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We Are Lincoln Men: Abraham Lincoln and His…

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

by David Herbert Donald

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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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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"
For my grandchildren, Aleta Groh Donald and Maia Groh Donald
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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.
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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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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