Lincoln in American Memory

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Apr 21, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
2 Reviews
Lincoln's death, like his life, was an event of epic proportions. When the president was struck down at his moment of triumph, writes Merrill Peterson, "sorrow--indescribable sorrow" swept the nation. After lying in state in Washington, Lincoln's body was carried by a special funeral train to Springfield, Illinois, stopping in major cities along the way; perhaps a million people viewed the remains as memorial orations rang out and the world chorused its sincere condolences. It was the apotheosis of the martyred President--the beginning of the transformation of a man into a mythic hero. In Lincoln in American Memory, historian Merrill Peterson provides a fascinating history of Lincoln's place in the American imagination from the hour of his death to the present. In tracing the changing image of Lincoln through time, this wide-ranging account offers insight into the evolution and struggles of American politics and society--and into the character of Lincoln himself. Westerners, Easterners, even Southerners were caught up in the idealization of the late President, reshaping his memory and laying claim to his mantle, as his widow, son, memorial builders, and memorabilia collectors fought over his visible legacy. Peterson also looks at the complex responses of blacks to the memory of Lincoln, as they moved from exultation at the end of slavery to the harsh reality of free life amid deep poverty and segregation; at more than one memorial event for the great emancipator, the author notes, blacks were excluded. He makes an engaging examination of the flood of reminiscences and biographies, from Lincoln's old law partner William H. Herndon to Carl Sandburg and beyond. Serious historians were late in coming to the topic; for decades the myth-makers sought to shape the image of the hero President to suit their own agendas. He was made a voice of prohibition, a saloon-keeper, an infidel, a devout Christian, the first Bull Moose Progressive, a military blunderer and (after the First World War) a military genius, a white supremacist (according to D.W. Griffith and other Southern admirers), and a touchstone for the civil rights movement. Through it all, Peterson traces five principal images of Lincoln: the savior of the Union, the great emancipator, man of the people, first American, and self-made man. In identifying these archtypes, he tells us much not only of Lincoln but of our own identity as a people. More than thirty years ago, Peterson won the prestigious Bancroft Prize for The Jefferson Image in the American Mind. The New York Times Book Review hailed it as "an engrossing story of the uses and abuses of a great legend," saying that Peterson's writing is often "brilliant." This absorbing book follows in the footsteps of that landmark work, leading us on a revealing tour through our changing image of our greatest president--and our changing image of ourselves.

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Lincoln in American memory

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Historian Peterson ( The Great Triumvirate , LJ 8/87) provides a chronological history of Abraham Lincoln's place in the American imagination. Lincoln's achievements and the drama of his death make ... Read full review

Review: Lincoln in American Memory

User Review  - J. Ewbank - Goodreads

This was a good book about the way we Americans remember Lincoln, even though some of our thoughts are not reall factual. It was worth the read to get back tosome of the truths. J. Robert Ewbank author "John Wesley, Natural Man, and the 'Isms'" Read full review

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JSTOR: Lincoln in American Memory.
Lincoln in American Memory. New York: Oxford University Press. 1994. Pp. viii, 482. $~0.00. In 1960, Merrill D. Peterson concluded The Jefferson Image in ... sici?sici=0002-8762(199410)99%3A4%3C1281%3ALIAM%3E2.0.CO%3B2-5

Honest to Abe - New York Times
LINCOLN IN AMERICAN MEMORY By Merrill D. Peterson. Illustrated. 482 pp. .... "Lincoln in American Memory" is a worthy testament to his enduring influence. ... gst/ fullpage.html?res=9500E1DB163DF935A15755C0A962958260& sec=& spon=& pagewanted=print

Lincoln in American Memory.(Brief Article) | Economist (US), The ...
Lincoln in American Memory.(Brief Article) from Economist (US), The in Business provided by Find Articles. p/ articles/ mi_hb5037/ is_199407/ ai_n18300489

Kim M. Bauer | Lincolniana in 1995 | Journal of the Abraham ...
Review of Lincoln in American Memory, by Merrill Peterson. Illinois Historical Journal 88 (Summer 1995): 135. ———. Review of Lincoln, by David Herbert ... journals/ jala/ 17.2/ bauer.html

Lincoln in the National Memory - An immediate context, The lincoln ...
Part of the answer, as Merrill Peterson's Lincoln in American Memory (1994) ... Lincoln in American Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. ... Ke-Ma/ Lincoln-in-the-National-Memory.html

Book Review - Every generation reinterprets Lincoln to suit its ...
Lincoln in American Memory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Pp. 482 with notes and index. $30 (cloth). "Lincoln lived, above all, off the spiritual ... 1994/ ii941128.html

The American Myth
In Lincoln In American Memory, Merrill D. Peterson sees five themes at work in the Lincoln myth which developed immediately after his death: Savior of the ... ~cap/ LINCOLN/ mythtxt.htm

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Abraham Lincoln's Prophecy
As historian Merrill Peterson noted in Lincoln in American Memory:. A Lincoln Encyclopedia, the brainchild of an Ohio newspaperman, Archer H. Shaw, ... quotes/ lincoln.asp

The Claremont Institute - Terrorist Or Madman?
Like Peterson's The Jefferson Image in the American Mind (1960) and Lincoln in American Memory (1994), this is a book about how history—in this case, ... publications/ crb/ id.798/ article_detail.asp

The Problem of Lincoln in Babbitt’s Thought
The most complete treatment of the historical development of the Lincoln. myth is Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory (New York: Oxford Uni- ... gamble15-1.pdf

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