Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Book, Team Of Rivals: The Political Genius Of Abraham Lincoln.
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.
Black Americans Honor Abraham Lincoln
In 1876, the celebrated orator Frederick Douglass dedicated a monument in Washington D.C., erected by black Americans to honor Abraham Lincoln. The former slave told his audience that “there is little necessity on this occasion to speak at length and critically of this great and good man, and of his high mission in the world.”
Douglass also adds: “That ground has been fully occupied…whole field of fact and fancy has been gleaned and garnered. Any man can say things that are true of Abraham Lincoln, but no man can say anything that is new of Abraham Lincoln.”
Douglass speaking these words above, only eleven years after Lincoln’s death, he was to close to assess the fascination that this plain and complex, shrewd and transparent, tender and iron-willed leader would hold for generations of Americans.
In the nearly two hundred years since his birth, countless historians and writers have uncovered new documents, provided fresh insights, and developed an ever-deepening understanding of our sixteenth president.
1860 Republican Presidential Nominations
Doris Kearns Goodwin delves into the character and career of Abraham Lincoln, she has coupled the account of his life with the stories of the remarkable men who were his rivals for the 1860 Republican presidential nomination-They were, New York Senator William H. Seward, Ohio governor Salmon P. Chase, and Missouri’s distinguished elder statesman Edward Bates.
Taken together, the lives of these four men give us a picture of the path taken by ambitious young men in the North who came of age in the early decades of the nineteenth century. All four studied law, became distinguished orators, entered politics, and opposed the spread of slavery.
Their upward climb was one followed by many thousands who left the small towns of their birth to seek opportunity and adventure in the rapidly growing cities of a dynamic, expanding America.
Lincoln Wins Republican Nomination For President
When Lincoln won the nomination, each of his celebrated rivals believed the wrong man had been chosen. Ralph Waldo Emerson recalled his first reception of the news that the “comparatively unknown name of Lincoln” had been selected: “we heard the result coldly and sadly. It seemed too rash, on a purely local reputation, to build so grave a trust in such anxious times.”
Lincoln After Winning The Presidency
The Lincoln, after winning the presidency, made the unprecedented decision to incorporate his eminent rivals into his political family, the cabinent, was evidence of a profound self-confidence and a first indication of what would prove to others a most unexpected greatness.
Seward became secretary of state, Chase secretary of the treasury, and Bates was appointed as attorney general under the Lincoln Administration.
The remaining top posts Lincoln offered to three former Democrats whose stories also inhabit this book. Gideon Wells, Lincoln’s, “Neptune”, was made secretary of the navy, Montgomery Blair became post-master general, and Edwin M. Stanton, Lincoln’s “Mars”, eventually became secretary of war. And of course he named a Democrat, Andrew Johnson as his Vice President.
Every member of this administration was better known, better educated, and more experienced in public life than Lincoln. Their presence in the cabinent might have threatened to eclipse the obscure prairie lawyer from Springfield, Illinois.
Lincoln, The Captain Of The Team Of Rivals
It soon became clear, that Abraham Lincoln would emerge the undisputed captain of this most unusual cabinent, truly a team of rivals.
The powerful competitors who had originally disdained Lincoln became colleagues who helped him steer the country through its darkest days. Seward was the first to appreciate Lincoln’s remarkable talents, quickly realizing the futility of his plan to relegate the president of a figurehead role.
In the months that followed, Seward would become Lincoln’s c;closest friend and adviser in the administration. Though Bates initially viewed Lincoln as a well-meaning but incompetent administrator, he eventually concluded that the president was an unmatched leader “very near being a perfect man.” Edwin Stanton, who had treated Lincoln with the contempt at their initial acquaintance, developed a great respect for the commander in chief and was unable to control his tears for weeks after the president’s death. Even Chase, whose restless ambition for the presidency was never realized, at last acknowledged that Lincoln had out maneuvered him.
This, then is a story of Lincoln’s political genius revealed through his extraordinary array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with new men who had previously opposed him. To repair bitter feelings, that might have escalated into permanent hostility and would of greatly hurt his presidency.
Doris Kearns Goodwin takes you on a long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinent. He (Lincoln) overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, he finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through all the good times and especially the bad times.
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.
My thoughts on the administration that we have today in America. If we had an administration with half of the insight and truth that Lincoln had, we might not be where we are today. It takes all types of people to run a government, and when you have a (dictator) person who thinks that having yes men only in his administration, than it will only set one up to fail. This country is to big and diverse to only see one side of it. I wish that we had the genius of Lincoln today.
If you have any questions or want to leave a comment, please do below and I will get back with you as soon as I can.
If you would like to purchase this book, please do HERE: Team Of Rivals
All The Best,