Top 150 Lincoln Documents

Editor Matthew Pinsker organized the selection and ranking process of the 150 Lincoln documents on the basis of how “teachable” they were, with the Gettysburg Address leading the list.  ”Teachable” is of course a highly subjective term.  For our purposes, it means most useful in a wide range of classrooms, not just K-12, but also undergraduate, and not just History or Social Studies classrooms but also for English classes.  Teachable documents in this context are historically significant and highly readable.  They cover a range of topics that are relevant to 21st century students.  Readers should feel free to argue with the list in any way they choose and can register their own suggestions while also checking out some alternatives that our Contributing Editors proposed at the Alt Lincoln Documents page.

Featured Documents

1.  Gettysburg Address (November 19, 1863)

2. Emancipation Proclamation (January 1, 1863)

3. Second Inaugural Address (March 4, 1865)

4. Letter to Horace Greeley (August 22, 1862)

5. Autobiographical Sketch (December 20, 1859)

6. House Divided Speech (June 16, 1858)

7. Letter to Albert Hodges (April 4, 1864)

8. Blind Memorandum (August 23, 1864)

9. Letter to Norman B. Judd (October 20, 1858)

10. Letter to Grace Bedell (October 19, 1860)

11. First Inaugural Address (March 4, 1861)

12. Letter to Mary Todd Lincoln (April 16, 1848)

13. Letter to Joseph Hooker (January 26, 1863)

14. Letter to Reverdy Johnson (July 26, 1862)

15. Letter to Richard Yates (August 18, 1854)

16. Handbill on Infidelity (July 31, 1846)

17. First Draft of Emancipation (July 22, 1862)

18. First Campaign Statement (March 9, 1832)

19. Lyceum Address (January 27, 1838)

20. Cooper Union Speech (February 27, 1860)

21. Notes for a Law Lecture (July 1, 1850)

22. Letter to William Herndon (July 10, 1848)

23. Letter to Williamson Durley (October 3, 1845)

24. Letter to Ulysses S Grant (January 19, 1865)

25. Letter to John Johnston (January 12, 1851)

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Additional Documents

26.  First Debate with Douglas (August 21, 1858)

27. Second Debate with Douglas (August 27, 1858)

28. Third Debate with Douglas (September 15, 1858)

29. Fourth Debate with Douglas (September 18, 1858)

30. Fifth Debate with Douglas (October 7, 1858)

31. Sixth Debate with Douglas (October 13, 1858)

32. Seventh Debate with Douglas (October 15, 1858)

33. Presidential Proclamation (September 22, 1862)

34. Message to Congress (July 4, 1861)

35. Meditation on Divine Will (September 2, 1862)

36. Response to Serenade (November 10, 1864)

37. Letter to Charles Ray (June 27, 1858)

38. Last Speech (April 11, 1865)

39. Letter to Erastus Corning and Others (June 12, 1863)

40. Letter to James Conkling  (August 26, 1863)

41. Presidential Proclamation (April 15, 1861)

42. Presidential Proclamation (April 19, 1861)

43. Fragment on Stephen Douglas (December 1, 1856)

44. Letter to George McClellan (October 13, 1862)

45. Letter to Lyman Trumbull (December 10, 1860)

46. Letter to Mary Speed (September 27, 1841)

47. Letter to Orville Browning (September 22, 1861)

48. Autobiography Written for John Scripps (June 1, 1860)

49. Reply to Emancipation Memorial (September 13, 1862)

50. Fragment on the Constitution

51. Letter to George McClellan (October 25, 1862)

52. Copybook Verses (1824-1826)

53. Slavery Protest (March 3, 1837)

54. Plan of Campaign (August, 1840)

55. Speech on War With Mexico (January 12, 1848)

56. Letter to William Seward (April 1, 1861)

57. Letter to John Fremont (September 2, 1861)

58. Letter to Lorenzo Thomas (November 7, 1861)

59. General War Order No. 1 (January 27, 1862)

60. Annual Message (December 1, 1862)

61. Letter to William Herndon (June 12, 1848)

62. Eulogy on Henry Clay (July 6, 1852)

63. Speech at Republican Banquet (December 10, 1856)

64. Farewell Address (February 11, 1861)

65. Presidential Proclamation (May 19, 1862)

66. Remarks on Colonization (August 14, 1862)

67. Letter to Carl Schurz (November 10, 1862)

68. Letter to Salmon Chase (September 2, 1863)

69. Proclamation of Thanksgiving (October 3, 1863)

70. Presidential Proclamation (December 8, 1863)

71. Letter to Lydia Bixby (November 21, 1864)

72. Letter to Michael Hahn (March 13, 1864)

73. Speech at Great Central Sanitary Fair (June 16, 1864)

74. Letter to Thurlow Weed (March 15, 1865)

75. Peoria Speech (October 16, 1854)

76. Speech Concerning the State Bank (January 11, 1837)

77. Letter to Andrew McCormick (January 1, 1841)

78. Letter to Joshua Speed (February 25, 1842)

79. Letter to Joshua Speed (October 5, 1842)

80. First Lecture on Discoveries and Inventions (April 6, 1858)

81. Definition of Democracy (August 1, 1858)

82. Instructions for John Nicolay (July 16, 1860)

83. Letter to William Kellogg (December 11, 1860)

84. Letter to David Hunter (December 31, 1861)

85. Letter to Hannibal Hamlin (September 28, 1862)

86. Response to Serenade (July 7, 1863)

87. Letter to George Meade (July 14, 1863)

88. Annual Message (December 8, 1863)

89. Letter to Mary Lincoln (September 21, 1863)

90. Letter to Union Delegation (June 9, 1864)

91. Letter to Mary Owens (August 16, 1837)

92. Letter to Eliza Browning (April 1, 1838)

93. To John Johnston (December 24, 1848)

94. Letter to Elihu Washburne (February 9, 1855)

95. Letter to Jesse Norton (February 16, 1855)

96. Letter to Owen Lovejoy (August 11, 1855)

97. Letter to Alexander McClure (August 30, 1860)

98. Letter to Don Buell (January 13, 1862)

99. Letter to Fanny McCullough (December 23, 1862)

100. Annual Message (December 6, 1864)

101. Letter to John Stuart (January 23, 1841)

102. Fragment on Niagara Falls (September 25, 1848)

103. Fragment on Government (July 1, 1854)

104. Letter to John Dix (January 14, 1863)

105. Letter to Fillmore Men (September 8, 1856)

106. Speech at Columbus (September 16, 1859)

107. Letter to Stephen Douglas (July 29, 1858)

108. Letter to Thomas Corwin (October 9, 1859)

109. Letter to John Gilmer (December 15, 1860)

110. Letter to Henry Raymond (December 18, 1860)

111. Letter to Arnold Fischel (December 14, 1861)

112. Letter to Cuthbert Bullitt (July 28, 1862)

113. Letter to Henry Sibley (December 6, 1862)

114. Reply to Workingmen of Manchester (January 19, 1863)

115. Remarks to Indians (March 27, 1863)

116. Telegram to Joseph Hooker (June 10, 1863)

117. Letter to Mary Lincoln (June 16, 1863)

118. Letter to Ulysses Grant (July 13, 1863)

119. Letter to Andrew Johnson (September 11, 1863)

120. Letter to William Sherman (December 26, 1864)

121. Address to Washington Temperance Society (February 22, 1842)

122. Application for Patent (March 10, 1849)

123. Letter to Jonathan Scammon (November 10, 1854)

124. Letter to Ichabod Codding (November 27, 1854)

125. Letter to E. Stafford (March 17, 1860)

126. Address to PA House of Representatives (February 22, 1861)

127. Annual Message (December 3, 1861)

128. Letter to the King of Siam (February 3, 1862)

129. Letter to George McClellan (April 9, 1862)

130. Letter to John Clayton (July 28, 1849)

131. Letter to James Hackett (August 17, 1863)

132. Letter to James Hackett (November 2, 1863)

133.  Campaign Circular (March 4, 1843)

134. Letter to Andrew Johnston With Poem (April 18, 1846)

135. Speech at River and Harbor Convention (July 6, 1847)

136.  Letter to Joseph Underwood (June 3, 1849)

137. Letter to Richard Oglesby (September 8, 1854)

138. Letter to Joshua Speed (August 24, 1855)

139. Letter to Thaddeus Stevens (September 3, 1848)

140. Letter to Mary Lincoln (March 4, 1860)

141. Letter to Samuel Galloway (March 24, 1860)

142. Endorsement (May 17, 1860)

143. To Whom It May Concern (November 1, 1862)

144. Letter to Abraham Jonas (July 21, 1860)

145. Letter to Nathaniel Banks (August 5, 1863)

146. Letter to Isaac Arnold (May 26, 1863)

147. Letter to Horatio Seymour (August 7, 1863)

148. Address to New Jersey Senate (February 21, 1861)

149. Letter to Agenor-Etienne de Gasparin (August 4, 1862)

150. Remarks to 166th Ohio Regiment (August 22, 1864)

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Editor: Matthew Pinsker
House Divided Project
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