Father Abraham

HD_lincolnApainting1.preview“We are coming, Father Abraham, Three Hundred Thousand More.”  This was the memorable opening line of an 1862 poem (and later popular song) by James Sloan Gibbons that signified the enthusiasm of some in the North for President Lincoln’s decisive call for more troops after more than a year of Civil War.  Lincoln was father to four boys (two of whom died as children), but the poem helped capture the paternal image that Lincoln developed as a wartime leader, one that was embodied for some by his famous beard (grown after 1860) and for others by his general reputation for kindly empathy.  But for many who knew Lincoln best, the idea of “Father Abraham” truly captured his penchant for doling out advice.  many documents in this section illustrate Lincoln’s persistent attempts to advise his subordinates, rivals and even sometimes his political enemies on the right course of action.

Essential Question

How did Lincoln’s contemporaries respond to his leadership?

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Editor: Matthew Pinsker
House Divided Project
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Dickinson College
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