The speeches and writings of Abraham Lincoln inspire and instruct today as much as they did during his lifetime, sometimes more so. Thus it should come as no surprise that there exist numerous compilations of his collected works, form the rather comprehensive edition offered us by Roy Basler and his associates to countless selections in various editions, most of which offer a glimpse into Lincoln's entire public career as well as his private life. In contrast, this volume focuses on the interrelated themes of slavery, union, emancipation, and reconstruction the issues on which Lincoln's claim to everlasting fame rests. The documents reproduced herein offer an introduction to Lincoln's own explanations of his thoughts, positions, and actions concerning slavery and freedom, the Union and the Constitution, war and peace.
Brooks D. Simpson is the author of several books on theCivil War and Reconstruction era, including Let Us Have Peace:Ulysses S. Grant and the Politics of war and Reconstruction,1861-1868 (1991), The Political Education of Henry Adams(1996), and America s Civil War (1996). He is aprofessor of history and humanities at Arizona State University.