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Lincoln for President: An Unlikely Candidate, An Audacious Strategy, and the Victory No One Saw Coming Paperback – November 1, 2010
""The author is at his best when focused on the personal and colorful details of 1860s politics."" - Associated Press
""In these pages Lincoln appeared startlingly lifelike...a book well worthy of further study, it is full of interesting facts."" - Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review
"Set 150 years ago, this account is contemporary in its feeling and treatment...While certainly scholarly, this book is influenced by Chadwick's first career, 24 years at the New York Daily News, as a reporter and investigative reporter, entertainment writer and assistant features editor." - Star Ledger --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I'm also a bit perplexed by the subtitle. Many people saw Lincoln's victory, as the book discusses, so saying no one saw it coming is at odds with what the book says. Also, ignoring the South when you wouldn't win a single state in that section isn't exactly "audacious" in my mind.
It's a decent historical overview of the nation's most significant election. But there will be better books written about the contest of 1860.
The election was complex and difficult. There were four contenders for the office.
1. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) our greatest president was a dark horse in the campaign. Lincoln was a moderate on the flammable slavery issue. His goal was to preserve the Union even if that meant making an accomodation with the Southern firebrands who opposed his position. Lincoln won on the third ballot at the Republican National Convention in Chicago after defeating his chief rival New Yorker William Seward. Seward had served two terms as Governor and Senator of New York and was a heavy favorite to win the nomination. However, many opposed him due to his strong anti-slavery stand. Seward patched up things with Lincoln since he wanted to become Secretary of State (which he did) in the Lincoln administration opening the way to a run for POTUS in 1864. Thurlow Weed, the canny Tammany Hall operative, worked closely with Lincoln and Seward to ensure Old Abe's victory at the polls on November 6, 1860. Lincoln would win the election carrying such needed states as Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Illinois. Lincoln was also able to win the American Party's support. The Wide-Awake movement of over
500,00 young Lincoln fans helped stir up voter support for the lanky Illinoisan.
2. Stephen Douglas. The little giant won the Illinois Senate race from Lincoln in 1858. He was the standard bearer for the Northern Democrats. He was sunk by his advocacy for the Kansas-Nebraska Bill and the suspicions of the South.
3. John Breckinridge-The scion of one of Kentucky's most powerful families served as both a US Senator from Kentucky and also the Vice-President under Democratic POTUS James Buchannan. While destesting slavery and working as as a lawyer in Louisville he,nevertheless, represented the slaveholding southern cause.
4. John Bell was the candidate of the Democratic Union party. He believed Americans should not mention slavery and stand strong for the US Constitution.
Lincoln won due to his crafty strategy working with such political professionals as Judge David Davis. Among their strategy were these key points:
a. Focus on winning swing states in the North since the South would not vote for the Republicans.
b. Lincoln pursued a busy letter writing plan asking for support of his cause.
c. Lincoln successfully worked to bring new voters and young people to his cause.
d. Large rallies, newspaper articles and brochures helped spread Lincoln's message to voters.
e. Lincoln's strong support of a high tariff, the extension of railroads and the Homestead Law in the West aided his cause.
The book is easy reading providing even experienced readers of Lincoln literature a new perspective on Abraham Lincoln. He was a skilled politican who knew how to win friends to his cause through supporting local candidates and building up the Illinois Republican Party. He was a great speaker and the most eloquent of all our presidents in his writing and speeches.
Bruce Chadwick has written a fine book on the 1860 election prelude to the bloody Civil War.