“The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present.” – Abraham Lincoln
Tensions over the expansion of slavery had strained the very sinews of the Union for decades. One man stepped forward. Born into an impoverished frontier farm in Kentucky, Abraham Lincoln rose to prominence in Illinois before taking on the biggest threat to its existence the United States had ever faced.
Lincoln delivered his inaugural address, then was given the presidential oath of office by Chief Justice Roger Taney, whose Dred Scott decision had further divided the nation and enlarged the growing rift between free states and slave states. Lincoln pondered whether he would be able to keep the Union together.
"We must not be enemies. We must be friends."
Lincoln tried to reassure the South:
"The government will not assail you. You can have no conflict, without yourself being the aggressors."
He pleaded with them not to destroy the vision of the Founders, who established the Constitution “to form a more perfect union.” But he was also firm:
"You have no oath registered in Heaven to destroy the government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect and defend’ it."
After being sworn into office, Lincoln traveled alone by carriage up muddy Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. Just over a month later, the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the Civil War. The conflict that followed over the next four years would be the bloodiest and most divisive struggle ever faced by America. The responsibility for saving the nation fell squarely on Lincoln.
Vividly written and packed with colorful and rare illustrations, Lincoln: The Man Who Saved America is the fascinating story of how a self-taught boy from Kentucky changed the world.