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Lincoln Lessons

Lincoln Lessons

Reflections on America's Greatest Leader

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Edited by Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson


6 x 9, 17 illustrations


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About the Book

In Lincoln Lessons, seventeen of today’s most respected academics, historians, lawyers, and politicians provide candid reflections on the importance of Abraham Lincoln in their intellectual lives. Their essays, gathered by editors Frank J. Williams and William D. Pederson, shed new light on this political icon’s remarkable ability to lead and inspire two hundred years after his birth.

Collected here are glimpses into Lincoln’s unique ability to transform enemies into steadfast allies, his deeply ingrained sense of morality and intuitive understanding of humanity, his civil deification as the first assassinated American president, and his controversial suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War. The contributors also discuss Lincoln’s influence on today’s emerging democracies, his lasting impact on African American history, and his often-overlooked international legend—his power to instigate change beyond the boundaries of his native nation. While some contributors provide a scholarly look at Lincoln and some take a more personal approach, all explore his formative influence in their lives. What emerges is the true history of his legacy in the form of first-person testaments from those whom he has touched deeply.

Lincoln Lessons brings together some of the best voices of our time in a unique combination of memoir and history. This singular volume of original essays is a tribute to the enduring inspirational powers of an extraordinary man whose courage and leadership continue to change lives today.


Jean H. Baker

Mario M. Cuomo

Joan L. Flinspach

Sara Vaughn Gabbard

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Harold Holzer

Harry V. Jaffa

John F. Marszalek

James M. McPherson

Edna Greene Medford

Sandra Day O’Connor

Mackubin Thomas Owens

William D. Pederson

Edward Steers Jr.

Craig L. Symonds

Thomas Reed Turner

Frank J. Williams


Frank J. Williams is chief justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island, cofounder of the Lincoln Forum, and a member of the executive committee of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission. He is the author of Judging Lincoln.

William D. Pederson is American Studies Endowed Chair in Liberal Arts, a professor of political science, and director of the International Lincoln Center at Louisiana State University in Shreveport. He is the author, coauthor, editor, or coeditor of more than twenty-five books on law, politics, George Washington, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.