Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850’s 1st Edition

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0804701204
ISBN-10: 0804701202
Why is ISBN important?
ISBN
This bar-code number lets you verify that you're getting exactly the right version or edition of a book. The 13-digit and 10-digit formats both work.
Scan an ISBN with your phone
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Buy used On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$14.98 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
Buy new On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
$22.95 On clicking this link, a new layer will be open
More Buying Choices
16 New from $14.95 31 Used from $5.13
Free Two-Day Shipping for College Students with Amazon Student Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


Save Up to 90% on Textbooks Textbooks
$22.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

  • Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850’s
  • +
  • Slaves No More: Three Essays on Emancipation and the Civil War
  • +
  • The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War
Total price: $73.31
Buy the selected items together

Editorial Reviews

Review

“ . . . [The] paperback edition of Professor Fehrenbacher’s study, first published in 1962, of Lincoln in the 1850s is a welcome reminder of what can be achieved by a fresh and searching investigation of often-asked questions. . . . The book is lucidly and soberly written, and full of carefully considered argument. It is one more major contribution to the work of putting the slavery issue back where it has always belonged—at the very centre—of any discussion of the origins of the Civil War.”—Journal of American Studies


“This is a brilliant book. With thorough research . . . and a fresh point of view, we have a study that will shape Lincoln scholarship for many years.”—The Journal of Southern History


“To say that ‘this is just another Lincoln book’ would be to demean a significant contribution with a well-worn cliche. This is an outstanding book; we need more like it.”—The American Historical Review


“American historians generally, and Lincoln collectors and scholars particularly, would do well to add to their own pleasure and knowledge by reading this book, one of the finest pieces of Lincolniana yet written.”—The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography


“This fascinating volume deserves a wide audience.”—Mid-America

From the Back Cover

“ . . . [The] paperback edition of Professor Fehrenbacher’s study, first published in 1962, of Lincoln in the 1850s is a welcome reminder of what can be achieved by a fresh and searching investigation of often-asked questions. . . . The book is lucidly and soberly written, and full of carefully considered argument. It is one more major contribution to the work of putting the slavery issue back where it has always belonged—at the very centre—of any discussion of the origins of the Civil War.”—Journal of American Studies
“This is a brilliant book. With thorough research . . . and a fresh point of view, we have a study that will shape Lincoln scholarship for many years.”—The Journal of Southern History
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE



Product Details

  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1962)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804701202
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804701204
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all 4 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this short, carefully- and concisely-argued book, the author does an excellent job in situating Lincoln within the political setting of the 1850s and in describing the course of events that resulted in his election to the Presidency. This book is largely an answer to those who would contend that Lincoln showed little promise of greatness before supposedly stumbling into the Presidency, where it is acknowledged even by those critics that he rose to the heights demanded by the times. The author certainly admits to the elements of circumstance in Lincoln's ascent. He was a Whig, or a moderate, in a state Illinois that had become increasingly important in national elections.
While it may have appeared that Lincoln was politically dormant in the early 50s, his behind-the-scenes political activity became obvious when he became a key anti-Nebraska activist in 1854. As a Whig, Lincoln lost a very close contest in the Illinois legislature for the U.S. Senate (legislatures elected senators in that era). From 1854 to 1856 it had become obvious that both the Whigs and the upstart Know-Nothings could not deal with the slavery issue, which led to their demise. By 1856 Lincoln had finished second in the running for the Vice-Presidential nomination at the first national Republican convention, and in the process had firmly established himself as a leading Republican in Illinois.
It was the continued Kansas crisis and the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision in March of 1857 and the reactions to them that put Lincoln on the national stage. The court decision had affirmed the repeal of the Missouri Compromise in the Kansas-Nebraska Act under a principle of Congressional non-intervention in territories. But Senator Stephen Douglas contended that his doctrine of popular sovereignty continued to hold.
Read more ›
Comment 14 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After losing his Congress seat in 1849, former Whig representative Abraham Lincoln did not hold any public office for 12 years. He lost two Senatorial elections - but in 1861, he was elected as the first Republican president of the United States of America.

The main thrust of "Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850s" is the attempt to explain how that happened. This is not a biography - rather, it is a collection of interconnected essays exploring, among other things, the importance of Lincoln's Illinois background, his transformation from Whig to Republican, the House Divided speech, and above all, the contest between Lincoln and the most important politician of the 1850s, Stephen A. Douglas.

The late Don E. Fehrenbacher was one of the best scholars of American Law & Politics in the 19th century, and of its relations with slavery. He is best known for his study of the Pulitzer winning account of the Dred Scot Case, but has also written books about the Secession Crises in the United States and about the relations of the US Government to Slavery.

Those who have read Professor Fehrenbacher before will reencounter not only his masterful prose and careful analysis, but many themes that he has written about elsewhere - Slavery in the territories, the "Freeport doctrine", the Dred Scot Case, etc. But the greatness of Fehrenbacher was his ability to offer every time a new insight into these issues, widening and deepening your understanding of it.

This time, the focus is on the interplay between the ambitions and ideals of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A Douglas.
Read more ›
Comment 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a long time admirer of Lincoln, I've often been a bit puzzled about how he rose so quickly from relative obscurity to prominence. This little book shows some of the paddling under the surface. It also sets the background of a minor ,although principled, politician, who later rose to the sublimity of the 2nd inaugural speech.
Lincoln was always a "work in progress", and this shows the ground work being laid.
Well written and therefore easy to read...a tour de force!
Comment 4 of 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This short brilliant book explores Lincoln's evolving politics 1854-1861 -- from saying slavery was a minor problem settled by the Missouri Compromise 1820 to his conviction that slavery must be stopped despite the permission given in the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Act 1854. This is one of our nation's most tumultuous decades, surely rivaling the tumult of the 1770s or the 1960s.

Lincoln's contradictions were not yet resolved by 1861 -- that would come only in the course of the war. He said slavery was morally wrong, yet would tolerate it for a hundred years, confined to its current limits, until its natural extinction. He would enforce the fugitive slave law despite his belief that Negroes ought to be free. He wants to free slaves but not give them the vote. He would not resist the Dred Scott decision but hopes the Court will overturn it.

The author criticizes the "revisionism" of some scholars, yet demonstrates the necessity of revisionism in his own corrections of other scholars. Historians build on the work of predecessors and on further study of original sources. Fehrenbacher's report on this investigation and the growth of historical understanding is as interesting as his study of the growth of Lincoln's patient, flexible, inflexible, political and moral understanding.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more
Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850’s
This item: Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850’s
Price: $22.95
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com