Team of Rivals The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln ( CD)
|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 was the result of a character that had been forged by life experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because hepossessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
This capacity enabled President Lincoln to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to preserve the Union and win the war.
In 1860, in Chicago, Illinois, the Republican Party made a historic choice when it selected Abraham Lincoln to be its candidate for the presidency. The choice stunned each of Lincoln's three rival candidates--William Henry Seward of New York; Salmon P. Chase of Ohio; and Edward Bates of Missouri--all of whom were better known nationally and better connected politically--and each of whom thought he himself would win. Even more surprising, but indicative of his character, is that Lincoln asked these three rivals to join his cabinet, which they did--and they made it work. In a rich historical narrative, Doris Kearns Goodwin brings to life each of these figures, showing their significant individual contributions as well as how they challenged the president and sometimes stung him. What come across is a deep psychological portrait of Lincoln as a great conciliator and man of vision, always putting the greater good before expediency. And while much has been made of Lincoln's melancholy, it is also true that he was good in company, a born storyteller and jokester. Lincoln is perhaps the most written-about president in history, but in this group biography, Goodwin manages to find some new perspectives on Lincoln and his times.