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Title:  Abraham Lincoln quarterly. [Vol. 2, no. 6]
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256 ABRAHAM LINCOLN QUARTERLY remembered by what enemies have said, the picture would be amazingly different. For in the eyes of contemporaries Lincoln was a President who offended conservatives without satisfying radicals, who issued a tardy and incomplete emancipation proclamation after showing a willingness to conserve slavery, who had little if any success with Congress, who suppressed civil rights, headed a government marred by corruption, bungled the war, and then lost the peace, his postwar policy being blocked by congressional leaders in his lifetime before being wrecked in the reconstruction period. These denunciations are preserved only in fading manuscripts and yellowing newspapers, while Lincoln's fame is a living thing, as if Fate had been struck with remorse and had made a belated effort to even the scales. I It was with incredibly low prestige that Lincoln in March, 1861, took the helm of a badly shaken ship. That form of studiously favorable publicity that modern journalists turn on or off was denied him. A "good press" was lacking. Showmanship failed to make capital of his rugged origin, and there faced the bewildered country a strange man from Illinois who was dubbed a "Simple Susan," a "baboon," and a "gorilla." In Washington chatter and in news sheets he was labeled an "ape," a "demon," an "Illinois beast." His tariff speech at Pittsburgh in February, 1861, was described by a Washington correspondent as "crude, ignorant twaddle, without point or meaning." The Chicago Tribune of February 27, 1861, carried a preposterous story that he had avoided a train because he feared a wreck and had then counseled his wife and sons to take it. Publicity was unfortunately given to his kissing a little girl while en route as President-Elect, the same girl who claimed credit for suggesting the illdesigned whiskers that disfigured his fine chin. To Charles