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The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln: Volumes I-III

Date & Time

Jan. 13, 2020
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center


The house divided, the incitement of demagogues, appeals to anti-immigrant nativism and racism, a reactionary Supreme Court, a dysfunctional presidency, and the breakup of the old parties—all of these Lincoln confronted in his rise to the presidency. No one else in the crisis combined Lincoln’s political skill, his force of logic and argument, his sense of when to step forward and when not to step forward prematurely, the clarity of his principles, and his subtlety and practicality in achieving them. At every step of his way, in order to destroy the greatest concentration of wealth and political power in the country—the Slave Power—he had to create new instruments of power, from the Illinois Republican Party to the Union Army. Through his leadership he had to summon “all the powers of earth” to save democracy and overthrow slavery.

Sidney Blumenthal is the acclaimed author of A Self-Made Man and Wrestling with His Angel, the first two volumes in his five-volume biography, The Political Life of Abraham LincolnKirkus Reviews ranked the third volume, All the Powers of Earth, the best biography of 2019: "As essential as any political biography is likely to be." He was awarded the first book prize of the Lincoln Forum. He is the former assistant and senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and senior adviser to Hillary Clinton. He has been a national staff reporter for The Washington Post and Washington editor and writer for The New Yorker. His books include the bestselling The Clinton WarsThe Rise of the Counter-Establishment, and The Permanent Campaign. Born and raised in Illinois, he lives in Washington, DC.

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest and the George Washington University History Department for their support

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