Cross-posted to the blog of the Abraham Lincoln Institute for the Study of Leadership and Public Policy
Charles Francis Adams was one of many Americans who stood in front of the Capitol 150 years ago to hear Lincoln deliver his second inaugural address. “That railsplitting lawyer is one of the wonders of the day,” Adams wrote a few days later. “Once at Gettysburg and now again on a greater occasion he has shown a capacity for rising to the demands of the hour.” He believed the speech would be “for all time the historical keynote of this war.”
Lincoln himself expected his speech to “wear as well as —perhaps better than—any thing I have produced,” even though it was “not immediately popular.”
Here are a few links to help you commemorate the sesquicentennial of what historian Ronald C. White has called Lincoln’s greatest speech:
Library of Congress
The winner of the Harold Holzer book is Simon M., who picked a very round number (1000) pretty close to the one generated by Random.org.
You know, I’d always assumed that one random number was as good as any, but Random.org assures me that it generates “true random numbers,” as opposed to “the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs.” You can therefore rest assured that the numbers used to determine winners of this blog’s book giveaways are as random as possible, spat forth from the gaping maw of an implacable digital entity who probably looks like the MCP from Tron.
We had more entries for this giveaway than the last one, so thanks to everybody who participated.
Time for another book giveaway, courtesy of the fine folks at Viking. Up for grabs this round is a copy of Harold Holzer’s The Civil War in 50 Objects, which I blogged about a few days ago. (No, you’re not getting my review copy. I’m keeping that sucker.)
Just pick any number between 1 and 1,863 and e-mail it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org using “Civil War Book Giveaway” as the subject line. Deadline for entries is Saturday, June 8 at 10:00 P.M. U.S. residents only, and if you get your mail at a PO box you’ll need to supply an alternate shipping address in the event that you win.
Good luck, folks. This is a pretty neat book, and I think you’ll enjoy it.
The Civil War in 50 Objects by Harold Holzer is one of the more engaging books I’ve received lately. It’s neither a catalogue nor a popular history of the war but an interesting fusion of the two.
The book features items from the New-York Historical Society’s collections, arranged chronologically and illustrated in color. The images are great, but this isn’t a picture book with the text limited to captions. Instead, Holzer uses the objects as jumping-off points to explore various aspects of the Civil War era. A wheel used to select names for the draft is the springboard for an examination of conscription, an 1864 campaign flag prompts a discussion of Johnson’s selection as a candidate for the vice presidency, and so on. The chapters are short, but still substantial enough to give readers a nice little overview of the subject.
The objects run the gamut from a set of slave shackles to a portrait of U.S. Grant, from a John Brown pike to a manuscript copy of the Thirteenth Amendment. Lincoln, emancipation, and the home front get particular attention, but the selection is broad enough to appeal to anybody who’s interested in the war.
This book gives you the same joy of exploration and discovery that you’d get from a museum exhibit. You can read straight through it for an overview of some important aspects of the war, or jump around to whatever artifacts strike your fancy. If you’re a museum junkie, it’ll be a welcome addition to your library.