Journal of American History

Special Issue

The Journal of American History has created a companion online project for this special issue. It features the full text of the articles and the interchange; a bibliography of Lincoln in the JAH; a podcast; and a Web site on building the digital Lincoln created by Matthew Pinsker and the Journal of American History. See


“Young Men for War”: The Wide Awakes and Lincoln’s 1860 Presidential Campaign

A young Iowan Wide Awake in full uniform demonstrates for the 1860 Republican candidates Abraham Lincoln (for president), Hannibal Hamlin (for vice president), and Samuel R. Curtis (for congressman). His stern expression reflects the dire, militaristic seriousness that often replaced exuberant hoopla in the Wide Awake ranks. Reprinted from “‘The Prairies A-Blaze’: Iowa Wide-Awakes Carry Torches for Lincoln,” Iowa Heritage Illustrated, 77 (Spring 1996). Courtesy Floyd and Marion Rinhart Collection, The Ohio State University Libraries.
Courtesy Floyd and Marion Rinhart Collection, The Ohio State University Libraries.

Militaristic clubs of Republican youths who stumped for Abraham Lincoln—known as the Wide Awakes—were prominent in the tumultuous 1860 presidential race. Jon Grinspan explores the influence of this forgotten campaign organization on Lincoln’s election and the coming of the Civil War, highlighting the role of martial metaphors and the political involvement of young voters. The grassroots movement of the Wide Awakes demonstrates the surprising importance of novice political participants in their party’s campaign. The story of the Wide Awakes also helps explain how the 1860 campaign inadvertently led to the secession of the South. (pp. 357–78) Read online >

Lincoln and the Ethics of Emancipation: Universalism, Nationalism, Exceptionalism

This photograph of Abraham Lincoln was taken on October 1, 1858, after he had delivered a campaign speech in Pittsfield, Illinois, in his unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate. His shrewd but defensive gaze and correct dress reveal him as a cautious, astute, and determined politician. Photograph by Calvin Jackson. Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, LS-USZ6-2446.
Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photograph Division, LS-USZ6-2446.

Dorothy Ross argues that recent historians have emphasized Abraham Lincoln’s opposition to slavery to the neglect of his ardent nationalism. To begin addressing this imbalance, she examines his dual allegiance to liberal universalism and to the American nation—values that circumstances of history had cast as competing moral ideals—and finds that Lincoln used the exceptionalist idea of the American nation both to resolve his moral dilemma and to evade it. Putting Lincoln’s opposition to slavery in the context of his nationalism highlights the fact that allegiance to the nation had governed the country’s response to slavery since the founding of the Republic; it both blocked and advanced emancipation, expanded and limited commitment to human rights. (pp. 379–99) Read online >

The Not-So-Grand Review: Abraham Lincoln in the Journal of American History

James G. Randall influenced Lincoln scholars for decades by his argument, presented in a 1940 Mississippi Valley Historical Review article, that a “blundering generation” of politicians had brought on the Civil War. Courtesy the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
Courtesy the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

In “The Not-So-Grand Review: Abraham Lincoln in the Journal of American History,” Allen C. Guelzo explores the appearances of the sixteenth president of the United States in the pages of the Mississippi Valley Historical Review and its successor, the JAH. He finds inadequate coverage of Lincoln in articles and substandard reviews of Lincoln books but notes that such tendencies mirror broader trends in Lincoln scholarship in the twentieth century. Those trends have led reviewers and authors to assess Lincoln, not on his own terms, but rather on his relationship with the Radical Republicans. Guelzo notes, however, that starting in the 1990s this course began to change, and he hopes the shift is indicative of an awakening of interest in and appreciation for Lincoln in the Journal of American History. (pp. 400–16) Read online >

Round Table

Lincoln Studies at the Bicentennial: A Round Table

Matthew Pinsker’s assessment of current trends in Lincoln scholarship plays on a question first asked by the historian James G. Randall in his 1936 article, “Has the Lincoln Theme Been Exhausted?” Like Randall, Pinsker answers in the negative; he sees a resurgence in research on Abraham Lincoln spurred by the 2009 bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth and by digital projects that expand access to evidence from the period. Pinsker argues that Lincoln studies offer a test case for the future of digital scholarship and a template for new ways to present a more realistic portrait of nineteenth-century American politics grounded in an ever-wider array of documents and records. Following Pinsker’s article, the Lincoln scholars Edward L. Ayers, Catherine Clinton, Michael F. Holt, Mark E. Neely Jr., and Douglas L. Wilson offer perspectives on the state of the field.

  • Lincoln Theme 2.0
    Matthew Pinsker (pp. 417–40) Read online >
  • Lincoln’s America 2.0
    Edward L. Ayers (pp. 441–46) Read online >
  • Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre
    Catherine Clinton (pp. 447–450) Read online >
  • Lincoln Reconsidered
    Michael F. Holt (pp. 451–55) Read online >
  • Lincoln, Slavery, and the Nation
    Mark E. Neely Jr. (pp. 456–58) Read online >
  • Prospects for “Lincoln 2.5”
    Douglas L. Wilson (pp. 459–61) Read online >


The Global Lincoln

With the assistance of Richard Carwardine and Jay Sexton, the Interchange conversation features colleagues from several countries discussing the global Lincoln.

Eugenio F. Biagini, David W. Blight, Carolyn P. Boyd, Richard Carwardine, Kevin K. Gaines, Vinay Lal, Nicola Miller, Jörg Nagler, Jay Sexton, Adam I. P. Smith, Odd Arne Westad, (pp. 462–99) Read online >

Book Reviews

Sept. 2009, Vol. 96 No. 2

Alphabetical by the last name of the book's first author or editor.

  • Abbott, How Cities Won the West: Four Centuries of Urban Change in Western North America, by Charles N. Glaab
  • Alderson, This Bright Era of Happy Revolutions: French Consul Michel-Ange-Bernard Mangourit and International Republicanism in Charleston, 1792–1794, by William Stinchcombe
  • Andrews, Killing for Coal: America’s Deadliest Labor War, by Lawrence M. Lipin
  • Ash, Firebrand of Liberty: The Story of Two Black Regiments That Changed the Course of the Civil War, by Russell Duncan
  • Ashworth, Slavery, Capitalism, and Politics in the Antebellum Republic, vol. 2: The Coming of the Civil War, 1850–1861, by Lawrence T. McDonnell
  • Baer, Resistance to Public School Desegregation: Little Rock, Arkansas, and Beyond, by Barbara J. Shircliffe
  • Bagley and Bigler, eds., Innocent Blood: Essential Narratives of the Mountain Massacre, by Klaus J. Hansen
  • Baird and Goble, Oklahoma: A History, by James E. Klein
  • Banner, Who Owns the Sky? The Struggle to Control Airspace from the Wright Brothers On, by Herbert Hovenkamp
  • Beier, Health Culture in the Heartland, 1880–1980: An Oral History, by Hamilton Cravens
  • Beiler, Immigrant and Entrepreneur: The Atlantic World of Caspar Wistar, 1650–1750, by Daniel B. Thorp
  • Bell, A War of Religion: Dissenters, Anglicans, and the American Revolution, by Joan R. Gundersen
  • Branson, Dangerous to Know: Women, Crime, and Notoriety in the Early Republic, by Catherine Nickerson
  • Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery, by Dickson D. Bruce Jr.
  • Buk-Swienty, trans. by Buk-Swienty, The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America, by Bonnie Yochelson
  • Bulla, Lincoln’s Censor: Milo Hascall and Freedom of the Press in Civil War Indiana, by Dwight L. Teeter Jr.
  • Burns, First Ladies and the Fourth Estate: Press Framing of Presidential Wives, by Robert P. Watson
  • Calhoon, Political Moderation in America’s First Two Centuries, by Willard Carl Klunder
  • Calhoun, Minority Victory: Gilded Age Politics and the Front Porch Campaign of 1888, by Worth Robert Miller
  • Camacho, Migrant Imaginaries: Latino Cultural Politics in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, by Gabriela Gonzalez
  • Cashin, First Lady of the Confederacy: Varina Davis’s Civil War, by Chandra Miller Manning
  • Chaffin, The H. L. Hunley: The Secret Hope of the Confederacy, by Joseph G. Dawson III
  • Connelly, Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population, by Kathleen A. Tobin
  • Cornelius and Kay, Women of Conscience: Social Reform in Danville, Illinois, 1890–1930, by Laura M. Westhoff
  • Curtis, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900, by Rennie B. Schoepflin
  • de Boer, Nature, Business, and Community in North Carolina’s Green Swamp, by Thomas R. Cox
  • DeLay, War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War, by George W. Geib
  • Demos, The Enemy Within: 2,000 Years of Witch-Hunting in the Western World, by Richard Godbeer
  • Drago, Confederate Phoenix: Rebel Children and Their Families in South Carolina, by Victoria E. Ott
  • Dyck, Psychedelic Psychiatry: lsd from Clinic to Campus, by Nicolas Rasmussen
  • Edgerton, The Columbia History of American Television, by Michael S. Kackman
  • Edmunds, ed., Enduring Nations: Native Americans in the Midwest, by Susan E. Gray
  • Elias, Stir It Up: Home Economics in American Culture, by Julia Grant
  • Escott, ed., North Carolinians in the Era of the Civil War and Reconstruction, by Jane Turner Censer
  • Espinosa and García, eds., Mexican American Religions: Spirituality, Activism, and Culture, by David A. Badillo
  • Feldman, Free Expression and Democracy in America: A History, by L. A. Scot Powe Jr.
  • Finkelman and Kennon, eds., Congress and the Emergence of Sectionalism: From the Missouri Compromise to the Age of Jackson, by Joel H. Silbey
  • Fischer, Champlain’s Dream, by Roger Schlesinger
  • Flood, 1864: Lincoln at the Gates of History, by Russell McClintock
  • Fraser, Lowcountry Hurricanes: Three Centuries of Storms at Sea and Ashore, by Megan Kate Nelson
  • Freeman, Sex Goes to School: Girls and Sex Education before the 1960s, by Stephen Lassonde
  • Frick, Reinventing Richard Nixon: A Cultural History of an American Obsession, by Gary A. Donaldson
  • Gamble, The Chumash World at European Contact: Power, Trade, and Feasting among Complex Hunter-Gatherers, by Steven W. Hackel
  • Ganz, The 1933 Chicago World’s Fair: A Century of Progress, by Bonnie M. Miller
  • Gelber, Horse Trading in the Age of Cars: Men in the Marketplace, by Ann Norton Greene
  • Ghaziani, The Dividends of Dissent: How Conflict and Culture Work in Lesbian and Gay Marches on Washington, by Jane Gerhard
  • Gillispie, Andersonvilles of the North: The Myths and Realities of Northern Treatment of Civil War Confederate Prisoners, by Michael P. Gray
  • Goan, Mary Breckinridge: The Frontier Nursing Service and Rural Health in Appalachia, by Janna Dieckmann
  • Graebner, Patty’s Got A Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America, by Bradford D. Martin
  • Hallwas, Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers, by Larry Benson
  • Hamilton, Trucking Country: The Road to America’s Wal-Mart Economy, by Peter J. Hugill
  • Hankins, Francis Schaeffer and the Shaping of Evangelical America, by Julie Ingersoll
  • Hayes, Without Precedent: The Life of Susie Marshall Sharp, by Mary Welek Atwell
  • Hele, ed., Lines Drawn upon the Water: First Nations and the Great Lakes Borders and Borderlands, by Roger L. Nichols
  • Herring, From Colony to Superpower: U.S. Foreign Relations since 1776, by Thomas W. Zeiler
  • Hoffer, The Treason Trials of Aaron Burr, by Peter C. Messer
  • Holt, By One Vote: The Disputed Presidential Election of 1876, by Keith Ian Polakoff
  • Holzer, Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860–1861, by Orville Vernon Burton
  • Holzman, James Jesus Angleton, the cia, and the Craft of Counterintelligence, by John C. McWilliams
  • Horne, The End of Empires: African Americans and India, by Michael L. Krenn
  • Horrocks, Popular Print and Popular Medicine: Almanacs and Health Advice in Early America, by Thomas Augst
  • Houston, Benjamin Franklin and the Politics of Improvement, by Nian-Sheng Huang
  • Hume and Gough, Blacks, Carpetbaggers, and Scalawags: The Constitutional Conventions of Radical Reconstruction, by Carol Faulkner
  • Humphries, Hollywood’s Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History, by Jon Lewis
  • Inboden, Religion and American Foreign Policy, 1945–1960: The Soul of Containment, by David E. Settje
  • Inscoe, Race, War, and Remembrance in the Appalachian South, by Tom Lee
  • Jackson, Model City Blues: Urban Space and Organized Resistance in New Haven, by Joseph Heathcott
  • Jacoby, Shadows at Dawn: A Borderlands Massacre and the Violence of History, by Donald L. Parman
  • Jaksic, The Hispanic World and American Intellectual Life, 1820–1880, by Rodrigo Lazo
  • Jones, Mass Motorization and Mass Transit: An American History and Policy Analysis, by Thomas G. Andrews
  • Kaplan, The Strange Case of William Mumler: Spirit Photographer, by Susan S. Williams
  • Kauanui, Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity, by Eileen H. Tamura
  • Kessell, Pueblos, Spaniards, and the Kingdom of New Mexico, by Robert Galgano
  • Kidd, American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism, by Edward E. Curtis IV
  • Klein, Grappling with Demon Rum: The Cultural Struggle over Liquor in Early Oklahoma, by Ann-Marie E. Szymanski
  • Kuklick, Black Philosopher, White Academy: The Career of William Fontaine, by Wayne J. Urban
  • Laegreid, Riding Pretty: Rodeo Royalty in the American West, by Michael Allen
  • LaFollette, Science on the Air: Popularizers and Personalities on Radio and Early Television, by Louise Benjamin
  • Levecq, Slavery and Sentiment: The Politics of Feeling in Black Atlantic Antislavery Writing, 1770–1850, by Julie Roy Jeffrey
  • Lewis, Welsh Americans: A History of Assimilation in the Coalfields, by Robert H. Woodrum
  • Lumpkins, American Pogrom: The East St. Louis Race Riot and Black Politics, by Cheryl Greenberg
  • Lyons, Teachers and Reform: Chicago Public Education, 1929–1970, by William J. Reese
  • Macleod, Enchanted Lives, Enchanted Objects: American Women Collectors and the Making of Culture, 1800–1940, by Cynthia Patterson
  • Maveety, Queen’s Court: Judicial Power in the Rehnquist Era, by David J. Garrow
  • Maynard, Out of the Shadow: George H. W. Bush and the End of the Cold War, by Robert J. Spitzer
  • McCarthy, Auto Mania: Cars, Consumers, and the Environment, by Stan Luger
  • McPherson, Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief, by Kevin M. Gannon
  • Michael, Jimmy Carter as Educational Policymaker: Equal Opportunity and Efficiency, by E. Stanly Godbold Jr.
  • Mielke, Moving Encounters: Sympathy and the Indian Question in Antebellum Literature, by J. Gerald Kennedy
  • Moore and Burton, eds., Toward the Meeting of the Waters: Currents in the Civil Rights Movement of South Carolina during the Twentieth Century, by Charles W. Eagles
  • Moore, ed., American Jewish Identity Politics, by William Toll
  • Morelock, Taking the Town: Collegiate and Community Culture in the Bluegrass, 1880–1917, by David E. Alsobrook
  • Nelson, The Common Law in Colonial America, vol 1: The Chesapeake and New England, 1607–1660, by John V. Orth
  • Newman, Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the ame Church, and the Black Founding Fathers, by Carol V. R. George
  • Nieves and Alexander, eds., “We Shall Independent Be”: African American Place Making and the Struggle to Claim Space in the United States, by Nan Elizabeth Woodruff
  • Norton, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World, by Brian Cowan
  • Novak, House of Mourning: A Biocultural History of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, by Klaus J. Hansen
  • Oglesby, Corra Harris and the Divided Mind of the New South, by Keith E. Byerman
  • Operé, trans. by Pellón, Indian Captivity in Spanish America: Frontier Narratives, by Charles R. Cutter
  • Page, The City’s End: Two Centuries of Fantasies, Fears, and Premonitions of New York’s Destruction, by Eric Homberger
  • Palmer, Living as Equals: How Three White Communities Struggled to Make Interracial Connections during the Civil Rights Era, by W. Marvin Dulaney
  • Paris, Children’s Nature: The Rise of the American Summer Camp, by Paul C. Mishler
  • Pérez, Cuba in the American Imagination: Metaphor and the Imperial Ethos, by Harvey R. Neptune
  • Piecuch, Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the Revolutionary South, 1775–1782, by Carole Watterson Troxler
  • Pimpare, A People’s History of Poverty in America, by James T. Patterson
  • Plant, Zora Neale Hurston: A Biography of the Spirit, by Tiffany Ruby Patterson
  • Pointer, Encounters of the Spirit: Native Americans and European Colonial Religion, by David J. Silverman
  • Pritchett, Robert Clifton Weaver and the American City: The Life and Times of an Urban Reformer, by Edward F. Haas
  • Rafuse, Robert E. Lee and the Fall of the Confederacy, 1863–1865, by Brian Holden Reid
  • Reiss, Theaters of Madness: Insane Asylums and Nineteenth-Century American Culture, by Lawrence B. Goodheart
  • Reynolds, Waking Giant: America in the Age of Jackson, by John Howe
  • Richard, Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States, by Jean Lamarre
  • Robinson, The Fall of a Black Army Officer: Racism and the Myth of Henry O. Flipper, by Garna L. Christian
  • Roper, Now the Drum of War: Walt Whitman and His Brothers in the Civil War, by Jason Stacy
  • Rotter, Hiroshima: The World’s Bomb, by Gregg Herken
  • Rowe, God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World, by Gary Land
  • Ruffin, A Paradise of Reason: William Bentley and Enlightenment Christianity in the Early Republic, by Darren Staloff
  • Sánchez, Between Two Rivers: The Atrisco Land Grant in Albuquerque History, 1692–1968, by Jeffrey S. Smith
  • Scott, Blues Empress in Black Chattanooga: Bessie Smith and the Emerging Urban South, by Diane Elisabeth Pecknold
  • Scott, ed., Pauli Murray and Caroline Ware: Forty Years of Letters in Black and White, by Stephanie Gilmore
  • Seiler, Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America, by David Gartman
  • Shaffer, Public Culture: Diversity, Democracy, and Community in the United States, by Thomas Aiello
  • Shapin, The Scientific Life: A Moral History of a Late Modern Vocation, by Sally Gregory Kohlstedt
  • Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger, and U.S. Foreign Policy Making: The Machinery of Crisis, by Yafeng Xia
  • Slaughter, The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition, by Jonathan D. Sassi
  • Slavishak, Bodies of Work: Civic Display and Labor in Industrial Pittsburgh, by Paul Michel Taillon
  • Smith, Money for Art: The Tangled Web of Art and Politics in American Democracy, by Donna M. Binkiewicz
  • Stanonis, ed., Dixie Emporium: Tourism, Foodways, and Consumer Culture in the American South, by Caroline E. Janney
  • Stephan, Redeeming the Southern Family: Evangelical Women and Domestic Devotion in the Antebellum South, by Jewel L. Spangler
  • Sumler-Edmond, The Secret Trust of Aspasia Cruvellier Mirault: The Life and Trials of a Free Woman of Color in Antebellum Georgia, by Kent Anderson Leslie
  • Symonds, Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War, by Benjamin Franklin Cooling
  • Szasz, Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns: Connected Lives and Legends, by John F. Marszalek
  • Tal, The American Nuclear Disarmament Dilemma, 1945–1963, by David G. Coleman
  • Teal, Hero of Hispaniola: America’s First Black Diplomat, Ebenezer D. Bassett, by Steven Heath Mitton
  • Thomas, The Madisonian Constitution, by Gary L. McDowell
  • Thomas, Unsafe for Democracy: World War I and the U.S. Justice Department’s Covert Campaign to Suppress Dissent, by Robert H. Zieger
  • Tone, The Age of Anxiety: A History of America’s Turbulent Affair with Tranquilizers, by Nancy D. Campbell
  • Trounstine, Political Monopolies in American Cities: The Rise and Fall of Bosses and Reformers, by Terrence J. McDonald
  • Truxes, Defying Empire: Trading with the Enemy in Colonial New York, by Jonathan R. Dull
  • Tucker and Tucker, Industrializing Antebellum America: The Rise of Manufacturing Entrepreneurs in the Early Republic, by Lawrence A. Peskin
  • Upton, Another City: Urban Life and Urban Spaces in the New American Republic, by Benjamin L. Carp
  • Valencia, Chicano Students and the Courts: The Mexican American Legal Struggle for Educational Equality, by Guadalupe San Miguel Jr.
  • Waggoner, Fire Light: The Life of Angel De Cora, Winnebago Artist, by Laura L. Mielke
  • Wald, Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative, by David Barnes
  • Walker, Turley, and Leonard, Massacre at Mountain Meadows, by Klaus J. Hansen
  • Walsh, Building the Borderlands: A Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border, by Karl Jacoby
  • Weber, Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, by John W. Quist
  • White, A. Lincoln: A Biography, by Stephen L. Hansen
  • Williams, Screening Sex, by Hilary Radner
  • Wilson, Swindled: The Dark History of Food Fraud, From Poisoned Candy to Counterfeit Coffee, by James A. Spiller
  • Witt, The Black Panthers in the Midwest: The Community Programs and Services of the Black Panther Party in Milwaukee, 1966–1977, by Curtis Jerome Austin
  • Wunder and Ross, eds., The Nebraska-Kansas Act of 1854, by Michael William Pfau
  • Yeh, Making an American Festival: Chinese New Year in San Francisco’s Chinatown, by Liping Zhu

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cover image

On the cover:

On the bicentennial of the birth of Abraham Lincoln in 1809, the Journal of American History has assembled a special issue devoted to his life and legacy. This photograph was taken by Henry F. Warren on the White House balcony on March 6, 1865, a few weeks before Lincoln was assassinated. Image Courtesy Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Henry F. Warren Collection. See “Lincoln Theme 2.0”, (pp. 417–40)

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