Once on the Eighth Judicial Circuit some attorneys scoffed at the common belief in George Washington's infallibility. Lincoln protested, saying, "Let us believe as in the days of our youth, that Washington was spotless; it makes human nature better to believe that one human being was perfect; that human perfection is possible." [1] Lincoln's comment touched upon one of the realities of civilization: the use of cultural forms, especially exemplary individuals, to mediate ideas held to be important.

Every society strives to make its ideas and ideals concrete for the common man through cultural institutions and the example of individuals whose lives and deeds embody traits deemed worthy for all to follow. America, too, since the years of her birth on the battlefields of revolution, has endeavored to make the idea of democracy tangible for her citizenry. While she has thoroughly utilized music, popular history, literature, art, education, and other cultural forms, no facet of her effort has succeeded quite as well as the use of character exemplars. [2] Page  [End Page 71]

In the republic's tumultuous first generation the lives of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and several lesser illuminaries were praised as role models and were retold frequently. [3] The impact on early nineteenth-century America of Parson Mason Weems's celebrated life of Washington clearly illustrates the attempt of the American people to define appropriate individual forms of their new, best society, which was being hammered into shape.

In the late nineteenth century the eternal task of clarifying the democratic ideal had to be meshed with the pressing need to resolve two great additional burdens: repairing the mighty rent in the national fabric caused by civil war and absorbing millions of impoverished immigrants flooding in upon a burgeoning industrial nation. The zeal for the old cultural forms continued unabated, the forms being refurbished and expanded. In the life and actions of Abraham Lincoln was found a preeminent model—seemingly without parallel in American history. [4] For one hundred years he would be America's touchstone for democracy and would serve in peace and plenitude, crisis and grief, as a never-exhausted source for the revitalization of an old ideal.[5]

For the common man Lincoln's life affirmed, in a way no scholarly treatise could ever hope to approach, the truth of an essential democratic tenet—that neither the misfortune of birth nor the wretchedness of circumstances ought to act as a barrier to one's Page  [End Page 72] search for a better life. Lincoln's life contradicted the Old World ideologies that demanded that class and caste be the blind and blighting arbiters of destiny and that only a favored few be given access to the goods of the world. His leadership gave the frail American experiment a chance once and for all not only to cleanse the affairs of government of the old taints that had clung to efforts at civilization since Adam but also to offer the world its last, best hope.

At the same time, the Emancipation Proclamation and Lincoln's appeal for charity toward the defeated traitors fostered the concept of universal brotherhood, which lay at the heart of democracy. His assumption of responsibilities in carrying out perceived obligations strongly underpinned the common man's belief that here was someone of decency, honesty, and integrity who faithfully tried to serve him.

The profound sadness looming behind the Lincoln figure and suffusing his character and many of his activities led the public to a realization that whether one inhabits a mansion or dwells in a hovel, life can be filled with deep tragedy.

Every major institution mediated the idea of Lincoln as an exemplar. A score of major historic sites and buildings has had a far-reaching impact upon many millions of people. The several hundred statues and busts scattered around the nation have given untold millions a place of reference and an insight into his character. The continual federal, state, and local government activity of setting aside holidays, naming trails, roads, awards, and buildings after him, and printing Lincoln stamps, coins, and bills, has reinforced the archetype of the democratic man.[6] In the academic realm the quiet fostering of Lincoln scholarship by several associations has provided the nation with excellent libraries and museums and has contributed to the growth of knowledge in the Page  [End Page 73] field. [7] The activities of civic and veterans' groups have shown constant influences of the Lincoln ideal. [8] Through literary forms American writers have made the ideal concrete in thousands of magazine articles, plays, poems, short stories, novels, histories, and biographies.

Of particular importance were the publications of religious and educational institutions. The church's concern for offering role models to Christian youth and the larger society created the need for a distinct picture of the worthiness of Abraham Lincoln. The theology of both Protestants and Roman Catholics made the presentation of life ideals in the form of representative individuals a central tenet of pedagogy. Lincoln fit snugly into the niche reserved for secular persons. While ministers might preach an occasional sermon on him, their frequent participation in public ceremonies and celebrations associated with Lincoln were the most dramatic examples of their identification. At the same time that certain scholarly church publications discussed at length his personal religious preferences, periodicals for the general readership contained a large number of Lincoln stories and homilies and ceaseless comment, it seems, on his religious views—most of the writers apparently not having heard of Ingersoll.[9]

It was, however, in the field of youth education, especially the Sunday School, that the sway of the church helped diffuse Lincoln's ideal characteristics among the impressionable religious youth of the republic. [10] In many church schools Lincoln vied with Christ for the teacher's attention as the twelfth of February drew near, and in the early decades of the century Lincoln often Page  [End Page 74] triumphed. Stories, plays, dramas, and other media imparted to the children the qualities of honesty, integrity, equality of all people, regard for the unfortunate, and dedication to a higher purpose in life than self-aggrandizement.[11]

Education played the most powerful role in fashioning the Lincoln exemplar. While some schools carried Lincoln's name, almost all hung Lincoln's as well as Washington's pictures high on the wall near the flag in practically every classroom.[12] As both solemnly watched generation after generation of struggling young scholars, the graded readers often had a Lincoln story that illuminated a particular character virtue. A good example is "Abraham Lincoln and His Dog," found in The Elson Basic Readers, Book Two, a text widely used from 1912 through the Depression years. Leaving the farm they had just sold, the "very poor" Lincoln family moved on by ox and wagon. After fording a cold and muddy stream, they discovered that Lincoln's dog was mistakenly marooned. Lincoln returned for it. Here are the concluding sentences:

Abe picked up the frightened little animal in his arms and waded back across the stream.... [The dog] had found that Abraham Lincoln was a true friend, even to a little dog.

This kind lad, Abraham Lincoln, became president of our country.[13]

Supplementary books also touched on Lincoln subjects, and Page  [End Page 75] general histories of the nation gave the Great Emancipator considerable space.[14] It was, however, in the celebration of Lincoln's birthday that the public and parochial schools most profoundly depicted the rise of Lincoln from "Poverty to the Presidency" and stressed basic virtues for youth. [15] Portions of several class days preceding the celebration were devoted to tales and descriptions of his background.[16] On the day itself a dramatic presentation—a pageant, tableaux, play, pantomime, puppet show, or a reading interspersed with song and poem—would not be unusual.[17] Such class projects as models of scenes from pioneer life, of the Lincoln birthplace, and of a log cabin were common. The students might draw pictures of events in Lincoln's life; those drawings would later be hung on a tin wire across the classroom for all to see. [18] Page  [End Page 76]

The character attributes and democratic concepts transmitted to society at large via the Lincoln image formed an element of the mind life of many distinguished Americans. Even as the swirling scholarly controversies stripped away many of the layers of myth and apotheosis that had fallen upon the historical Lincoln, a core of exemplary features remained relatively unchanged.[19] References to the inspiring influence of Lincoln can be found in the lives of Nobel Laureate Jane Addams, political reformer Robert M. LaFollette, and labor leader Eugene Debs.

The remarkable career of Chicago's Jane Addams has been the subject of many articles and books, but none impart her philosophical outlook and strength of character as effectively as her autobiography, Twenty Years at Hull-House.[20] In the chapter in which she related the influence of Lincoln upon her outlook and life goals, three basic strands appear. First, when she embarked upon her arduous career, frought with perils of the spirit and the uncertainty of decision, she read Edward Caird's essay on Lincoln. The Oxford don's insights, fused with her earlier Lincoln heritage, gave her, she said, "a healing sense of well-being." [21] She realized that in order to succeed in her plucky endeavor to assist the oppressed among the immigrant poor on Chicago's South Side she must have the same high principles that Lincoln had had in his great struggle. "Vision and wisdom as well as high motives must lie behind every effective stroke in the continuous labor for human equality," she wrote. [22]

Second, she and her associates "made much of Lincoln" as they worked among the neighbors of Hull-House. She wrote:

We were often distressed by the children of immigrant parents who were ashamed of the pit whence they were digged, who repudiated the language and customs of their elders, and counted themselves successful as they were able to ignore the past. Whenever I held up Lincoln for their Page  [End Page 77] admiration as the greatest American, I invariably pointed out his marvelous power to retain and utilize past experiences; that he never forgot how the plain people in Sangamon County thought and felt when he himself had moved to town; that this habit was the foundation for his marvelous capacity for growth....[23]
One Christmas day she presented twenty-five copies of Carl Schurz's Appreciation of Abraham Lincoln to a boys' club. [24]

Third, during the Pullman Strike of 1894 (also known as the Debs Rebellion), when troops and strikers faced off for what seemed like an impending war, she singled out the great source of strength that the Lincoln ideal gave her.

I walked the wearisome way from Hull-House to Lincoln Park ... in order to look at and gain magnanimous counsel, if I might, from the marvelous St. Gaudens statue which had been but recently placed at the entrance of the park.[25]

Robert M. La Follette, Wisconsin's "Fighting Bob," drew inspiration and strength for his public service from the Lincoln exemplar. La Follette's 1911 autobiography, which details several of the influences that shaped his career, contains this passage describing his first day in Washington as a Congressman-elect:

Before breakfast, on my first morning in Washington, I went into Lincoln Park and stood with my hat off before Ball's statue of Lincoln. I know that critics have found fault with it as a work of art, but I cannot forget how it moved me that first morning in Washington. There stood Lincoln holding in one hand the Proclamation of Emancipation, the other extended over the head of a kneeling negro from whose wrists the shackles had just parted! That moment and the day I spent at Mount Vernon were experiences which I shall never forget. [26]

The deeds of Fighting Bob revealed that a Lincoln thread might have been woven into his character. Although the content of his activities differed from Lincoln's, the same clear democratic quality of integrity and honesty in attempting to meet the will of the Page  [End Page 78] people consistently came through. [27] Many of his activities in the legislative field have been singled out, but his bitter fight on the floor of the Senate in April, 1917, when he sought to halt the slide into World War, was most remarkable. From it followed obloquy and threats upon his life.[28]

Lincoln statue by St. Gaudens, Lincoln Park, Chicago
Lincoln statue by St. Gaudens, Lincoln Park, ChicagoPage  [End Page 79]

"With the exception of the great Lincoln, where can we find the like of this man?" wrote one member of the Socialist party of Eugene V. Debs.[29] Debs himself was often compared to Lincoln.[30] The best effort to define the relationship between those men and the republic they served came from John Swinton, whose comparison of Lincoln's Cooper Union speech of 1860 and Debs's Cooper Union speech of 1894 (both of which Swinton had heard) is a minor classic in Socialist literature. Swinton carefully winnowed the apotheosized Lincoln from the real one and stressed that Lincoln and Debs had put "the man before the dollar."[31]

Like so many Americans, Debs was fond of Lincoln stories and often regaled listeners with them. [32] In 1918 when he decided to speak out against World War I, he bolstered his argument with references to Lincoln's example of courage in opposing the Mexican War. [33] Near the end of his life he found solace in the example of Lincoln bearing his sorrows with great forbearance while being incessantly pommeled with personal insults. "I think," Debs wrote to his brother, "Lincoln must have known something of this when he said that if there was anyone in purgatory who suffered more than he did he pitied him."[34]

As an embodiment of the democratic ideal the Lincoln exemplar took firm hold on the American people and mediated the ideas of democracy. For countless citizens those principles defined life's purposes. The exemplar was a direct contact with the concept of nation. It was a common point of reference in times of Page  [End Page 80] national emergency and periods of great change. The Lincoln ideal that the brotherhood of man and justice was to be found in federal union remained especially strong among blacks. They stamped it vividly in the nation's memory during the March on Washington of August, 1963, as they gathered at the feet of the Daniel Chester French statue at the Lincoln Memorial.

The most graphic use of the Lincoln exemplar came on the morning after President John F. Kennedy's assassination when Chicago Sun-Times cartoonist Bill Mauldin pictured the Lincoln of the Lincoln Memorial with his head in his hands, weeping. The cartoon was reprinted on the front pages of newspapers on three continents and had a terrific impact, for it made crystal clear that democracy is incompatible with violence. Richard Cardinal Cushing, in his eulogy for the slain grandson of Celtic immigrants, drew on the institutional paradigm of Lincoln to define the meaning of President Kennedy's death, lamenting that America had lost her "youthful Lincoln" and the world, her hope. [35]

By permission of Bill Mauldin and WIL-JO Associates, Inc. © 1963
By permission of Bill Mauldin and WIL-JO Associates, Inc. © 1963 Page  [End Page 81]

The Lincoln exemplar helped to keep the democratic idea in the mainstream of national life for one hundred years. In such instances as immigrant acculturation, labor issues, political reform, and race relations, it concretely affected the lives and deeds of its citizens. It honed the nation's conscience.

Today America has entered an age of the death of heroes, an age of disbelief in the merits of history. Conventional institutions are being slowly dismantled. Culture and ideas are narrowly defined and relegated to the proper province of those fortuitously situated and specially prepared. The prevailing view seems to be that society at large does not possess institutions such as exemplars that encapsulate significant ideas.

Historical reality does not support this severe approach to cultural forms. But to remain viable, the Lincoln exemplar—as a cultural encapsulation of the democratic idea—must be defined in objective terms that relate to today's world, lest it slip into the mist of legend and thereby lose its effectiveness. This touchstone for democracy, therefore, requires constant scholarship—a most interesting and important task for historians.

Author's Note: Literature on the subject of character exemplars is extensive. Plato, for example, in his Republic, makes the idea central in early education. Plutarch, in his discussion of Pericles, addresses the same subject:

... virtue, by the bare statement of its actions, can so affect men's minds as to create at once both admiration of the things done and desire to imitate the doers of them. The goods of fortune we would possess and would enjoy; those of virtue we long to practice and exercise: we are content to receive the former from others, the latter we wish others to experience from us. Moral good is a practical stimulus; it is no sooner seen, than it inspires an impulse to practice, and influences the mind and character not by a mere imitation which we look at, but by the statement of the fact creates a moral purpose which we form.

The Byzantium Emperor Constantine deliberately created role models for the empire, even raising himself to the status of a god. An example drawn from English history is Henry St. John Viscount Bolingbroke, The Idea of a Patriot King, ed. S. W. Jackson (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1965).

Among the philosophical works to grapple with the subject are Hans Vaihinger, The Philosophy of "As If" (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1925); E. Jordan, The Good Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949), pp. 75–85; and F. H. Bradley, The Presuppositions of Critical History (Oxford: J. Parker, 1874) and Essays on Truth and Reality (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1914), pp. 409–27.

According to Mark Sullivan, nineteenth-century neighborhood butchers in America held a "beef-show" on Washington's birthday. They presented their best Page  [End Page 82] cuts of meat in a fresh sawdust-sprinkled shop and waited outside in top hats and new aprons to greet their patrons (Our Times, 1900–1925 [New York: Scribners, 1927], II, 492–93). Handsome Lake, the founder of the Seneca Indian religion of the same name, believed that only one white man—George Washington—was pure enough to leave earth after death; Washington, the only white man in Indian heaven, stands perpetual guard duty at the gate (letters of Ely S. Parker, last Grand Sachem of the Iroquois League, in the American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia, Pa.). Printers picked Franklin's birthday for an annual dinner and celebration of the glories of the printing craft. Civil libertarians took Jefferson as a model and found expression in story and song, such as the 1800 "Jefferson and Liberty."

The history of the curious book by Mason L. Weems is admirably told in Weems, The Life of Washington, ed. Marcus Cunliffe (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962). The best account of Weems is in Boorstin, The Americans: The National Experience, pp. 340–45, also the most usable bibliography, pp. 485–86. We know that Lincoln read Weems from Lincoln's address to the New Jersey Senate at Trenton in Feb., 1861:

May I be pardoned if, upon this occasion, I mention that away back in my childhood, the earliest days of my being able to read, I got hold of a small book, such a one as few of the younger members have ever seen, "Weem's Life of Washington." I remember all the accounts there given of the battle fields and struggles for the liberties of the country, and none fixed themselves upon my imagination so deeply as the struggle here at Trenton, New-Jersey. The crossing of the river; the contest with the Hessians; the great hardships endured at that time, all fixed themselves on my memory more than any single revolutionary event; and you all know, for you have all been boys, how these early impressions last longer than any others. I recollect thinking then, boy even though I was, that there must have been something more than common that those men struggled for.... I shall be most happy indeed if I shall be an humble instrument in the hands of the Almighty, and of this, his almost chosen people, for perpetuating the object of that great struggle (Roy P. Basler, ed., Marion Dolores Pratt and Lloyd A. Dunlap, asst. eds., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln [New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953–1955], IV, 235–36).

The relationship between Lincoln and Weems is related most vigorously in one of the major books for transmitting the Lincoln character to the American people: Horatio Alger, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, The Backwoods Boy; Or How a Young Rail-Splitter Became President (New York: John R. Anderson & Henry S. Allen, 1883), pp. 38–42. Alger told the story of Lincoln borrowing the book and then carelessly letting rain damage it. Lincoln worked to pay the owner for the ruined volume. Alger took the story from Ward H. Lamon, The Life of Abraham Lincoln; From his Birth to His Inauguration as President (Boston: James R. Osgood and Co., 1872), pp. 37, 50, who took it in turn from the notes and manuscripts of William H. Herndon. Herndon and Jesse W. Weik published an account in Herndon's Lincoln: The True Story of a Great Life ... (Chicago: Belford, Clarke & Co., 1889), I, 40. David Donald, Lincoln's Herndon (New York: Knopf, 1948), pp. 183–84, also discusses the incident, as does G. S. Boritt, Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream, pp. 284–86.

The popular attraction for the story of the honest young Lincoln resulted in its being printed repeatedly in newspapers and magazines. See, for example, R. F. Lockridge, "Lincoln and Washington: How Martyred President was Influenced by Reading Parson Weems's Life of Washington," National Republic, March, 1932, pp. 8–9; "Lincoln Inspired by Washington," Review of Reviews, Feb., 1930, pp. 37–38.

Page  [End Page 83]


  1. Paul M. Angle, The Lincoln Reader (New Brunswick, N. J.: Rutgers University Press, 1947), p. 168, citing Henry C. Whitney, Life on the Circuit with Lincoln (Boston: Estes and Lauriat, 1892). return to text
  2. Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The National Experience (New York: Random House, 1965); Russel Blaine Nye, Society and Culture in America, 1830–1860 (New York: Harper, 1974); Carl Russell Fish, The Rise of the Common Man, A History of American Life, Vol. 6 (New York: Macmillan, 1929). return to text
  3. Towns in the Eighth Judicial Circuit that Lincoln visited are peppered with names from America's first generation. Northeast of Springfield is Mt. Pulaski, east is Decatur, near Kenney is the lost town of Franklin, and all around are towns such as Waynesville, DeWitt, and Clinton. return to text
  4. David Donald, Lincoln Reconsidered (New York: Vintage Books, 1961), p. 166, "It speaks well for Americans that to the central hero in their history their folklore has attributed all the decent qualities of civilized man: patience, tolerance, humor, sympathy, kindliness, and sagacity." Basler, The Lincoln Legend, A Study of Changing Conceptions (Boston: Little, Brown, 1935). return to text
  5. Basler, A Touchstone for Greatness ... (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1973); Lloyd Lewis, Myths After Lincoln (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1929). Democracy does not have a commonly agreed upon text, but depends on several statements by persons associated with the movement, such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and Lincoln. Popular expressions of this were William H. Taft, "Abraham Lincoln," Cosmopolitan, 46 (1909), 361; A. H. Griffith, "The Message of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address for Today," National Republic, Nov., 1932, pp. 16–17, 28; "Stars that Guide Us," Colliers, Feb. 12, 1938, p. 66; "Eisenhower on Lincoln," Senior Scholastic, Feb. 6, 1963, pp. 23–24. return to text
  6. Maurine Whorton Redway and Dorothy Kendall Bracken, Marks of Lincoln on Our Land (New York: Hastings House, 1957), and Mabel Kunkel, Abraham Lincoln: Unforgettable American (Charlotte, N.C.: Delmar Co., 1976) provide extensive lists and descriptions. Popular articles and poems moved the Lincoln sites and memorials into the public mind, e.g., T. H. Ferril, "Lincoln Memorial" (poem), Literary Digest, May 30, 1931, p. 22; L. Snelling, "The Story of the Lincoln Penny," Instructor, Feb., 1949, p. 4. return to text
  7. Basler, A Touchstone for Greatness. Kunkel lists many library collections and museums devoted to Lincoln. A recent review of scholarship in the field is in G. S. Boritt, Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream (Memphis: Memphis State University Press, 1978), pp. 291–311. return to text
  8. For example, Thirty-Second Annual Program for Patriotic Exercises in Schools on Grand Army Flag Day. February Thirteenth, 1933. In Honor of the National Flag, the Grand Army of the Republic, and the Birthday of Abraham Lincoln (Providence, R.I.: Dept. of Education, 1933). return to text
  9. "Lincoln and San Marino," Catholic World, 47 (1938), 731–32; T. C. Clark, "Lincoln" (poem), Christian Century, 53 (1936), 263; L. R. Cronkhite, "The Church Lincoln Didn't Join," Christian Century, 52 (1935), 170–72. return to text
  10. Roman Catholics did not emphasize Sunday Schools; this particular approach was fundamentally Protestant. return to text
  11. C. Phillips, "Abraham Lincoln," Catholic World, 128 (1929), 513–22, 678–88 and 129 (1929), 48–59. This is based on the author's interviews with twenty-one persons who attended Sunday Schools between 1910 and 1940 in Rockford and Clinton, Ill., Madison and Stevens Point, Wis., and southern Iowa, as well as with two Sunday School teachers of the 1930s. return to text
  12. See, for example, E. C. Colin, "Darwin and Lincoln," Social Science and Mathematics, 44 (1944), 412–24; H. C. Lake, "Gettysburg Address in the Light of History," Grade Teacher, Jan., 1949, pp. 54, 73; H. Zyskind, "Rhetorical Analysis of the Gettysburg Address," Journal of General Education, 4 (1950), 202–12; J. P. Dix, "Abraham Lincoln, Protector of the American Union," Social Studies, 39 (1948), 208–20; B. Emsley, "Phonetic Structure in Lincoln's Gettysburg Address," Quarterly Journal of Speech, 24 (1938), 281–87; E. C. Richey, "Study Questions on the Gettysburg Address," Instructor, Feb., 1936, p. 56. return to text
  13. William H. Elson and William S. Gray, The Elson Basic Readers, Book Two (Chicago: Scott, Foresman and Co., 1931), pp. 194–98. return to text
  14. Articles of a general nature include: E. G. Punkay, "Lincoln as a Public Speaker," Illinois Education, 39 (1951), 206–07; A. Zwicker, "Test on Washington and Lincoln," Grade Teacher, Feb., 1951, pp. 70, 72; E. Hofflund, "Teacher's Reflections on A. Lincoln," California Teacher's Association Journal, Feb., 1961, pp. 9–10; N. Thomas, "First-graders Study Historical Figures," Instructor, Feb., 1960, pp. 15 ff.; Sr. Mary Christina, R.S.M., "The Great Commoner," Grade Teacher, Feb., 1960, pp. 23, 101–02; M. Taylor, "Abraham Lincoln, The Hoosier Youth; Modeled by Paul Manship," American Childhood, Feb., 1934, p. 17. return to text
  15. G. B. Watson, "What Should Celebrations of Lincoln's and Washington's Birthday Mean to Children?" Childhood Education, 12 (1936), 195–96; M. A. Turner, "Lincoln, Epic Hero of American Poetry," Texas Outlook, Feb., 1946, pp. 14–16; A. H. Perry, "Primary Program Numbers for Lincoln and Washington Exercises," Grade Teacher, Jan., 1947, p. 37; E. Eckford, "Art in Childhood: Celebrating February Birthdays," American Childhood, Feb., 1935, pp. 18, 48. return to text
  16. Examples are: K. J. Donelson, "Hog Waller School," Instructor, Feb., 1947, p. 23; L. Snelling, "Mrs. Johnson Comes Home," Instructor, Feb., 1952, p. 37; A. M. Luckey, "When President Lincoln Bowed to Tommy," Grade Teacher, Feb., 1934, pp. 19, 64; R. D. Moore, "Stories About Abraham Lincoln," Normal Instructor and Primary Plans, Feb., 1931, p. 29; F. J. Nickels, "Lincoln Listened to a Little Girl," Good Housekeeping, Feb., 1932, pp. 42–43, 119. return to text
  17. Dramatic themes include: S. Hoagland, "Tommy Hunter's Dream," Grade Teacher, Feb., 1945, pp. 48, 73; A. S. Messimer, "How Jane Met President Lincoln," ibid., Feb., 1945, pp. 49, 87; G. B. Pawling, "Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, Scenes to Accompany Its Reading," ibid., Feb., 1946, p. 18; M. N. Peterson, "Abe Finds a Mother," ibid., Feb., 1953, pp. 38, 93, 98–99; C. Towle, "Abraham Lincoln Receives Visitors," American Childhood, Feb., 1947, pp. 24–25; Sr. M. Jolene, F.S.P.A., "A Lincoln Program for Stage or Classroom," Catholic School Journal, Feb., 1951, pp. 51–52. On poetry: T. P. Rynder, "Lincoln," International Journal of Religious Education, Feb., 1933, p. 11; F. G. Risser, "Little Abe Lincoln," Instructor, Feb., 1934, p. 42. return to text
  18. On projects: A. C. Wonson, "Lincoln Log Cabin," Instructor, Feb., 1950, p. 45; S. Rehtus, "Lincoln Childhood Scene," American Childhood, Feb., 1944, p. 41. return to text
  19. Lewis, Myths After Lincoln; Benjamin P. Thomas, Portrait for Posterity: Lincoln and His Biographers (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1947); Donald, Herndon's Lincoln; Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition (New York: Knopf, 1948), pp. 93–136. return to text
  20. Jane Addams, Twenty Years at Hull-House, with Autobiographical Notes (New York: Macmillan, 1910). return to text
  21. Ibid., p. 40. return to text
  22. Ibid., p. 41. return to text
  23. Ibid., pp. 36–37. return to text
  24. Ibid., p. 36. return to text
  25. Ibid., p. 32. return to text
  26. Robert M. La Follette, La Follette's Autobiography, A Personal Narrative of Political Experiences (Madison: Robert M. La Follette Co., 1911), p. 50. return to text
  27. David Paul Thelen, Robert M. La Follette and the Insurgent Spirit (Boston: Little, Brown, 1976) is the latest scholarly study of the Wisconsin senator. The Autobiography of Lincoln Steffens (New York: Harcourt, 1931), pp. 454–63. return to text
  28. Belle Case La Follette and FoIa La Follette, Robert M. La Follette, 2 vols. (New York: Macmillan, 1953) contains a subdued account of the tense episode in vol. 1, pp. 657–68. return to text
  29. Ray Ginger, Eugene V. Debs: A Biography (New York: Collier, 1962), p. 287. return to text
  30. Based on interviews with two former members of railway unions who were active in the late 1890s and the first decade of the twentieth century. To many, Lincoln was an ideal democrat. Carl E. Person, a Swedish immigrant and railroad machinist active in a nationwide strike against the Harriman Lines from 1911 to 1917, related that he and many of his fellow workers read B. Crosby, American Military Biography: Containing the Lives and Characters of the Officers of the Revolution ... (Cincinnati: The Chronicle, 1831) because "this was a book that Lincoln read." Interview with the author, Springfield, Ill., June, 1963. return to text
  31. Debs: His Life, Writings and Speeches (St. Louis: Phil Wagner, 1908), pp. 501–04 (a campaign book issued by The Appeal to Reason newspaper in Girard, Kan.). return to text
  32. Two ardent Lincoln admirers, the democratic poets James Whitcomb Riley and Edwin Markham, were friends of Debs's. Debs's fellow Hoosier, Riley, often recited his poems, including "Lincoln," for Debs. return to text
  33. Ginger, p. 300. return to text
  34. Ibid., p. 420. return to text
  35. New York Times, Nov. 25, 1963, p. 4, col. 1. return to text