Road Scholar : Home
A House Divided: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War

Program Number: 15326RJ
Start and End Dates:
9/21/2014 - 9/25/2014;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Springfield, Illinois
Price starting at: $860.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: History & Culture
Meals: 11; 4 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

In Abraham Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield, examine the national environment that led to the outbreak of the Civil War as scholars recall the politics of slavery and the division between the North and the South. Discover how Lincoln’s experience as a Springfield lawyer and politician framed his approach to decision making and strategy during the war. Listen as civilian and military re-enactors share their experiences and gain an understanding of what life was like 150 years ago and a war that would change and ultimately strengthen the U.S.


• Visit the Old State Capitol and see where Lincoln delivered his famous "House Divided" speech.
• Explore Camp Butler, one of the earliest training grounds for Civil War soldiers, and hear the stories of those whose lives were forever changed.
• Discover the spectacular Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum to see how his story is told through their collections, and learn what it was like to be in the White House while the war raged on.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to 4 blocks or equivalent at a time (example: from hotel to Lincoln Home site and from the bus to site entrances) and may require standing up to an hour during some field trips/tours.

Date Specific Information


Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Coordinated by Lincoln Land Community College.

Springfield (Illinois)

The capital city of Illinois, Springfield welcomes more than 1 million visitors each year, many of whom come to explore the historic sites connected to Abraham Lincoln, such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home and Neighborhood, Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices, Lincoln Tomb, and Lincoln’s New Salem.

Modern hotel in walking distance of downtown Lincoln sites.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Hotel
  Springfield, IL 4 nights
 Hilton Hotel
Type: Full Service Hotel
  Description: Highlights •HHonors Reward Category: 4 •Striking 30-story tower, located in the historic downtown area of Springfield •Excellent central location, minutes from many popular Springfield attractions •Heated indoor swimming pool and Precor© by Hilton fitness center •Retire to the Pinnacle Club and watch the city lights glimmer from 30 stories high in our Springfield, IL hotel. •Three restaurants and two bars and the only Starbucks in downtown Springfield
  Contact info: 700 East Adams Street
Springfield, IL 62701-1601 USA
phone: 217-789-1530
  Room amenities: Accommodations start with a view of downtown from our king and queen/queen rooms with premium bedding and name brand bath amenities. Work easier with two dual-line phones, an oversized desk and ergonomic leather chair. Stay entertained with the MP3 clock radio, 32-inch flat screen HDTV with expanded cable channels and video games. Other amenities include a safe, digital thermostat, coffeemaker and high-speed Internet access. You must request a refrigerator in the room if it is required as they are limited. You must request an accessible room in advance if it is required and we will check with the hotel on availability as those rooms are limited in number.
  Facility amenities: For Your Comfort and Convenience •Automated Teller (ATM) •Baggage Storage •Barber Shop •Beauty Salon •Clothing Store •Concierge Desk •Elevators •Florist •Gift Shop •Laundry/Valet Service •Lounge •Luggage Hold •Multi-Lingual Staff •Room Service •Safety Deposit Box For Your Fitness and Recreation Convenience •Fitness Room •Pool For Your Business Convenience •Business Center •Fax •Notary Public •Photo Copying Service •Printer
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: $119.00 plus tax Additional nights as available by contacting the hotel directly and mention that you are with the Road Scholar group.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: $119.00 plus tax Additional nights as available by contacting the hotel directly and mention that you are with the Road Scholar group.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
5 PM at hotel in Springfield, IL. You will be staying at Hilton Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
10:30 AM at hotel in Springfield, IL. You will be staying at Hilton Hotel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Valid photo ID such as driver's license suggested.
  Parking availability:
Take a ticket at the garage entrance but disregard it after you check in. From the garage, go to the lobby level to check in at the front desk and get a parking pass. Show this pass to the attendant anytime you exit the garage for free parking.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Springfield, IL
  Nearest city or town:  Springfield, Illinois
  Nearest highway: Interstate 55 and 72
  Nearest airport:  Springfield's Capital Airport (SPI)
  From End of Program
  Location: Springfield, IL
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

St. Louis, MO


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
BART Transportation
phone: 800-284-2278
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$58, each additional person $48
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour 30 minutes 




100 miles


Available 24/7, must make arrangements 3 days in advance, 217-789-7920 local number. BART will notify you of the pickup time at the airport terminal and estimate the arrival time to accommodations a day or 2 prior to travel.


St. Louis, MO


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Smart Van
phone: 877-277-6278
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$60, each additional person $35
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


1 hour and thirty minutes 




100 miles


Hours: 24/7, must make arrangements 3 days in advance, local number 217-529-4806. You will be contacted with the pickup time and terminal location by Smart Van 1-2 days before travel.


Springfield, IL


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Hilton Springfield Hotel
phone: 217-789-1530
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


10-15 minutes 




5 miles


The hotel provides a shuttle to and from the airport and is arranged with the front desk/bell stand. Guests need to call beforehand and tell a front desk/bell stand employee their schedule. The bell stand staff will pick them up in a Hilton van. There is always a bellman at the hotel from 7am to 11pm. Please call them with delays or cancellations to alert the hotel so they don’t send a bellman out to a guest who is not there.


Springfield, IL


From Train Station




Hotel Shuttle
Hilton Springfield Hotel
phone: 217-789-1530
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


5 minutes 




5 blocks


The hotel does provide a shuttle to and from the train station and is arranged with the front desk/bell stand. Guests need to call beforehand and tell a front desk/bell stand employee their schedule. The bell stand staff will pick them up in a Hilton van. There is always a bellman at the hotel from 7am to 11pm. Please call them with delays or cancellations to alert the hotel so they don’t send a bellman out to a guest who is not there.

Driving Directions
  From Interstate 55 to the Hilton Springfield Hotel The Hilton Springfield is located in downtown Springfield, across the street from Prairie Capital Convention Center. From U.S. Interstate Highway 55 South and Interstate Highway 72 use exit 98B for Clearlake Avenue and drive west to 9th Street and turn left. Drive south to Adams Street and turn right. The Hotel is located at 700 East Adams St. on the left side before 7th Street. From Interstate Highway 55 North: Take the 6th Street exit to Monroe Street in downtown Springfield. Turn right (east) and go two blocks to 8th Street and turn left. The Hotel is located at 700 East Adams St. on the left side before 7th Street. The hotel is 30 stories tall and distinctive in design and stands out among downtown buildings. There is a circle drive to pull into the hotel for unloading bags. The parking garage is around the block off of 7th Street or Monroe Street and you can get directions to it from the hotel staff.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Orientation
(Sunday, September 21)

Note: At Hotel

 Afternoon: Check-in after 4 PM.
 Dinner: Meet for get-together in hotel lobby at 5pm followed by dinner in hotel at 5:30pm.
 Evening: Program overview following dinner.
Accommodations: Hilton Hotel
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Theme: The Road to a House Divided: Lincoln as Lawyer and Politician and Impact on the National Scene.
(Monday, September 22)

Note: Walking day in downtown Springfield

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel starts serving at 6:30am.
 Morning: Walk to Lincoln Home National Historic Site for a presentation on the "The Diversity of Springfield." View the movie, "Journey to Greatness," view Visitor Center exhibits, tour the Lincoln Home and self-guide through the historic neighborhood.
 Lunch: Box Lunch
 Afternoon: Lecture on Lincoln's "House Divided" speech, the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates on slavery, Lincoln's rise in national prominence and the presidential election in 1860 by LLCC Professor John Squibb. Enjoy some free-time in late afternoon to continue touring at the Lincoln Home site, view "Looking for Lincoln" exhibits in the downtown area, or tour Lincoln's Law Office.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel
 Evening: Lecture on "Lincoln as Lawyer and Politician; Impact of the 8th Judicial Circuit on President Lincoln" by author and attorney Guy Fraker.
Accommodations: Hilton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Theme: Impact of the Civil War on the Military Serving in the War.
(Tuesday, September 23)

Note: Day on motor coach

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel starts serving at 6:30am.
 Morning: Take a short bus tour of downtown Springfield sites. Visit the Illinois State Military Museum for a presentation on Civil War soldiers and view museum exhibits presented by staff and volunteers.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: Visit Camp Butler National Cemetery to learn of the pre-cemetery Civil War history to house Confederate prisoners and as the final resting place of Union and Confederate soldiers. Visit Lincoln's Tomb to learn about the final resting place of Lincoln and his family and visit the Old State Capitol where Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech.
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: Presentation on activities of the civilian women during the Civil War by Laura Reyman, civilian reenactor and National Association for Interpretation certified interpreter.
Accommodations: Hilton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Theme: The Life and Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.
(Wednesday, September 24)

Note: Walking day in downtown Springfield

 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel starts serving at 6:30am.
 Morning: Discover how the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum went from a concept to a world-class facility. Self-guide through the museum "journeys" to explore the exhibits, multimedia presentations and museum shop.
 Lunch: Lunch inside the Museum.
 Afternoon: Afternoon is free to continue your exploration of the Presidential Library and Museum and see rarely displayed artifacts in the Treasures Gallery; view the exhibit, "Lincoln: From History to Hollywood” in Union Station; the exhibit “Boys in Blue Part 4 of 4: An End and A Beginning” in the Presidential Library, or tour the Lincoln Law Office (if not closed for renovation).
 Dinner: Dinner at hotel.
 Evening: A presentation on the "Lincoln Collection" by James Cornelius, Curator, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Accommodations: Hilton Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Concluding Lecture / Departure
(Thursday, September 25)

Note: At hotel.

 Depart From: Check out of hotel by 11am.
 Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at hotel starts serving at 6:30am.
 Morning: Final lecture and discussion on "Emancipation and Race Relations post-Civil War" by LLCC Professor John Squibb.
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
  Springfield, IL FREE TIME
Free time is limited during the week. Arrive early or stay longer to see the sites listed in this section.
  1908 Race Riot Self-Guided Tour
A tragic series of events in Springfield's history led to the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. The story of the 1908 Race Riot and its victims is told through a self-guided, eight-marker walking tour, beginning at the corner of Seventh and Jefferson Streets.
  Dana-Thomas House
Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. In 1902, local socialite and activist, Susan Lawrence Dana, hired a rising architect from Chicago to remodel her family home. This is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's best prairie houses and contains the largest collection of site-specific, original Wright art glass and furniture. Located at 301 E. Lawrence, Springfield, IL 62703. Hours are subject to change. Please call (217) 782-6776 to confirm hours before you visit. Wed - Sun. 9am-4pm. Last tour begins at 3:50pm. Visitor Center is handicapped accessible. Gift shop on site. Suggested donation - $5 for adults. For additional information, visit
  Edwards Place
The oldest home in Springfield on its original foundation, Edwards Place tells the story of Benjamin and Helen Edwards and their life at the home from 1843 to 1909. The wonderfully preserved Italianate mansion was once a center for social activity in Springfield, Prominent citizens and politicians such as Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas were entertained at lavish dinner parties and the grounds played host to many summer picnics and political rallies. Your visit to Edwards Place will include a guided tour through the formal receiving parlor, music room, family dining room and the second floor bedrooms. The home is furnished with wonderful examples of Victorian furniture, including many pieces that belonged to the Edwards family. You will also see the authentic "Lincoln Courting Couch" from the parlor of the Ninian Edwards home where Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd were married. Located at 700 N. 4th St., Springfield, IL 62702. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, tours on the hour between 11am and 2pm. Days Closed: Monday, Sunday, New Year’s Day, Presidents’ Day, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. The Springfield Art Association, which owns Edwards Place is open 9am-5pm Monday through Friday and The Michael Victor II Art Library and the SAA gallery also are open 10-3pm on Saturday. Phone: (217) 523-2631. Admission: Donation suggested. For additional information, visit
  Elijah Iles House
This is Springfield’s oldest home, built circa 1830s in Greek Revival style by city founder Elijah Iles. The house contains period furnishings and also houses the Springfield Museum with exhibits of local history. Located at 628 South Seventh, Springfield, IL 62701. Hours: Open Wednesday and Saturday, 12-4 PM. Closed November through March. Days Closed: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Birthday, Lincoln’s Birthday, Presidents’ Day, Pulaski Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Phone (217) 492-5929. Admission: Suggested donation - $3.00. For additional information, visit
  Executive Mansion
Home of the Illinois governor. Seven U.S. Presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, have been received here. Three levels are open to the public including four formal parlors; a state dining room; ballroom; four bedrooms, including the Lincoln bedroom; and a library handcrafted from native American Black Walnut. (Mansion closed during official State functions.) Located at 410 E. Jackson Street, Springfield, IL 62701. Hours: Tuesday and Thursday: 9:30am-11am & 2-3:30pm. Saturday: 9:30-11am. Phone (217) 782-6450. Days Closed: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Birthday, Lincoln Birthday, Presidents' Day, Pulaski Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. For additional information, visit
  Illinois State Capitol
The first legislative session was held in this state capitol in 1877. The growth of the state had increased the need for more file storage and office space than the Old State Capitol allowed. Today it is the center of state government and houses the offices of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Comptroller and Treasurer, as well as the House of Representatives and Senate Chambers. Visitors can watch Illinois politics in action from balcony-level seating when the legislature is in session. (Accessible entrance at east side.) West entrance is currently closed. Located at 301 S 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62701. Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm; Saturday-Sunday 9am-3:30pm. Phone (217) 782-2099. Days Closed: New Years Day, Presidents' Day, Easter Sun, General Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Admission Free. For additional information, visit
  Lincoln Memorial Garden and Nature Center
A woodland and prairie garden with more than five miles of trails lead you on a journey through the Illinois landscape Lincoln would have known. Depending on the season you visit, you could discover springtime dogwoods in full bloom, colorful prairie wildflowers of summer, burnished autumn leaves, or snow-covered maple trees bursting with sap. This great spot to stroll amidst nature is located on the shores of Lake Springfield and was designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen. Be sure to visit the Garden's Nature Center and Split Rail Gift Shop. Located at 2301 E. Lake Dr., Springfield, IL 62712. Hours: Daily: Sunrise-Sunset. Nature Center: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday, 1-4pm. Closed: Call or visit the website for Holiday closings. Phone (217) 529-1111. Admission: Free. For additional information, visit
  Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
Abraham Lincoln grew to “a man of purpose and destiny” during his six years (1831-37) living and working in New Salem Village. Here, he clerked in a store, enlisted in the Blackhawk War, served as postmaster and deputy surveyor, studied law and was elected legislator. Timber houses, shops, and stores now comprise the reconstructed historic village where history comes to life as costumed interpreters take on the characters of the people who lived and worked here more than 150 years ago. Located 20 miles NW of Springfield at 15588 History Lane, Route 97, Petersburg, IL. Hours: September through April, Wednesday to Sunday 9am to 5pm; May through August, daily 9am to 5pm. Phone: (217) 632-4000. Admission: Donation suggested. Days Closed: New Years Day, MLK Birthday, Lincoln Birthday, Presidents Day, Veterans Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. Also, For additional information, visit
  Route 66
Get your kicks on Route 66! Thousands of visitors from around the globe travel America's Main Street each year to experience the legend of U.S. Route 66 and to discover the real America. On Illinois Route 66, one of the nation's newest National Scenic Byways, you'll actually travel through the hometown neighborhoods, not around them…including a visit to the heart of Springfield, Illinois, home of two famous Route 66 landmarks, Shea's Gas Station Museum and the Cozy Dog Drive In. Springfield sits in the heart of Illinois' U.S. Route 66 and boasts some of America's favorite Route 66 icons. Mile for mile, you'll find more authentic Route 66 sites and attractions along the road in Illinois, from Chicago to St. Louis, than in any other Route 66 state. For additional information, visit
  Springfield & Central Illinois African American History Museum
The museum features the history and culture and the triumphs/tragedies of African-Americans living in the Springfield and Central Illinois area during the 19th and 20th centuries. Located at 521 E Washington Street, 2nd Floor, Springfield, IL 62701. Hours: Wednesday & Saturday 10am-4pm or by appointment. Phone: (217) 528-2725. Free admission, donations appreciated. Days Closed: New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Birthday, Lincoln's Birthday, Presidents' Day, Pulaski Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, General Election Day, Thanksgiving Day, Day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. For additional information, visit
  Union Square Park & Illinois Visitor Center
Union Square Park and the Illinois Visitor Center at Union Station are located directly across the street from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. The Visitor Center provides information to visitors on Springfield area historic sites and attractions and other Illinois tourism opportunities. The park has gardens, walking paths, sculptures of Abraham Lincoln and a sculptured monument to commemorate the 1908 Race Riot in Springfield. Located at 500 E. Madison, Springfield, IL 62701. Hours: Daily 9-5. Hours are subject to change, please call. Union Square Park is open from 8am to 10pm. daily. Phone (217) 557-4588. Days Closed: New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Abraham Lincoln: A Life: 2 volume set

Author: Michael Burlingame

Description: Pages 2008 In the first multi-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln to be published in decades, Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame offers a fresh look at the life of one of America's greatest presidents. Incorporating the field notes of earlier biographers, along with decades of research in multiple manuscript archives and long-neglected newspapers, this remarkable work both alters and reinforces current understanding of America's sixteenth president. Volume 1 covers Lincoln's early childhood, his experiences as a farm boy in Indiana and Illinois, his legal training, and the political ambition that led to a term in Congress in the 1840s. In volume 2, Burlingame examines Lincoln's life during his presidency and the Civil War, narrating in fascinating detail the crisis over Fort Sumter and Lincoln's own battles with relentless office seekers, hostile newspaper editors and incompetent field commanders. Burlingame also offers new interpretations of Lincoln's private life, discussing his marriage to Mary Todd and the untimely deaths of two sons to disease. But through it all-his difficult childhood, his contentious political career, a fratricidal war, and tragic personal losses-Lincoln preserved a keen sense of humor and acquired a psychological maturity that proved to be the North's most valuable asset in winning the Civil War. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, this landmark publication establishes Burlingame as the most assiduous Lincoln biographer of recent memory and brings Lincoln alive to modern readers as never before.

Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President

Author: Allen C. Guelzo

Description: 461 pages This major biography of Abraham Lincoln has won the prestigious Lincoln Prize, the annual award given to the best book in the Civil War field. Guelzo's superb work breaks new ground in exploring the role of ideas in Lincoln's life, treating him for the first time as a serious thinker deeply involved in the struggles of nineteenth-century thought.

Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Douglas Wilson

Description: 383 pages Abraham Lincoln's remarkable emergence from the rural Midwest and his rise to the presidency have been the stuff of romance and legend. Douglas L. Wilson shows that Lincoln's transformation was not one long triumphal march, but a process that was more than once seriously derailed. There were times, in his journey from storekeeper and mill operator to lawyer and member of the Illinois state legislature, when Lincoln lost his nerve and self-confidence - on at least two occasions he became so despondent as to appear suicidal - and when his acute emotional vulnerabilities were exposed. Focusing on the crucial years between 1831 and 1842, Wilson's skillful analysis of the testimonies and writings of Lincoln's contemporaries reveals the individual behind the legends. We see Lincoln as a boy: not the dutiful son studying by firelight, but the stubborn rebel determined to make something of himself. We see him as a young man: not the ascendant statesman, but the canny local politician who was renowned for his talents in wrestling and storytelling (as well as for his extensive store of off-color jokes). Wilson also reconstructs Lincoln's frequently anguished personal life: his religious skepticism, recurrent bouts of depression, and difficult relationships with women - from Ann Rutledge to Mary Owens to Mary Todd.


Author: David Herbert Donald

Description: 714 pages Winner of the Lincoln Prize, 1996 Regarded as a classic in American history and biography, David Herbert Donald’s Lincoln is a masterly account of how one man’s extraordinary political acumen steered the Union to victory in the Civil War, and of how his soaring rhetoric gave meaning to that agonizing struggle for nationhood and equality. This fully rounded biography of America’s sixteenth President is the product of Donald’s half-century of study of Lincoln and his times. In preparing it, Donald has drawn more extensively than any previous writer on Lincoln’s personal papers and those of his contemporaries, and he has taken full advantage of the voluminous newly discovered records of Lincoln’s legal practice. He presents his findings with the same literary skill and psychological understanding exhibited in his previous biographies, which have received two Pulitzer Prizes. Donald brilliantly traces Lincoln’s rise from humble origins in Kentucky to prominent positions in legal and political circles in Illinois, and then to the pinnacle of the presidency. He shows how, in all these roles, Lincoln repeatedly demonstrated his enormous capacity for growth, which enabled one of the least experienced and most poorly prepared men ever elected to high office to become a giant in the annals of American politics. Much more than a political biography, Donald’s Lincoln reveals the development of the future President’s character and shows how his private life helped to shape his public career. Donald’s biography is written from Lincoln’s point of view. Donald seats us behind the President’s desk, where we read the papers and reports he received and wrote, meet the politicians and generals and ordinary citizens who visited his office, and observe him evaluating the evidence before him and making the decisions that shaped modern America.

Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter 1860-1861

Author: Harold Holzer

Description: 640 pages One of our most eminent Lincoln scholars, winner of a Lincoln Prize for his "Lincoln at Cooper Union," examines the four months between Lincoln's election and inauguration, when the president-elect made the most important decision of his coming presidency -- there would be no compromise on slavery or secession of the slaveholding states, even at the cost of civil war. Abraham Lincoln first demonstrated his determination and leadership in the Great Secession Winter -- the four months between his election in November 1860 and his inauguration in March 1861 -- when he rejected compromises urged on him by Republicans and Democrats, Northerners and Southerners, that might have preserved the Union a little longer but would have enshrined slavery for generations. Though Lincoln has been criticized by many historians for failing to appreciate the severity of the secession crisis that greeted his victory, Harold Holzer shows that the president-elect waged a shrewd and complex campaign to prevent the expansion of slavery while vainly trying to limit secession to a few Deep South states. During this most dangerous White House transition in American history, the country had two presidents: one powerless (the president-elect, possessing no constitutional authority), the other paralyzed (the incumbent who refused to act). Through limited, brilliantly timed and crafted public statements, determined private letters, tough political pressure, and personal persuasion, Lincoln guaranteed the integrity of the American political process of majority rule, sounded the death knell of slavery, and transformed not only his own image but that of the presidency, even while making inevitable the war that would be necessary to make these achievements permanent. This is the first book to concentrate on Lincoln's public stance and private agony during these months and on the momentous consequences when he first demonstrated his determination and leadership.

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

Author: Doris Kearns Goodwin

Description: 916 pages Since the movie Lincoln is loosely based on her book you may want to read this one. Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president. On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry. Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires. It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war. We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

Author: Eric Foner

Description: 448 pages Winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in History, the Bancroft Prize, and the Lincoln Prize: from a master historian, the story of Lincoln's—and the nation's—transformation through the crucible of slavery and emancipation. In this landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Eric Foner gives us the definitive history of Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner begins with Lincoln's youth in Indiana and Illinois and follows the trajectory of his career across an increasingly tense and shifting political terrain from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Although “naturally anti-slavery” for as long as he can remember, Lincoln scrupulously holds to the position that the Constitution protects the institution in the original slave states. But the political landscape is transformed in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act makes the expansion of slavery a national issue. A man of considered words and deliberate actions, Lincoln navigates the dynamic politics deftly, taking measured steps, often along a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party. Lincoln rises to leadership in the new Republican Party by calibrating his politics to the broadest possible antislavery coalition. As president of a divided nation and commander in chief at war, displaying a similar compound of pragmatism and principle, Lincoln finally embraces what he calls the Civil War's “fundamental and astounding” result: the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery and recognition of blacks as American citizens. Foner's Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. Contains 16 pages black-and-white illustrations and 3 maps.

The Madness of Mary Lincoln

Author: Jason Emerson

Description: 255 pages In 2005, historian Jason Emerson discovered a steamer trunk formerly owned by Robert Todd Lincoln's lawyer and stowed in an attic for forty years. The trunk contained a rare find: twenty-five letters pertaining to Mary Todd Lincoln's life and insanity case, letters assumed long destroyed by the Lincoln family. Mary wrote twenty of the letters herself, more than half from the insane asylum to which her son Robert had her committed, and many in the months and years after. Emerson charts Mary Lincoln’s mental illness throughout her life and describes how a predisposition to psychiatric illness and a life of mental and emotional trauma led to her commitment to the asylum. The first to state unequivocally that Mary Lincoln suffered from bipolar disorder, Emerson offers a psychiatric perspective on the insanity case based on consultations with psychiatrist experts. This book reveals Abraham Lincoln’s understanding of his wife’s mental illness and the degree to which he helped keep her stable. It also traces Mary’s life after her husband’s assassination, including her severe depression and physical ailments, the harsh public criticism she endured, the Old Clothes Scandal and the death of her son Tad. "The Madness of Mary Lincoln" is the story not only of Mary, but also of Robert. It details how he dealt with his mother’s increasing irrationality and why it embarrassed his Victorian sensibilities; it explains the reasons he had his mother committed, his response to her suicide attempt and her plot to murder him. It also shows why and how he ultimately agreed to her release from the asylum eight months early, and what their relationship was like until Mary’s death. This historical page-turner provides readers for the first time with the lost letters that historians had been in search of for eighty years.

Mrs. Lincoln: A Life

Author: Catherine Clinton

Description: Pages 432 Mary Lincoln's story is inextricably tied with the story of America and with her husband's presidency, yet her life is an extraordinary chronicle on its own. Born into an aristocratic Kentucky family, she was an educated, well-connected Southern daughter and when she married a Springfield lawyer she became a Northern wife—an experience mirrored by thousands of her countrywomen. The Lincolns endured many personal setbacks—including the death of a child and defeats in two U.S. Senate races—along the road to the White House. Mrs. Lincoln herself suffered scorching press attacks, but remained faithful to the Union and her wartime husband. She was also the first presidential wife known as the "First Lady," and it was in this role that she gained her lasting fame. The assassination of her husband haunted her for the rest of her life. Her disintegrating downward spiral resulted in a brief but traumatizing involuntary incarceration in an asylum and self-exile in Europe during her later years. One of the most tragic and mysterious of nineteenth-century figures, Mary Lincoln and her story symbolize the pain and loss of Civil War America.

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