Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2003

Department 1

Civil War Era Studies

Department 2



That man who thinks Lincoln calmly sat down and gathered his robes about him, waiting for the people to call him, has a very erroneous knowledge of Lincoln," wrote Abraham Lincoln's long-time law partner, William Henry Herndon. "He was always calculating, and always planning ahead. His ambition was a little engine that knew no rest." And in no other pursuit was Lincoln more ambitious than in politics. As a lawyer and Whig political organizer in Illinois, "Politics were his life and his ambition and his motive power." [excerpt]

Required Publisher's Statement

Original version is available from the publisher at: