Lincoln and the Civil War Archives

September 3, 2007

Abraham Africanus I : his secret life, revealed under the mesmeric influence ; mysteries of the White House. New York : J.F. Feeks [1864]
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While the majority of Illinoisans supported the war against the secession of the southern states and opposed the enslavement of African-Americans, those sentiments were far from universal in the state, particularly in south central and southern Illinois whose residents were more likely to have migrated from the south. The Copperheads were a loosely organized group of Midwestern Democrats who vehemently opposed the war and the administration of President Abraham Lincoln. The reasons for Copperhead opposition were numerous but focused primarily on the negative economic impact of the Civil War particularly in agriculture and banking; Lincoln's declaration of martial law and suspension of habeas corpus in 1863; and, for some, the Emancipation Proclamation. Abraham Africanus I is a rare Copperhead political pamphlet from 1864 that satirically depicts Abraham Lincoln making a pact with the Devil to become the monarchical ruler of the United States. To read more about the Copperheads, see Illinois Copperheads and the American Civil War.


October 12, 2007

The underground rail road. A record of facts, authentic narratives, letters, &c., narrating the hardships, hair-breadth escapes, and death struggles of the slaves in their efforts for freedom, as related by themselves and others. . . (1872)
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"William Still's book on the Underground Railroad was an important addition to the literature of the antislavery movement. One of the small number of postwar accounts written or compiled by Negro authors, it provided a much-needed corrective to the memoirs of white abolitionists. Still recognized the many contributions of white abolitionists, but he also pictured the fugitives themselves as courageous individuals, struggling for their own freedom, rather than as helpless or passive passengers on a white Underground Railroad. His journals were the only day-to-day record of vigilance committee activity covering a prolonged period. In addition to the accounts of the fugitives, he included excerpts from newspapers. legal documents, letters from abolitionists and former slaves, and biographical sketches." From William Still Underground RR Foundation Inc.


February 29, 2008

The Republican campaign songster, for 1860 (1860)
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Hillary Clinton has Celine Dion's "You and I." For Barack Obama it's Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours." And John McCain's apparently switched to ABBA's "Take A Chance on Me" after John Mellencamp asked the Republican frontrunner to stop using his "Our Country." What is it? The campaign song! "Campaign songs are partisan ditties used in American political canvasses and more especially in presidential contests. The words were commonly set to established melodies like "Yankee Doodle," "Hail, Columbia," "Rosin the Bow," "Hail to the Chief" "John Brown's Body," "Dixie" and "O Tannenbaum" ("Maryland, My Maryland"); or to tunes widely popular at the time." [source: Dictionary of American History by James Truslow Adams, New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940] This week you can enjoy some of Abe Lincoln's.


April 5, 2008

John Wilkes Booth; escape and wanderings until final ending of the trail by suicide at Enid, Oklahoma, January 12, 1903 (c1922)
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Also, The escape and suicide of John Wilkes Booth : or, The first true account of Lincoln's assassination, containing a complete confession by Booth [1907?]
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On April 14, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated while attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. After entering Lincoln's theater box and shooting the President in the head with a .44 caliber Derringer, the soon to be infamous assassin, actor John Wilkes Booth, jumped from the theater box to the stage floor, and despite injuring his leg, managed to exit the theater. He was pursued by 25 Union soldiers through the Virginia countryside, where he was eventually captured and shot to death twelve days later. But in the years following the assassination and Booth's death, sensational theories of Booth's escape and subsequent wanderings and death were promoted. In this week's featured books by William Parker Campell and Finis Langdon Bates, Booth supposedly assumed a new identity as David E. George and eventually committed suicide in Enid, OK, in 1903. Bates even toured the country exhibiting David George's mummified corpse, claiming it was the body of John Wilkes Booth.


August 27, 2008

Autobiography of a fugitive negro : his anti-slavery labours in the United States, Canada & England (1855)
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Samuel Ringgold Ward (1817-1866) was a journalist, abolitionist, lecturer, and contemporary of Frederick Douglass. Born the son of American slaves who escaped to New Jersey in 1820 when he was three years old, Ward and his family settled soon thereafter in New York City where Ward was educated at The African Free School, an institution founded by the New York Manumission Society in1787 to provide education to children of slaves and freemen. In 1839, he joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and soon thereafter the new Anti-Slavery Society of Canada. In April 1853 the Canadian society sent Ward to England to seek funds to help the fugitive slaves then pouring into western Canada. He wrote his Autobiography of a Fugitive Negro while living in England. (Dictionary of Canadian Biography).


About Lincoln and the Civil War

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Digitized Book of the Week in the Lincoln and the Civil War category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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