Honest Abe

HD_lincolnA1847“Honest Abe” was a nickname that Abraham Lincoln embraced with pride.  He believed in his own integrity and worked diligently to maintain his reputation as an honest politician and lawyer –something that was not always easy in either of those fields.  To illustrate this theme within the Lincoln canon, we have pulled together a variety of documents mainly from Lincoln’s pre-presidential years that focus on his core beliefs and particular challenges to them.  There are documents here concerning Lincoln’s main political and economic policy doctrines, his legal principles and his struggle with religious beliefs. The political documents sometimes involve campaign experiences, but we have tried to exclude general campaign materials from this category (you will find them in The Railsplitter theme) and instead have concentrated here on moments in Lincoln’s political career when his ethics seemed to be in jeopardy by the circumstances of his first chosen profession.

Essential Question

Did Lincoln deserve the nickname, “Honest Abe”?

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Editor: Matthew Pinsker
House Divided Project
PO Box 1773 / 61 N. West Street
Dickinson College
Carlisle, PA 17013

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David W. Blight
Catherine Clinton
Eric Foner
Harold Holzer
James Oakes
Anne Sarah Rubin

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