Famous Quotes & Sayings

Harold Holzer Quotes & Sayings

Enjoy the top 100 famous quotes, sayings and quotations by Harold Holzer.

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Harold Holzer Quotes 2020879

Feeling its power, one Civil War paper trumpeted that Milton and Homer were for another age but for this one was the New York Herald. — Harold Holzer

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Just a week earlier, coincidentally, he had quietly terminated a little known year-and-a-half-long stint as silent co-owner of Springfield's German language newspaper. Lincoln had invested $400 in the publication in 1859 to ensure its total loyalty to the Republican party. Mission accomplished, he now turned over full ownership of the Illinois Staats-Anzeiger, presses, type, and all, to his neighbor, editor Theodore Canisius. (Later, Lincoln further rewarded Canisius with a more valuable commodity: the consulate in Vienna.) — Harold Holzer

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Whether applauded or not, the New York Tribune maintained that Lincoln's bearing remained "deliberate and impressive" at this solemn moment, though Henri Mercier, the elegant French minister, caustically likened this plain American's appearance amid the "marble and gilt" of the Capital to inaugurating "a Quaker in a Basilica. — Harold Holzer

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James M. McPherson spoke for a later generation of scholars when he asserted in 1988 that Lincoln's entire, public inaugural journey might have been a "mistake," because in his effort to avoid "a careless remark or slip of the tongue" that might "inflame the crisis further," the president-elect "indulged in platitudes and trivia," producing "an unfavorable impression on those who were already disposed to regard the ungainly president-elect as a commonplace prairie lawyer. — Harold Holzer

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A rival editor in Philadelphia said that the spreading railroad network carried "New York everywhere" in terms of the city's predominant influence. — Harold Holzer

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One editor during the Civil War got a grievous message to meet his brothers corpse, only to find out that the telegraph operator had garbled the message to meet his living brother's CORPS. — Harold Holzer

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A female war correspondent so popular that she had some credibility in saying she controlled half of her newspaper's circulation approached General Winfield Scott during the Mexican War with information that could help him. He was unwilling to get help from someone in petticoats. — Harold Holzer

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THE APPROACH OF Thanksgiving on November 29 sent Springfield into a panic - not over the nation-imperiling crisis plaguing its leading citizen, but the apparently more dismaying prospect of a local turkey shortage. — Harold Holzer

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I'm the only English thing they can vent their anger on. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln had an almost childlike habit of regaling visitors with any sharp saying he'd uttered during the day, taking simple-hearted pleasure in some of his best hits. — Harold Holzer

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The letter is too belligerent. If I were you, I would state the facts as they were, without the pepper and salt. Abraham Lincoln — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln received one more painful reminder that he was still a target for criticism. Walking between his home and office, he noticed a group of young boys teasing an agitated stray goat. When the animal hungrily spied the taller target, it turned from the children and tried butting Lincoln instead, until he was forced to seize it by the horns in self-defense. As the youngsters watched in delight, the president-elect of the United States gave his first post-election speech - to an angry goat. He might as well have been speaking to the South when he shouted: "I didn't bother you. It was the boys. Why don't you go and butt the boys. I wouldn't trouble you. — Harold Holzer

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Not everyone was laughing. Ascribing "incapacity, stupidity, imbecility, gross ignorance and habitual venality" to the stalemated Congress, the New York Herald angrily concluded that "no remedy whatever is to be looked for from their representatives." Sounding eerily like President Buchanan in his December annual message, it blamed not Southern extremism but "republican fanaticism" for the current "avalanche of destruction. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln must have welcomed the chance that evening to escape from such friends, if only to submit to a final fitting for the recently delivered inaugural suit from the Chicago tailors Titsworth & Brother. — Harold Holzer

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How could Lincoln reply to such comments, without offending abolitionists or frightening slave-owning Unionists from the Upper South? Placating words were likewise out of the question. A plea from Virginia suggesting Lincoln need do no more than assure Southerners they had the right to bring their property into all American territories reminded the dubious president-elect of an apt story. It concerned a little girl who begged her mother to let her play outside. The mother repeatedly said no, the child persisted, and the mother finally lost patience and gave her a whipping, "upon which," Lincoln chortled, "the girl exclaimed: 'Now, Ma. I can certainly run out. — Harold Holzer

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Harvard students rallied on campus to offer formal, but "cordial," congratulations to their fellow student, Robert T. Lincoln, son of the president-elect and newly dubbed - in honor of the Prince of Wales's recent triumphant American tour - the "Prince of Rails. — Harold Holzer

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Any journalist who holds the office writes in a straitjacket. — Harold Holzer

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Not only was he sorrowful at the prospect of leaving home, he was convinced, he whispered, that he would never return alive. Herndon implored him to abandon such thoughts. — Harold Holzer

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His secretary heard Lincoln authoritatively remind a caller on November 15 that "this government possesses both the authority and the power to maintain its own integrity." Here was Jacksonian firmness to spare. "That, however, is not the ugly point of this matter," Lincoln added grimly. "The ugly point is the necessity of keeping the government by force, as ours ought to be a government of fraternity. — Harold Holzer

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In Lincoln's mind, at least as Lamon interpreted the story, "the illusion was a sign." Both the president-elect and his wife believed it meant he would not only survive his term in office, but four years later win reelection to a second one, only to die before it ended. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln again got his name prominently mentioned in the New York Tribune, though this time it was for allegedly pumping up his expense account. — Harold Holzer

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The Bible and newspapers, to both Lincoln and Greeley, they represented equally compelling gospel. — Harold Holzer

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Robert T. Lincoln, the president's eldest son, who won fame as the "Prince of Rails" during the secession winter, was the only one of his children to live to maturity. He became U.S. secretary of war, minister to Great Britain, and president of the Pullman Company following brief service on General Grant's staff at the end of the Civil War. Though frequently mentioned as a Republican candidate for president, Robert shunned electoral politics. He later brought his mother to trial in a successful effort to have her committed for insanity. Robert died an extremely wealthy man at age eighty-four in 1926. — Harold Holzer

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While attending to the customary tasks of assembling a cabinet, rewarding political loyalists with federal appointments, and drafting an inaugural address alone - he employed no speechwriters - Lincoln was uniquely forced to confront the collapse of the country itself, with no power to prevent its disintegration. Bound to loyalty to the Republican party platform on which he had run and won, he could yield little to the majority that had in fact voted against him. — Harold Holzer

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By mid-November, his protests notwithstanding, whiskers began sprouting from his face. A few weeks later, his assistant private secretary, John Hay, approvingly punned: Election news Abe's hirsute fancy warrant - Apparent hair becomes heir apparent.44 — Harold Holzer

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But no opposition grumbling could spoil the moment for the new president-elect. He donned his overcoat, thanked the telegraph operators for their hard work and hospitality, and stuffed the final dispatch from New York into his pocket as a souvenir. It was about time, he announced to one and all, that he "went home and told the news to a tired woman who was sitting up for him. — Harold Holzer

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In state after state, one portentous incident after another, breathlessly reported in newspapers throughout the country in the days following the election, alarmed even confident Republicans who had insisted that a Lincoln victory could never loosen the bonds that held the Union together. As early as November 9, pro-secession placards appeared on the streets of New Orleans, calling for the formation of a defense corps of Minutemen. Dissidents unfurled palmetto flags in Charleston, where artillery saluted their appearance by opening fire with a defiant fifteen-gun cannonade. — Harold Holzer

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Samuel FB Morse's SECOND question over the telegraph was, "Have you any news? — Harold Holzer

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Irritably, Piatt replied that "in ninety days the land would be whitened by tents." But Lincoln would not take the bait. He merely replied: "Well, we won't jump that ditch until we come to it," pausing before he added: "I must run the machine as I find it." Piatt left dinner wondering why the "strange and strangely gifted" Lincoln remained "so blind. — Harold Holzer

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And Indiana's John Defrees expressed his belief that the inclusion of Winfield Scott of Virginia, Alexander Stephens of Georgia, and Edward Bates of Missouri "would do much to bring about a re-action among the people of all the Southern States except S. Carolina, which is insane beyond hope of cure."134 (Stephens himself later branded as "totally groundless" the "rumor" that he had ever discussed a cabinet appointment with the president-elect. — Harold Holzer

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General literature without the humbug," was the New Yorker's original mission. — Harold Holzer

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The harried Lincoln made clear to Sumner that he believed compromise would simply open the door for further demands and more concessions: "Give them personal liberty bills, and they will pull in the slack, hold on, and insist on the border-state compromises. Give them that, they'll again pull in the slack and demand Crittenden's compromise. That pulled in, they will want all that South Carolina asks." He "would sooner go out into his backyard and hang himself." Then Lincoln punctuated his resolve with a down-home pledge: "By no act or complicity of mine shall the Republican party become a mere sucked egg, all shell and no principle in it. — Harold Holzer

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The firmament breaks up. In black eclipse Light after light goes out. One evil star, Luridly glaring through the smoke of war, As in the dream of the Apocalypse, Drags others down. — Harold Holzer

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From "boyhood up," as Lincoln once confided to his old friend Ward Hill Lamon, "my ambition was to be President. — Harold Holzer

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One paper boasted that its subscription and advertising numbers proved that America did not need the social change it rival paper advocated. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln on a desire to hear Horace Greeley speak: "In print, every one of his words seems to weigh about a ton. — Harold Holzer

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John J. Hendee of Blackman, Michigan, argued that he was entitled to a job simply because he was "governed by the principles" outlined on an enclosed card. Labeled, "God's Commands," the manifesto called on its bearers to worship God, tell the truth, abstain from "intoxicating drinks," and avoid marrying "blood relation[s]." The list of commandments ended with the warning: "Waste not your strength in any unnatural manner" - in other words, do not masturbate. — Harold Holzer

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The author observers that better technology actually increased division because rival outlets funded by rival parties could get their slant to the partisans — Harold Holzer

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Only a writer "with Bennett's craft and brass could manage to praise and insult his readers at the same time. — Harold Holzer

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The revelers in the State House, however, had no intention of retiring for the night. Instead they emptied into the streets and massed outside the telegraph office, shouting "New York 50,000 majority for Lincoln - whoop, whoop hurrah!" The entire city "went off like one immense cannon report, with shouting from houses, shouting from stores, shouting from house tops, and shouting everywhere. — Harold Holzer

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Even more secretively, Lincoln took up his pen around this same time to write a deeply felt manifesto of principle that he shared with absolutely no one, certainly not sculptor Thomas Jones, in whose presence he likely composed it. Secret or not, it bracingly confirms Lincoln's steadfast determination to preserve - and ultimately, extend - not only the permanence of the Union, but also its guarantee of liberty. He had thought much about these questions in recent days, pondering concepts that went well beyond the planks of the Republican platform he so often cited. The result was an appeal not just to reason but also to emotion, a heartfelt justification for resisting any compromise that reneged on the original promise of American freedom. — Harold Holzer

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The press-savy Lincoln looked not to the future, but to the past. — Harold Holzer

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Historian David M. Potter pointed out in 1942 that as president-elect, Lincoln was no more than "simply a lawyer from Springfield, Illinois - a man of great undeveloped capacities and narrowly limited background. He was more fit to become President than to be President. — Harold Holzer

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Greeley knew no language but his, but of that, he possessed a most extraordinary mastery. An employee — Harold Holzer

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President-elect Lincoln to his confidants: "The people of the South do not know us. They are not allowed to receive Republican papers down there. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln jibed that a general INVADED Canada without resistance and out-vaded it without pursuit. — Harold Holzer

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Fighting newspaper editors for the last word was a losing proposition. — Harold Holzer

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The mid-19th century was noted for a partisan, rather than a consensus press, but this partisanship was able to turn out voters consistently. — Harold Holzer

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Around the same time, the president-elect opened an equally chilling letter from yet another anonymous enemy in Washington: "Caesar had his Brutus. Charles the First his Cromwell. And the President may profit by their example." The letter was signed "Vindex" - the name of the first Roman governor to rebel against Nero - "one of a sworn band of 10, who have resolved to shoot you in the inaugural procession on the 4th of March, 1861. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln likely concluded - was, as Jackson had put it, "fallacious" in its justifications and, "in direct violation of their duty as citizens of the United States, contrary to the laws of their country, subversive of its Constitution, and having for its object the destruction of the Union." As Jackson had bluntly concluded: "Disunion by armed force is treason. — Harold Holzer

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One of Lincoln's intimates as a presidential candidate urged him to make no promises and not to part with those kind words which could be interpreted as promises. — Harold Holzer

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In March 1861 alone - Lincoln's first month in office - the U.S. Senate would receive for its advice and consent some sixty pages of names submitted for civilian and military appointments ranging from secretary of state to surveyor-general of Minnesota. — Harold Holzer

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Southern newspapers hungry for fodder to roil the secession debate fed their subscribers the most inciteful material they could unearth in the Northern press. Northern journals scoured Southern papers for similarly provocative reports designed to confirm hotheaded Southern disloyalty. — Harold Holzer

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One of the cost of holding a Federal office was geographic isolation in the nation's capital. — Harold Holzer

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One writer may speak of something more lasting than Horace Greeley when he writes of that editor that his secular philanthropy drifted into autocratic ambition. — Harold Holzer

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Looking to advance in journalism, one future editor displayed skilled as varied as economic analysis and humorous commentary. — Harold Holzer

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As a host, Lincoln was "never at a loss as to the subjects that please the different classes of visitors and there is a certain quaintness and originality about all he has to say, so that one cannot help feeling interested. His 'talk' is not brilliant," Villard observed. "His phrases are not ceremoniously set, but pervaded with a humorousness and, at times, with a grotesque joviality, that will always please. I think it would be hard to find one who tells better jokes, enjoys them better and laughs oftener than Abraham Lincoln. — Harold Holzer

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Then it was on toward Manhattan, with the train slowing down at intervening suburban stops like Dobbs Ferry and Manhattanville so Lincoln could offer his ritualistic bowing from the rear car - doing so even alongside Sing Sing, whose prisoners, wearing striped uniforms, saluted as the train passed by.113 — Harold Holzer

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Horace Greeley's conversation inevitably becomes a speech. — Harold Holzer

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The author describes Lincoln's attitude in making a deal with a newspaper publisher as, "almost defiant transparency. — Harold Holzer

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To Lincoln, words always mattered most. Newspaper stories lived but a single day, caricatures flamed into view and just as quickly faded, and even the most flattering photographs inevitably receded behind the thick covers of family albums. But words lived forever. Writing, Lincoln believed, was "the great invention of the world. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln said his spiky hair had "a way of getting up in the world". — Harold Holzer

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On the subject of "personal beauty," for example, Lincoln merrily confided he felt fortunate that "'the women couldn't vote,' otherwise the monstrous portraits of him which had been circulated during the canvas by friends as well as by foes would surely defeat him. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln may have shown how relieved he was that there had been none of the "outrage and violence" some had predicted in New York when a giant of a man neared him, and someone in the crowd cried out, "That's Tom Hyer," the retired prizefighter who had won fame with a 101-round victory years before. To which the president-elect replied, to much laughter: "I don't care, so long as he don't hit me. — Harold Holzer

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Still, their affection for each other remained strong: while Baker was serving in Washington, the Lincolns honored him by naming their second-born son for the congressman. (Edward Baker Lincoln died tragically at age three in 1850.) When Baker finished his term, he dutifully handed off his House seat to Lincoln. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln gives a lesson in adaptive leadership even to those of us who will never advocate for compensated emancipation. Facing an uproar over the cost of the government paying slaveholders for their slaves, Lincoln showed the COST OF THE STATUS QUO, which is generally overlooked by those who oppose change. — Harold Holzer

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I have not done enough for effect." Horace Greeley — Harold Holzer

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His targets had little in common, other than that they had somehow aroused his enmity. — Harold Holzer

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Horace Greeley pursues temperance to extravagance." Lord Acton — Harold Holzer

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Newspaper accounts must not only be studied, but, occasionally refuted. — Harold Holzer

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New York Times founder Henry Raymond started his newspaper, "with the goal of reforming government, not belittling it. — Harold Holzer

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It is a newspaper's duty to print the news and raise hell. Wilbur Storey — Harold Holzer

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For a time, Greeley seemed to be following the historic advice he had once given young Josiah Grinnell: "Go West, young man, go West. — Harold Holzer

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The infant New York Times boasted that no newspaper printing what was really worth reading ever perished for lack of readers. — Harold Holzer

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Almost from the moment votes are counted, lame-duck chief executives invariably recede into superfluity, but Lincoln's hapless predecessor, James Buchanan, made procrastination into an art form. He could not have excused himself from responsibility at a more portentous moment, or left his successor with graver problems to address once he was constitutionally entitled to do so. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln's "campaign" for president ended how and where it began: in adamant silence, and in the same Illinois city to which he had so tenaciously clung since the national convention. Like the solar eclipse that had obscured the Illinois sun in July, Lincoln remained in Springfield, hidden in full view. — Harold Holzer

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Superficial and emotional subject might sway undecided voters. — Harold Holzer

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James Gordon Bennett said he aimed to be, "serious in my aims but full of frolic in my means. — Harold Holzer

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John Hay calls the telegraph reporter, "the natural enemy of the scribe. — Harold Holzer

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It came as no surprise that another visitor to Springfield found Lincoln on November 14 "reading up anew" on the history of Andrew Jackson's response to the 1832 Nullification Crisis. While he made no effort to conceal "the uneasiness which the contemplated treason gives him," Lincoln assured his guest that, like Jackson, he would not "yield an inch. — Harold Holzer

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Lincoln bought a German language newspaper. — Harold Holzer

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The author said Frederick Douglass described himself as a "graduate" of slavery with the marks of his diploma on his back. — Harold Holzer

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As of Election Day, Lincoln had successfully avoided not only his three opponents, but also his own running mate, Hannibal Hamlin. Republicans had nominated the Maine senator for vice president without Lincoln's knowledge, much less his consent - true to another prevailing political custom that left such choices exclusively to the delegates - in an attempt to balance the Chicago convention's choice of a Westerner for the presidency. — Harold Holzer

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We need to know not only what is done but what is purposed and said by those who shape the destines of states and realms." Horace Greeley — Harold Holzer

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He not only fumbled badly in his attempts at impromptu oratory en route to the capital, but worst of all, ended his journey in the dead of night, embarrassingly fearful for his safety, after encouraging unseemly partisan demonstrations in friendly Northern cities. He was too conspicuous. He was too sequestered. He was too careless. He was too calculating. He was too conciliatory. He was too coercive. He was too sloppy. — Harold Holzer

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It seemed a church committee needed an architect to build a bridge "over a very dangerous and rapid river." Designer after designer failed, until one boasted - to the horror of his priggish benefactors - "I could build a bridge to the infernal regions, if necessary." The chairman assured his shocked colleagues: "he is so honest a man and so good an architect that if he states soberly and positively that he can build a bridge to Hades - why, I believe it. But," he admitted, "I have my doubts about the abutment on the infernal side!" Henry Villard could not help noticing "Lincoln's facial contortions" as he reached the story's moral: "So," he concluded, when "politicians said they could harmonize the Northern and Southern wings of the democracy, why, I believed them. But I had my doubts about the abutment on the Southern side. — Harold Holzer

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Jefferson said he only read the advertisements in the newspaper, because it was there he was most likely to find the truth. — Harold Holzer

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Stephen Douglas's oratory was designed for the galleries, Lincoln's for his peers — Harold Holzer

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After he "urged his way" to the voting table, Lincoln followed ritual by formally identifying himself in a subdued tone: "Abraham Lincoln."91 Then he "deposited the straight Republican ticket" after first cutting his own name, and those of the electors pledged to him, from the top of his preprinted ballot so he could vote for other Republicans without immodestly voting for himself. — Harold Holzer

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The author says that though the Mexican War wound down, the interpretation of it was just beginning. — Harold Holzer

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Soon thereafter, Lincoln glimpsed another "mysterious" and, he feared, "ominous" vision in his own bedroom mirror. While reclining on a lounge, he glanced up to notice a "double-image of himself in the looking-glass," one clear, the other pallid. For a moment, it was vivid; then it vanished - at first, two Lincolns side by side, then none at all. — Harold Holzer

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As the endlessly patient husband explained of his volatile wife's outbursts some years later: "If you knew how little harm it does me, and how much good it does her, you wouldn't wonder that I am meek. — Harold Holzer

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The markets fluctuated alarmingly for the rest of the month, falling one day, recovering the next, then plummeting another, leaving speculators alternating between relief and hysteria. By the end of November, with many nervous New Yorkers clamoring for reassurances, Strong confided he was as fearful about Northern capitulation as he was about Southern belligerence. "Our national mottoes must be changed to 'e pluribus duo' (at least) and 'United we stand, divided we stand easier. — Harold Holzer

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When one bearded gentleman passed by the line and exclaimed, "Well, he looks like me," Lincoln was heard to observe: "I did not look at him, but I take it that he is a very handsome man." Meeting a gunpowder manufacturer burdened with the Dickensian name of "Hazard," he could not resist advising him to "keep his powder dry." And when one passerby solemnly lectured him, "the flag of our country is looking at you," Lincoln shot back: "I hope it won't lose any of its eyes. — Harold Holzer

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When a grizzled yeoman worker appeared one morning to complain that as a state legislator many years earlier, in hard times, young Lincoln had inexcusably voted to raise his government salary from two to all of four dollars a day," Lincoln listened to the reproach calmly. "Now, Abe, I want to know what in the world made you do it?" demanded the old Democrat. With deadpan seriousness, Lincoln explained: "I reckon the only reason was that we wanted the money. — Harold Holzer

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So great was the quest for patronage that Lincoln came to hope that Southerners would never leave the Union and abandon the plum government jobs they might retain if they remained loyal. As he joked rather cynically to the Ohio editor and politician Donn Piatt over a chicken dinner at the Lincoln home: "Were it believed that vacant places could be had at the North Pole, the road there would be lined with dead Virginians. — Harold Holzer

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At times, said the founder of the Chicago Tribune, Lincoln seemed to reach into the clouds and take out the thunderbolts. — Harold Holzer

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A writer at the time said, "Lincoln means to sink the man in the public officer. — Harold Holzer

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Indeed, in 1794, George Washington had not only authorized sending national troops into battle against Pennsylvanians resisting the whiskey tax, he had taken to the field to lead the forces himself. Later, Andrew Jackson had acted boldly to crush South Carolina's attempt to nullify the 1832 tariff. — Harold Holzer

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Saying nothing was preferable to saying too much. Well versed in the Bible, Lincoln may also have remembered the lines from Isaiah: "You silence the uproar of foreigners; as heat is reduced by the shadow of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled."102 — Harold Holzer