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Douglas Wilson: Lincoln's Sword

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Published on May 12, 2009

Considered a simpleton by Civil War-era literati, Abraham Lincoln shocked the intellectual establishment with his considerable prowess with a pen. From the Gettysburg Address to the Emancipation Proclamation, the president used his words to hold the nation together and exert his political power. Leading Lincoln scholar Douglas L. Wilson discussed his new book, "Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words" in a program sponsored by the Center for the Book. According to Wilson, seeing Lincoln "as an experienced writer in the presidential chair offers a window on his presidency, as well as a key to his accomplishments." Lincoln's rise in the public's estimation from unpromising prairie politician to great national hero is a well-known chapter in American history. "Lincoln's Sword" tries to show how his unrecognized talent for writing contributed to this celebrated transformation.

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