“Lincoln believed that ‘with public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.’ Harold Holzer makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Lincoln’s leadership by showing us how deftly he managed his relations with the press of his day to move public opinion forward to preserve the Union and abolish slavery.” —Doris Kearns Goodwin From his earliest days, Lincoln devoured newspapers. As he started out in politics he wrote editorials and letters to argue his case. He spoke to the public directly through the press. He even bought a German-language newspaper to appeal to that growing electorate in his state. Lincoln alternately pampered, battled, and manipulated the three most powerful publishers of the day: Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune, James Gordon Bennett of the New York Herald, and Henry Raymond of the New York Times. When war broke out and the nation was tearing itself apart, Lincoln authorized the most widespread censorship in the nation’s history, closing down papers that were “disloyal” and even jailing or exiling editors who opposed enlistment or sympathized with secession. The telegraph, the new invention that made instant reporting possible, was moved to the office of Secretary of War Stanton to deny it to unfriendly newsmen. Holzer shows us an activist Lincoln through journalists who covered him from his start through to the night of his assassination—when one reporter ran to the box where Lincoln was shot and emerged to write the story covered with blood. In a wholly original way, Holzer shows us politicized newspaper editors battling for power, and a masterly president using the press to speak directly to the people and shape the nation.
"In addition, each section title page displays a photograph of Lincoln from the period covered in that section, with a paragraph describing the source and the occasion for which the photograph was made. The editors have also written a new preface that offers a fresh assessment of the impact of Lincoln's classic statements."--BOOK JACKET.
Although Abraham Lincoln was among seven presidents who served during the tumultuous years between the end of the Mexican War and the end of the Reconstruction era, history has not been kind to the others: Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce, James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, and Ulysses S. Grant. In contrast, history sees Abraham Lincoln as a giant in character and deeds. During his presidency, he governed brilliantly, developed the economy, liberated four million people from slavery, reunified the nation, and helped enact the Homestead Act, among other accomplishments. He proved to be not only an outstanding commander in chief but also a skilled diplomat, economist, humanist, educator, and moralist. Lincoln achieved that and more because he was a master of the art of American power. He understood that the struggle for hearts and minds was the essence of politics in a democracy. He asserted power mostly by appealing to peopleÆs hopes rather than their fears. All along he tried to shape rather than reflect prevailing public opinions that differed from his own. To that end, he was brilliant at bridging the gap between progressives and conservatives by reining in the former and urging on the latter. His art of power ultimately reflected his unswerving devotion to the Declaration of IndependenceÆs principles and the ConstitutionÆs institutions, or as he so elegantly expressed it, ôto a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.ö