history of those times like two everlasting angels - who know everything, judge everything, tell the truth about everything and don't care a twang of their harps about one side or the other." But then Hay added a demurrer: "There will be one exception. We are Lincoln men all the way through." (preface)
Everybody liked the boy, but he had no special friends.
Quotations
Speed had heard Lincoln speak in a celebrated 1836 debate in Springfield. He was so effective that George Forquer, a wealthy Springfield resident who had recently left the Whig party to join the Democrats and had been appointed register of the Land Office as a reward, felt it necessary to take Lincoln down, ridiculing him in every way he could. Lincoln, in reply, referred to the lightning rod Forquer had just erected over his splendid Springfield house and told the audience: "I would rather die now, than, like the gentleman change my politics, and simultaneous with the change, receive an office worth three thousand dollars per year, and then have to erect a lightning-rod over my house, to protect a guilty conscience from an offended God."
"If you wished to be Cut off at the knee," Herndon remembered, "just go at Lincoln with abstractions - glittering generalities - indefiniteness - mistiness of idea or expression."
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Book description
A biography of Lincoln concentrating on his relationships with his six closest male friends, presented in roughly chronological order: one chapter for Joshua Fry Speed, his oldest friend; one chapter for William Henry Herndon, his law partner; one chapter for Orville Hickman Browning; one chapter for William Henry Seward; and one chapter to his private secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay. (In addition, the first chapter concentrates on his early life, spent mostly in an area containing few other people near his own age.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0743254686, Hardcover)

"We Are Lincoln Men" examines the significance of friendship in Abraham Lincoln's life and the role it played in his presidency. Though Lincoln had hundreds of acquaintances and dozens of admirers, he had almost no intimate friends. Behind his mask of affability and endless stream of humorous anecdotes, he maintained an inviolate reserve that only a few were ever able to penetrate. In this highly original book, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner David Herbert Donald examines, for the first time, these close friendships and explores their role in shaping Lincoln's career.

"We Are Lincoln Men" shows how Lincoln's experiences as a boy growing up in frontier Indiana made it hard for him to develop warm, supportive relationships later in life. Not until 1837, when he met Joshua Fry Speed, with whom he shared a room and bed for the next four years, did he learn the real meaning of friendship. These two young men confided everything to each other, and they even helped each other as they diffidently sought brides. After Speed returned to Kentucky, Lincoln developed a close relationship with his younger law partner, William H. Herndon. He became Herndon's mentor and hero, and Herndon's idealization of him satisfied one of Lincoln's basic psychological needs.

When he was elected President, Lincoln had no close personal friends in Washington until Illinois Senator Orville H. Browning arrived. Browning became his confidant and, under Lincoln's skillful guidance, served as his strongest supporter in Congress. This useful friendship dissolved when the two men disagreed over emancipation, and Browning became further alienated when Lincoln three times passed over the opportunity to name him to the United States Supreme Court.

In his greatest triumph of friendship, Lincoln won over his powerful, opinionated Secretary of State, William H. Seward, who thought he was better qualified than the President for his job. With psychological insight and charm, Lincoln gained Seward's friendship and secured his loyal support.

Lincoln's closest, and most genuine, friendships while he was in the White House were with his private secretaries, John G. Nicolay and John Hay. Always at his best when dealing with young men, he served as a role model, and they, in effect, were his surrogate family. He won their devotion, and they became his most ardent supporters and, ultimately, his official biographers.

Professor Donald's remarkable book offers a fresh way of looking at Abraham Lincoln, both as a man who needed friendship and as a leader who understood the importance of friendship in the management of men. Donald penetrates Lincoln's mysterious reserve to offer a new picture of the President's inner life and to explain his unsurpassed political skills.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:46 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

This examines the significance of friendship in Abraham Lincoln's life and the role it played in his presidency. Though Lincoln had hundreds of acquaintances and dozens of admirers, he had almost no intimate friends. Behind his mask of affability and endless stream of humorous anecdotes, he maintained an inviolate reserve that only a few were ever able to penetrate. In this highly original book, two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner David Herbert Donald examines, for the first time, these close friendships and explores their role in shaping Lincoln's career.

» see all 2 descriptions

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