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Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America's Greatest President Hardcover – October 7, 2010

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Editorial Reviews


"This collection cuts across nearly every aspect of law as experienced by Lincoln. No stone is left unturned whether dealing with the most mundane aspects of metes and bounds or the highly specialized laws of war. It contributes to an area of Lincoln studies that has been underserved by Lincoln scholars."―Edward Steers Jr., author of Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

"Roger Billings and Frank Williams, and their contributors eloquently and thoroughly explored the nuances of Lincoln's journey to national prominence, delving into history to present a multifaceted account of the experiences and lessons that define his stance on ethics, policy, and democracy."―Lone Star Review

"This collection of essays evaluates Lincoln's career as a lawyer and how good he was in his practice."―Oklahoman

"Useful and important for a wide audience―including Lincoln scholars, legal and constitutional historians, Civil War specialists, and general readers fascinated by Lincoln"―Law and Politics Book Review

"Abraham Lincoln, Esq. is extremely well-researched and informative. If you are looking for insights into Lincoln's legal career, this short book provides a wealth of information"―Wisconsin Lawyer

"Abraham Lincoln, Esq. is a fine addition to the literature on Lincoln as a lawyer, and its bibliographical references will be valuable for future study."―Federal Lawyer

"President Lincoln displayed a moral and intellectual integrity by his courageous opposition to the extension of slavery and to the Dred Scott ruling by the US Supreme Court."―Christian News

"This well-researched book promises to add more perspective to the life of perhaps the most famous person ever born in Kentucky."―Kentucky Monthly

"a testament to the enduring relevance of Lincoln to modern America and the world. This particular edited volume is the result of an incredible amount of archival digging."―Ohio Valley History

"Present[s] important studies of Lincoln and . . . worthy of close attention."―H-Net Review

"Abraham Lincoln, Esq. is a worthy addition to the bookshelf of anyone seeking to learn more about the law career of our sixteenth president."―Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Presents to us a different side of Lincoln than we normally see and how this side helped him grow into the man he was when he became president"―Book Bargains and Previews

"Plumbs the latest research on the least-understood aspect of the career of Abraham Linocln."―Historian

"[Will] satisfy historians' unquenchable thirst for new knowledge about Lincoln."―Journal of East Tennessee History

About the Author

Roger Billings is a professor at Northern Kentucky University's Salmon P. Chase College of Law. His articles have appeared in such publications as the ABA Journal, and Journal of Illinois History. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Frank J. Williams is a retired Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, founding Chair of The Lincoln Forum and Chair of the Rhode Island Civil War Sesquicentennial Commemoration Commission. He also served as Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Military Commission review to hear appeals from those detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.He is the author of Judging Lincoln and the coeditor of Lincoln Lessons: Reflections on America's Greatest Leader. He lives in Hope Valley, Rhode Island.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (October 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813126088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813126081
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,505,676 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James W. Durney TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Lore has Lincoln as a country lawyer riding the circuit. He wins cases by charming the jury with stories and leading witnesses step by step to where he wants them.
Success depends more on his personality and people skills than legal abilities.
This is a comfortable image of Lincoln as a lawyer, likable defending the "little man" and fighting the "system".
Others like to show Lincoln as the ultimate corporation lawyer. A champion of the railroads, Lincoln won their cases against the people, earning a fortune in fees.

In the first essay, Harold Holzer addresses these images in a balanced look at his legal career setting the tone for the eleven essays that follow.
All are well written, scholarly and interesting. Some of the essays were published in law reviews prior to inclusion in this book.
All contain a full set of endnotes and the book has an index and a full set of illustrations.

The book has three main sections: Evaluating Lincoln's Career, The Illinois Years and The Washington Years.
Each essay deals with an idea in of one of the main sections. This develops a comprehensive introduction to his legal career and how this influenced Lincoln in the White House.
Much or what is written here stays away from the famous cases. While mentioned and given their real importance, the everyday bread and butter work is highlighted.
These are the cases that prepare Lincoln for the major cases and built his reputation. "The Illinois Years" takes a close look at this aspect of Lincoln's practice.

Each essay is about fifteen to 30 pages in length, allowing you to "cherry pick" essays or skip back and forth.
I confess that I read Holzer's "Reassessing Lincoln's Legal Career" and jumped to Owens' "Abraham as Practical Constitutional Lawyer".
In the end, I read them all.
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2 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. Shirley on July 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Abraham Lincoln Esq. is as the title suggests, a book about Lincoln as a lawyer.

It is a great read, interesting stories of his clients, colleagues, and courts at the time.

Well researched and a veritable garden of great stories well told.


Honolulu, Hawaii
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