Transcription: This morning, as for some days past, it seems exceedingly probable that this Administration will not be re-elected. Then it will be my duty to so co-operate with the President elect, as to save the Union between the election and the inauguration; as he will have secured his election on such ground that he can not possibly save it afterwards.
A. Lincoln [signed on the reverse: William H Seward, W. P. Fessenden, Edwin M Stanton, Gideon Welles, Edwd. Bates, M Blair, and J. P. Usher]
I am smitten with the document.
I like the covert aspect: written, folded, blindly signed on the reverse. I can see recreating the signing for my students–I wonder if they will sign blindly like the cabinet or blanch at the uncertainty of it.
I like the emotion of it: Lincoln is agonizingly honest and you can sense the distress.
I like the dissonance it will create for my students. On this side of history, we know Lincoln wins in 1864 handily and Lincoln’s worries will be unfounded. It is helpful, however, to help our young women and men see that history is lived ‘in the moment’ and Lincoln’s moment in August 1864 looks bleak.
That “in the moment” aspect can help make history come alive for my students. When you don’t know how it will turn out, it makes the action more honest, makes the action more profound, more brave.