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Lincoln and the Civil War

Lincoln and the Civil War

Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction
Allen C. Guelzo (Oxford University Press, 2009)
One of the nation’s leading Lincoln scholars offers a brief introduction not only to the life of our sixteenth president, but also the essence of the man and his mind—no small feat given the copious amounts of ink that have been spilled in the quest to understand Lincoln.

Abraham Lincoln: A Biography
Benjamin P. Thomas (Alfred A Knopf, 1952)
By virtue of its vivid writing, scrupulous research, and considered judgments, Benjamin Thomas’s biography is among the very best of the thousands of books on Lincoln. A masterful storyteller, Thomas brings Lincoln and his times to vibrant life and concludes that the martyred president embodied, as few leaders have, America’s fundamental principles of liberty and equality.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave, Written by Himself
Introduction by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (Dell, 1997)
Frederick Douglass recounts his life as a slave, including how he learned to read, the cruel whippings and murders of helpless slaves, and ultimately his innate desire to be free. An instant best-seller from the man who advised President Lincoln and became America’s first black “public intellectual.”

Crisis of the House Divided: An Interpretation of the Issues in the Lincoln–Douglas Debates
Harry V. Jaffa (University of Chicago Press, 1959)
The authoritative response to revisionist historians who asserted that there were no substantial differences between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. Taking the reader through a detailed analysis of their famous debates, Jefferson shows that Lincoln affirmed a different and higher doctrine than Douglas. 

A New Birth of Freedom
Harry V. Jaffa (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004)
A New Birth of Freedom is the culmination of nearly a half-century of study and reflection by one of the nation’s foremost scholars of American history and politics, Harry V. Jaffa. This sequel to Crisis of the House Divided continues Jaffa’s examination of the political thought of Abraham Lincoln and the legacy of the American Founding.

Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era
James M. McPherson (Ballantine Books, 1988)
Widely accepted as the standard one-volume history of the Civil War, Battle Cry of Freedom offers a dramatic, integrated, and always accessible narrative of the tumultuous period, from the events that preceded secession through the end of the war.

Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America
Allen C. Guelzo (Simon & Schuster, 2006)
Tracing the development and impact of the Emancipation Proclamation, this detailed history illuminates Lincoln’s political and moral reasoning and confirms his sincere desire to stamp out slavery.

Union and Liberty: The Political Philosophy of John C. Calhoun
Edited by Ross M. Lence (Liberty Fund, 1992)
Calhoun was an apologist for slavery, rejected the Declaration’s affirmation that all men are created equal, and asserted “states’ rights.” Yet he is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the present-day rejection of the Declaration, the Founders, and Lincoln. Of special interest are Calhoun’s Fort Hill Address and his two treatises on government — A Disquisition on Government and the Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States

Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1832-1858
Lincoln: Speeches and Writings 1859-1865
Edited by Don E. Fehrenbacher (Library of America, 1989)
Lincoln is the greatest interpreter of America’s Founding principles, and it was through the Civil War and subsequent constitutional amendments that the Constitution was brought into conformity with those principles. As companion volumes to the other readings, Lincoln’s own writings are crucial to understanding the man. The first volume includes all seven of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Lincoln and the Civil War: Online Resources

The Civil War Sesquicentennial
Written commentary and audio lectures by historians and political scientists to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Abraham Lincoln
Features lectures and essays on Lincoln by leading historians, plus a list of Lincoln Book Prize winners.

Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Civil War
A one-stop shop for the institute’s Civil War resources, including podcasts from prominent historians, links to the institute’s Civil War journal, and curriculum modules for teachers.

Claremont Review: Lincoln Bicentennial
A fine selection of essays and book reviews from the Claremont Review of Books on our sixteenth president, including pieces by Harry Jaffa and Allen Guelzo.

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial
In honor of the Lincoln bicentennial, Teaching American History has assembled Lincoln-related primary sources (organized by topic), written and audio commentary from Lincoln historians, lesson plans for teachers, and links to some of the best Lincoln-related organizations on the Web.

Abraham Lincoln Institute
Information about the institute’s annual conference and the winners of its book and dissertation prizes.