Originally published in 1917, Wordcount: 173,415, Pages: 512
Author: Lord Charnwood (Godfrey Rathbone Benson)
Godfrey Rathbone Benson, 1st Baron Charnwood (6 November 1864 â€“ 3 February 1945) was a British author, academic, Liberal politician and philanthropist.
Benson was born in Alresford, Hampshire, the son of William Benson, a barrister, and Elizabeth Soulsby Smith. He was educated at Winchester and Balliol College, Oxford. He graduated in 1887, and would later become a philosophy lecturer at Balliol. He was involved in politics and represented Woodstock in the House of Commons from 1892 to 1895 and served as Mayor of Lichfield between 1909 and 1911. In the latter year Benson was raised to the peerage as Baron Charnwood, of Castle Donington in the County of Leicester.
Lord Charnwood was the author of many works. These include Abraham Lincoln, which he published in 1916 as an accurate biography, and Theodore Roosevelt in 1923, another historical biography. He was also involved in charitable work with the deaf and disabled.
GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE
Statesmen--even the greatest--have rarely won the same unquestioning recognition that falls to the great warriors or those supreme in science, art or literature. Not in their own lifetime and hardly to this day have the claims to supremacy of our own Oliver Cromwell, William III. and Lord Chatham rested on so sure a foundation as those of a Marlborough or a Nelson, a Newton, a Milton or a Hogarth. This is only natural. A warrior, a man of science, an artist or a poet are judged in the main by definite achievements, by the victories they have won over foreign enemies or over ignorance and prejudice, by the joy and enlightenment they have brought to the consciousness of their own and succeeding generations. For the statesman there is no such exact measure of greatness. The greater he is, the less likely is his work to be marked by decisive achievement which can be recalled by anniversaries or signalised by some outstanding event: the chief work of a great statesman rests in a gradual change of direction given to the policy of his people, still more in a change of the spirit within them. Again, the statesman must work with a rough and ready instrument. The soldier finds or makes his army ready to yield unhesitating obedience to his commands, the sailor animates his fleet with his own personal touch, and the great man in art, literature or science is master of his material, if he can master himself. The statesman cannot mould a heterogeneous people, as the men of a well-disciplined army or navy can be moulded, to respond to his call and his alone. He has to do all his work in a society of which a large part cannot see his object and another large part, as far as they do see it, oppose it. Hence his work at the best is often incomplete and he has to be satisfied with a rough average rather than with his ideal.
Lincoln, one of the few supreme statesmen of the last three centuries, was no exception to this rule. He was misunderstood and underrated in his lifetime, and even yet has hardly come to his own. For his place is among the great men of the earth. To them he belongs by right of his immense power of hard work, his unfaltering pursuit of what seemed to him right, and above all by that childlike directness and simplicity of vision which none but the greatest carry beyond their earliest years. It is fit that the first considered attempt by an Englishman to give a picture of Lincoln, the great hero of America's struggle for the noblest cause, should come at a time when we in England are passing through as fiery a trial for a cause we feel to be as noble. It is a time when we may learn much from Lincoln's failures and success, from his patience, his modesty, his serene optimism and his eloquence, so simple and so magnificent.
GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE (Above)
I. BOYHOOD OF LINCOLN
II. THE GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN NATION 1. The Formation of a National Government 2. Territorial Expansion 3. The Growth of the Practice and Traditions of the Union Government 4. The Missouri Compromise 5. Leaders, Parties, and Tendencies in Lincoln's Youth 6. Slavery and Southern Society 7. Intellectual Development
III. LINCOLN'S EARLY CAREER 1. Life at New Salem 2. In the Illinois Legislature 3. Marriage
IV. LINCOLN IN CONGRESS AND IN RETIREMENT 1. The Mexican War and Lincoln's Work in Congress 2. California and the Compromise of 1850 3. Lincoln in Retirement 4. The Repeal of the Missouri Compromise
V. THE RISE OF LINCOLN 1. Lincoln's Return to Public Life 2. The Principles and the Oratory of Lincoln 3. Lincoln against Douglas 4. John Brown 5. The Election of Lincoln as President
VI. SECESSION 1. The Case of the South against the Union 2. The Progress of Secession 3. The Inauguration of Lincoln 4. The Outbreak of War
VII. THE CONDITIONS OF THE WAR
VIII. THE OPENING OF THE WAR AND LINCOLN'S ADMINISTRATION 1. Preliminary Stages of the War 2. Bull Run 3. Lincoln's Administration Generally 4. Foreign Policy and England 5. The Great Questions of Domestic Policy
IX. THE DISASTERS OF THE NORTH 1. Military Policy of the North 2. The War in the West up to May, 1862 3. The War in the East up to May, 1863
XI. THE APPROACH OF VICTORY 1. The War to the End of 1863 2. Conscription and the Politics of 1863 3. The War in 1864 4. The Second Election of Lincoln: 1864
XII. THE END
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