Top Three Rivals Of Abraham Lincoln

One of our most revered presidents, Abraham Lincoln lived a quintessentially American life, rising from log cabin poverty to unparalleled prestige as leader of an emerging, troubled nation. Author Doris Kearns Goodwin — who comes to talk at UCSB’s Campbell Hall on Friday, February 9 at 8 p.m. — is an expert on Lincoln, and in her new book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, she explains how he made the most of his term by enlisting the help of his enemies. Here are three of those rivals turned friends. 1) William H. Seward: So sure was this New York senator of his presidential nomination in 1860, he had already written a sayonara speech. Instead, Lincoln named Seward Secretary of State, a position he’d use to buy Alaska, which became known as Seward’s Folly.

2) Edwin M. Stanton: Though this attorney once demeaned Lincoln by calling him a “long-armed ape,” Abe granted him the Secretary of War post, and Stanton grew to love the president, grieving for weeks after his assassination.

3) Edward Bates: This longtime politician lost to Lincoln in 1860, then accepted the president’s offer to be Attorney General. Initially, Bates thought Lincoln to be incompetent, but he later said that Lincoln was “very near being a perfect man.”

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