The most eloquent president in our history, Abraham Lincoln's literary ability was extraordinary. In This Fiery Trial, William Gienapp has brought together more than one hundred pieces by Lincoln, ranging from his first published political statement, printed in the Sangamo Journal in 1832, to his final public address, delivered just before his assassination.
Here are some of the greatest speeches in American history, including the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address. Other pieces include Lincoln's "A House Divided" speech to the Republican State convention in 1858, excerpts from his famed debates with Stephen Douglas, and the text of the Emancipation Proclamation. The writings provide a documentary account of Lincoln's thought and how it evolved over time. Students can trace, for instance, how his thoughts on slavery and emancipation changed through the course of the war, from a rather limited view (free slaves for military purposes only) to his ringing endorsement of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery forever. Gienapp has provided detailed introductory headnotes for each piece, and the book includes an extensive chronology of Lincoln's life.
Often eloquent, frequently amusing, and occasionally profound, these writings offer an intimate portrait of Lincolnin his own words.