The Cambridge Companion to Abraham Lincoln

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Abraham Lincoln's stature as an American cultural figure grows from his political legacy. In today's milieu, the speeches he delivered as the sixteenth president of the United States have become synonymous with American progress, values and exceptionalism. But what makes Lincoln's language so effective? Highlighting matters of style, affect, nationalism and history in nineteenth-century America, this collection examines the rhetorical power of Lincoln's prose - from the earliest legal decisions, stump speeches, anecdotes and letters, to the Gettysburg Address and the lingering power of the Second Inaugural Address. Through careful analysis of his correspondence with Civil War generals and his early poetry, the contributors, all literary and cultural critics, give readers a unique look into Lincoln's private life. Such a collection enables teachers, students, and readers of American history to assess the impact of this extraordinary writer - and rare politician - on the world's stage.