Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2004


Civil War Era Studies; History


No other American president has wielded the power of words with greater skill than Abraham Lincoln. "No one can read Mr. Lincoln's state papers without perceiving in them a most remarkable facility of 'putting things' so as to command the attention and assent of the people," wrote Henry J. Raymond, editor of the New York Times in 1864, and Raymond had an editor's unerring eye for this sort of thing. Massachusetts congressman George Boutwell, reminiscing for Allen Thorndike Rice twenty years after Lincoln's death, thought that "Lincoln's fame" would "be carried along the ages" by his writings, and especially the "three great papers ... the proclamation of emancipation, his oration at Gettysburg, and his second inaugural address." [excerpt]