Presidential Courage
Brave Leaders and How They Changed America
1789-1989 by Michael Beschloss
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Editor's notes:

1) Presidents elected on even decades like 1980, 2000,
off year elections of 1992, 2014...
2) Pictures are from Wikipedia and the Internet can often
be enlarged with a click.
3) Editorial comments are in red font. Updated 7/8/17   

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Other Presidents from W. Antoniotti
J. Adams avoided a Quasi-War with France costing reelection

A. Jackson fought eastern bankers to help farmers
A. Lincoln said freeing slaves needed to save Union
T. Roosevelt
took on RR trusts for consumers and farmers

FDR took a pro war stance but was still reelected
HT made tough decisions despite pressure from all sides
JFK push integration despite potential political opposition
RR  ended Cold War with massive deficit spending

In August of 1864 near the end of his first term as President Lincoln road his horse home from the Whitehouse. An attempted assassination failed as the bullet creased his stovepipe hat. Since the election he had been entering Washington at night in a disguise.  "....a Lincoln admirer sent  the President a copy of Old Hickory's letter warning that the Southern states might succeed over the ' "pretext" ' of slavery. In it Jackson sputtered that ' "ambitious men who would involve their country in civil wars, ' " should be sent to ' "Haman's gallows." '

"Querulous editorials he [Lincoln] dismissed by saying ' " I know more about that than any of them."  Editors Note: President Obama mad a similar statement about his ability compared to those around him. Lincoln resembled Jackson most of all in the strength of his personal will."    Read horizontally. 

The Politics
Abraham Lincoln was more melancholy than usual that summer in Washington where in faced both the insects that plagued the city and the stench of dismal canal and the nearby swamps. Reelection was not assured "... his political advisors told him that his Emancipation Proclamation
was dragging him down:"  as Northerners were willing to fight to preserve the union but not to free the slaves.

Abe was a Democrat who became a Whig.  Andrew Jackson had followed the same path to the White House.  "For Lincoln,  Whigs like John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay embodied the rational intellect, -- Jackson the ' "burning appetite" ' of the mob--people like his father, who thought reading was loafing."  In 1860, wanting to be a down-to-earth electable candidate like Jackson, Lincoln was not presented as the ...' "well-to-do lawyer he had become, but instead as ' "Honest Abe the Rail Splitter. " '  Andrew and Abe almost had something else in common.
Famous Duels from American History and American Duels

14) TOO ANGELIC FOR THIS DEVILS REBELLION Lincoln ran for President in 1860 on a platform to leave slavery in tact where it was already in force. When Congress freed slaves that had escaped to the North in 1862 Lincoln was rebuffed in an attempt to  reimburse the South for slowly phasing out slavery.  "Lincoln being carried by two men on a long board.The Rail Candidate"óLincoln's 1860 candidacy is held up by the slavery issue (slave on left) and party organization. (New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley on right) Click to enlarge.
Extra Large Picture




Other Stuff
1. Origins of the Civil War   

2. Why we fought the Civil War  

3. If we never fought a Civil War

4. Emancipation Proclamation Changed the Course of Civil 

5. J. Cooke Helped War Finance 

Lincoln Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves on New Year's day of 1863 was a "...military measure..." to stop slaves from helping the South. It was a political worry and he stated that could he save the Union without freeing the slaves, "... I would do so." The proclamation freed Confederate slaves. Boarder states still in the Union were too valuable to anger by freeing their slaves.

Despite such efforts, Abe's party was killed in the 1862 midterm elections. Radicals passed the Wade-Davis bill to vanquish Lincolns plans not to punish the South but Lincoln let it die without signature. When Wade and Davis tried to ditch Lincoln for General Grant, Grant supported Lincoln.

More political trouble came the summer of 1863 when Lincoln asked for five hundred thousands men and General Sherman said one less soldier would lose Lincoln votes among those already serving. A new draft disallowed men from avoiding service with a  $300 substitute though conscious objection were allowed. Many thought this new draft would kill his reelection but Lincoln thought what good is an election without a country.

The war was not going well in the summer of 1864 as Grant was stalled in his move toward Atlanta. He had lost 6,000 men in Virginia and the South prepared to raid Washington. The expected raid put Pressure on Lincoln to peruse peace. New York Times Publisher Horace Greely published an open letter the President:  "  Our bleeding, bankrupt, almost dying country... shudders at the prospect of fresh conscriptions...and of new rivers of human blood." The Washington attack failed due to Union reinforcements and tactical mistakes by the South.

15) A WELL-MEANING BABOON After his party lost the 1862 midterm election Lincoln fired General McClellan. He was Lincoln's likely Democratic opponent favored by wealthy Democrats who favored the general because he would not fight the South over slavery. Party leaders provided McClellan with a furnished townhouse in New York and railroad equities in hopes he could unite the Copperhead who wanted immediate peace and with the War Democrats who were willing to wait. Lincoln was in political trouble because he had made known his belief that peace with slavery was not possible and he would not change his mind because slavery must be finished. About 200,000 slaves had fled the South after the Emancipation Proclamation.

By 1864, much of the country was tired of the war and against Lincoln concerning the slavery issue. After McClellan's nomination, political bosses thought Lincoln would win only three  states and asked him to consider not running. A "moist-eyed and despondent"  Lincoln told General Carl Schurz ...' "God knows I have tried very hard... And now to have it said by men who have been my friends ... that I have been seduced by ... power, and that I have been doing this and that unscrupulous thing... only to keep myself in office!" '  Lincoln would not step down! Click Running the Machine a 1864 political cartoon featuring Lincoln; W. Fessenden, E. Stanton, W. Seward, and G. Welles take a swing at the Lincoln administration.

Before the Lincolns came to Washington wife Mary had fired Abe's ambitions. But the lose of their son Willie in 1862 and the war had gotten to her. Dressed in permanent black she feared critics would force her son Robert to be drafted and he would be captured and killed. She was obsessed that her husband would be assassinated.  Mary Todd Lincoln wife of Abraham Lincoln age 28

1864 Presidential Election

Lincoln spent much time that summer hoping for help from the Bible . "Suddenly Lincoln regained his political balance." He may have been helped by the Democratic platform designed by Copperheads who wanted the war over. The South could do what they want. This enraged many McClellan backers. Lincoln won easily.

1 From the 2007 first edition
2. Table, column and row titles, and name abbreviations are by W. Antoniotti
3. Editor's addition  4. Editor's Note: Washington's fears of political though logical were avoided as US Undergoes the First Peaceful 1800Transfer of a Democratic System from Turning Points in American History Notes from A Great Course audio by E. O'Donnell

4. Help in keeping track of presidential elections, they happen on even numbered decades as Lincoln was elected in 1860, Kennedy, 1960. For more on Washington see Don't Know Much About History Chapter 3 on Growth of a Nation from the Creation of the Constitution to Manifest Destiny and Meacham's Thomas Jefferson. PART VII reviewing Jefferson as opposition to the Federalists of Hamilton and Adams.
G. Washington created Executive Privilege. pdf for color printing
J. Adams avoided a Quasi-War with France which cost him reelection.
A. Jackson took on eastern bankers to lessen excessive power over farmers.
T. Roosevelt took on corporate RR trusts for consumers and farmers.
FDR took an unpopular stance by planning for war but still reelected.
HT made tough decisions like quickly in the face of pressure from all sides.
JFK continued to push school integration despite potential political opposition.
RR hastened the end of the Cold War with massive deficit spending.

More on Abe Lincoln
Apocalypse To Civil War and Reconstruction
A Divided Nation from the 1862 Battle of Antietam to
1919 Red Scare 1

1) Don't t Know Much About History
Kenneth C. Davis all summarized by W. Antoniotti

2) Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham

3) Turning Points in American History


Other President Stuff

Presidential Election History

1. Political Eras 1788 to 1892   pdf
2. Political Eras 1896 to 2016   pdf

1. Presidential Elections 1778-1824  pdf
2. Presidential Elections 1828-1852   
3. Presidential Elections 1856-1892       

4. Presidential Elections 1896-1928  pdf
5. Presidential Elections 1932-72
6. Presidential Elections 1976-2012  

U.S. History
U.S. Terror Episodes Since 1900

Turning Points in American History
Don't Know Much History

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