Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America

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W. W. Norton & Company, Feb 9, 2015 - History - 320 pages

The untold story of how one sensational trial propelled a self-taught lawyer and a future president into the national spotlight.

In May of 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge, unalterably changing the course of American transportation history. Within a year, long-simmering tensions between powerful steamboat interests and burgeoning railroads exploded, and the nation’s attention, absorbed by the Dred Scott case, was riveted by a new civil trial. Dramatically reenacting the Effie Afton case—from its unlikely inception, complete with a young Abraham Lincoln’s soaring oratory, to the controversial finale—this “masterful” (Christian Science Monitor) account gives us the previously untold story of how one sensational trial propelled a self-taught lawyer and a future president into the national spotlight.
 

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Contents

Introduction
A Great Highway of Nature
No Other Improvement
His Peculiar Ambition
The First Bridge over the First River
A Collision of Interests
The Suit Is Filed
Preparing the Ground
The Bridge Stands
The Great and Durable Question
Historys Verdict
Illustrations
Acknowledgments
12
Timeline
14
Notes
24
Bibliography
37

A Very Serious Obstruction
A Chorus of Protests
The Bridge Itself on the Stand
A Virtual Triumph
Illustration Credits
47
Index
48
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

Brian McGinty is an attorney and writer who specializes in American history and law. His previous books include Lincoln's Greatest Case, The Body of John Merryman: Abraham Lincoln and the Suspension of Habeas Corpus, and John Brown's Trial. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona.

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