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  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Throughout his eight years in the state legislature, Lincoln proved an extraordinarily shrewd grassroots politician, working to enlist voter support in the precincts for his party’s candidates. While Seward could concentrate on giving voice to the party platform, relying on Weed to build poll lists and carry voters to the polls, Lincoln engaged in every aspect of the political process, from the most visionary to the most mundane. His experience taught him what every party boss has understood through the ages: the practical machinery of the party organization—the distribution of ballots, the...
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    At the time of their journey, three decades of immigration, commercial enterprise, and industrial production had invigorated Northern society, creating thriving cities and towns. The historian Kenneth Stampp well describes how the North of this period “teemed with bustling, restless men and women who believed passionately in ‘progress’ and equated it with growth and change; the air was filled with the excitement of intellectual ferment and with the schemes of entrepreneurs; and the land was honeycombed with societies aiming at nothing less than the total reform of mankind.”
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Failing to receive an immediate reply from Frances, Seward tossed in his bed. He felt cold, clammy, and feverish. For the first time, the possibility occurred to him that his wife might have fallen out of love, and he was horrified. “I am growing womanish in fears,” he admitted in a second heartfelt letter. “Tell me in your own dear way that I am loved and cherished in your heart as I used to be when I better deserved so happy a lot.” Finally, Seward received the answer he longed to hear. “You reproach yourself dear Henry with too much severity,” Frances wrote. “Never in those times...
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    Though untutored in the sciences and the classics, he was able to read and reread his books until he understood them fully. “Get the books, and read and study them,” he told a law student seeking advice in 1855. It did not matter, he continued, whether the reading be done in a small town or a large city, by oneself or in the company of others. “The books, and your capacity for understanding them, are just the same in all places. …Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed, is more important than any other one thing.”
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    The only schools in rural Kentucky and Indiana were subscription schools, requiring families to pay a tuition. Even when frontier families could afford the expense, their children did not always receive much education. “No qualification was ever required of a teacher,” Lincoln recalled, “beyond ‘readin, writin, and cipherin,’ to the Rule of Three. If a straggler supposed to understand latin, happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizzard.” Allowed to attend school only “by littles” between stints of farmwork, “the aggregate of all his schooling,” Lincoln...
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    The same observation that horrified Mrs. Frances Trollope on a visit to America, that “any man’s son may become the equal of any other man’s son,” propelled thousands of young men to break away from the small towns and limited opportunities their fathers had known. These ambitious youngsters ventured forth to test their luck in new careers as merchants, manufacturers, teachers, and lawyers. In the process, hundreds of new towns and cities were born, and with the rapid expansion of roads, bridges, and canals, a modern market economy emerged.
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    The years following the Revolution fostered the belief that the only barriers to success were discipline and the extent of one’s talents. “When both the privileges and the disqualifications of class have been abolished and men have shattered the bonds which once held them immobile,” marveled the French visitor Alexis de Tocqueville, “the idea of progress comes naturally into each man’s mind; the desire to rise swells in every heart at once, and all men want to quit their former social position. Ambition becomes a universal feeling.”
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    He possessed an acute understanding of the sources of power inherent in the presidency, an unparalleled ability to keep his governing coalition intact, a tough-minded appreciation of the need to protect his presidential prerogatives, and a masterful sense of timing. His success in dealing with the strong egos of the men in his cabinet suggests that in the hands of a truly great politician the qualities we generally associate with decency and morality—kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy—can also be impressive political resources.
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    This, then, is a story of Lincoln’s political genius revealed through his extraordinary array of personal qualities that enabled him to form friendships with men who had previously opposed him; to repair injured feelings that, left untended, might have escalated into permanent hostility; to assume responsibility for the failures of subordinates; to share credit with ease; and to learn from mistakes.
  • S. shared from Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    It soon became clear, however, that Abraham Lincoln would emerge the undisputed captain of this most unusual cabinet, truly a team of rivals. The powerful competitors who had originally disdained Lincoln became colleagues who helped him steer the country through its darkest days. Seward was the first to appreciate Lincoln’s remarkable talents, quickly realizing the futility of his plan to relegate the president to a figurehead role. In the months that followed, Seward would become Lincoln’s closest friend and advisor in the administration. Though Bates initially viewed Lincoln as a well-meaning...