Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
Doris Kearns Goodwin
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Winner of the Lincoln Prize
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.
This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
Party. Failing once again to appoint a campaign manager, Chase had no one to bargain and maneuver for him, no one to promise government posts in return for votes. He rejected an appeal from a New Hampshire supporter who proposed to build a state organization. He never capitalized on the initial support of powerful Chicago Press and Tribune editor Joseph Medill. He turned down an invitation to speak at Cooper Union in a lecture series organized by his supporters as a forum for candidates other
will not bite. You know he will not bite, but does the bulldog know he will not bite?” The American press hounded Seward with questions about the affair, but both he and Lord Lyons, the British minister to Washington, remained silent as they awaited the official British response. On December 19, nearly six weeks after the initial incident, “Her Majesty’s Government” finally declared the seizure of the envoys from the British ship “an affront to the national honor,” which could be restored only
sorts,” including “dead horses, broken ordnance, wrecked boats,” and floating torpedoes. They were forced to transfer to the captain’s barge, which was towed in behind a little tug manned by marines. When the tug went aground, the president’s arrival was left to the rowing skills of a dozen sailors. The situation was unnerving to Crook. “On either side,” he recalled, “we passed so close to torpedoes that we could have put out our hands and touched them.” “Here we were in a solitary boat,”
by: NR, June 30, 1862. 456 a massive project of … military hospitals: see NR, June 17–23, 1862; Iowa State Register, Des Moines, July 9, 1862. 456 Union Hotel Hospital … “sup their wine”: NR, January 9, 1862. 456 “many of the doors … could christen it”: Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches (New York: Sagamore Press, 1957), p. 59. 456 The Braddock House … old chairs and desks: Freeman, The Boys in White, p. 37. 456 the Patent Office … transformed into a hospital ward: NR, June 27 and
proclamation and, 435–36 John Brown’s raid and, 226–27 in Kansas-Nebraska Act, 160–63 in Lincoln-Douglas debates, 202–4 in Lincoln-Greeley exchange, 470–71 in Lincoln’s Cooper Union speech, 231–32 Lincoln’s evolving view of, 9, 91–92, 128–29, 163–69, 198, 206, 207, 295, 369–70, 406–7, 469–70, 572, 695–96 Lincoln’s first statement on, 91–92 Lincoln’s gradual emancipation proposal for, 128–29 Lincoln’s snake metaphor and, 233–34 in McClellan’s Harrison Landing letter, 451 Maryland’s