I was able to sit at Lincoln's side and see how he thought and how he acted, and how he felt about what was going on around him. I felt the pressures that were on him. You can see what people were writing to him, how they were nudging him.
Well, it seems to me Lincoln, I suppose, is kind of a model of a particular sort of presidency, a presidency that first of all is elected by a minority of the votes.
Lincoln had no such person that he could talk with. Often, as a result, he debated with himself, and he would draw up a kind of list of the pros and cons of an argument, and carefully figure them out, and he might test them in public.
At the beginning, Lincoln was so inexperienced he had reverence for military expertise, not realizing that there wasn't any military expertise, that the most anybody had commanded up to that point had been somebody, some troops in the Mexican War, and it had been years ago.
I'm not sure Lincoln would fare well if he were a presidential candidate today.
The big biography of Lincoln necessarily had to do so much with his political career, his ambitions, his accomplishments in public, with less time to spend on his private life, his inner life, and I thought this might be a way of getting at that.
The more I have studied Lincoln, the more I have followed his thought processes, the more I am convinced that he understood leadership better than any other American president.
In Lincoln's day a President's religion was a very private affair. There were no public prayer meetings, no attempts to woo the Religious Right. Few of Lincoln's countrymen knew anything at all of his religious beliefs.
If you think about it, the historian's task is like that of the detective.
Maybe I will write a memoir, perhaps I'll do some essays, or maybe I will write a mystery story.
I love mysteries, and I read them every night before I go to bed.
Here is Theodore Roosevelt with all his faults and with all his strengths - the devoted family man, the passionate game hunter, the astute politician, the frustrated warrior. This is a deeply moving account of the last years of a very great man.
Lincoln was not a good impromptu speaker; he was at his best when he could read from a carefully prepared manuscript, though maybe a teleprompter could have helped that!
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