By Joshua Zeitz
Lincoln’s legit secretaries John Hay and John Nicolay loved extra entry, witnessed extra heritage, and knew Lincoln larger than someone open air of the president’s speedy kinfolk. Hay and Nicolay have been the gatekeepers of the Lincoln legacy. They learn poetry and attendeded the theater with the president, commiserated with him over Union military setbacks, and plotted electoral procedure. They have been current at each seminal occasion, from the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to Lincoln’s supply of the Gettysburg Addressand they wrote approximately it after his death.
of their biography of Lincoln, Hay and Nicolay fought to set up Lincoln’s heroic legacy and to maintain a story that observed slaverynot states’ rightsas the only real explanation for the Civil conflict. As Joshua Zeitz indicates, a twin of a humble guy with unusual mind who rose from obscurity to develop into a storied wartime chief and emancipator is especially a lot their creation.
Drawing on letters, diaries, and memoirs, Lincoln’s Boys is an element political drama and half coming-of-age talea interesting tale of friendship, politics, conflict, and the competition over background and remembrance.
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Extra resources for Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image
Most striking about his papers in this period is the near-total absence of current affairs. Living in a decade of profound turmoil, he had little to say. In a letter to his uncle Milton, dated early 1856, John noted in passing that he had attended a Republican Party rally. But on the great topics of the day—the Fugitive Slave Act, the extension of slavery into the western territories, the rise of a new antislavery political movement—he was almost completely silent. Over the preceding quarter century—from the late 1820s through the 1840s—American politics had been dominated by two political parties, Whigs and Democrats, who disagreed on a host of issues concerning political economy.
Writing in 1839, John L. ” When Americans gazed toward the Pacific, they saw their country in thirty or forty years’ time. Would that country look like the free-labor North or the slaveholding South? The Compromise of 1850 effectively contained this simmering conflict until 1854. That year, Congress passed a new law, the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which organized the Kansas and Nebraska territories in preparation for the construction of a midwestern link to a planned transcontinental railroad. At the insistence of Southern senators who initially balked at supporting the bill, Stephen Douglas, the chairman of the Committee on Territories and chief author of the bill, inserted a “popular sovereignty” provision allowing the residents of the two territories to decide for themselves whether to permit slavery.
None of the chatter registered strongly with John. Even a year later, amid the tension and fever pitch of the 1860 presidential campaign, as Lincoln’s political handlers were openly plotting a bold strategy to secure the nomination for their candidate, he wrote to Hannah that his “insanity has not yet changed its form from rhyme to politics. Young men generally glide very naturally in their invocations from the muses to the masses and remove the shrine of their worship from Castalia to Congress.
Lincoln's Boys: John Hay, John Nicolay, and the War for Lincoln's Image by Joshua Zeitz