Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858 – Albert J. Beveridge (1928) (1st, limited ed)


Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858 – Albert J. Beveridge (1928) (1st, limited ed)


Title: Abraham Lincoln 1809-1858

Author: Albert J. Beveridge

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1928. First edition. Limited edition of 1,000 copies, of which this is No. 485.

Condition: Hardcover. 4 volumes, complete. Very good. Slight foxing, rough cut edges. With numerous tissue-guarded plates. Each volume is app 10″ by 7″. A very heavy set. Overseas shipping will cost extra.

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A very comprehensive biography of Lincoln by a US Senator.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Albert Jeremiah Beveridge (October 6, 1862 – April 27, 1927) was an American historian and US senator from Indiana. He was an intellectual leader of the Progressive Era and a biographer of Chief Justice John Marshall and President Abraham Lincoln.

Beveridge is known as one of the most prominent American imperialists. He supported the annexation of the Philippines and, along with Republican leader Henry Cabot Lodge, he campaigned for the construction of a new navy. In 1901, Beveridge became chair of the Senate Committee on Territories. This allowed him to support statehood for Oklahoma. However, he blocked statehood for New Mexico and Arizona because he deemed the territories too sparsely occupied by white people. In his opinion, they contained too large a population of Hispanics and Native Americans, whom he described as intellectually incapable of understanding the concept of self-governance. He celebrated the “white man’s burden” as a noble mission, part of God’s plan to bring civilization to the entire world. “It is racial… He has marked the American people as His chosen nation…” After Beveridge’s election in 1905 to a second term, he became identified with the reform-minded faction of the GOP. He championed national child labor legislation, broke with President William Howard Taft over the Payne-Aldrich tariff, and sponsored the Federal Meat Inspection Act of 1906, adopted in the wake of the publication of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. Furthermore, Beveridge joined insurgents in supporting postal savings bank legislation and railroad regulations with the Mann-Elkins Act of 1910.

He lost his senate seat to John Worth Kern when the Democrats took Indiana in the 1910 elections. In 1912, when former president Theodore Roosevelt left the Republican Party to found the short-lived Progressive Party, Beveridge left with him, and ran campaigns as that party’s Indiana nominee in the 1912 race for governor and the 1914 race for senator, losing both. When the Progressive party disintegrated, he returned to the Republicans with his political future in tatters; he eventually ran one more race for Senate in 1922, winning the primary against incumbent Harry S. New, but losing the general to Samuel M. Ralston and would never again hold office. Another contribution towards his political downfall was the fact he was a great critic of Woodrow Wilson. He encouraged Wilson to take a more interventionist policy with the Mexican Revolution and disliked him for suggesting that America should join the League of Nations. He felt the League of Nations undermined American independence.

In the twilight of his life, Beveridge came to repudiate some of the earlier expansion of governmental power that he had championed in his earlier career. In one notable address, delivered before the Sons of the Revolution’s annual dinner in June 1923, Beveridge decried the growth of the regulatory state and the proliferation of regulatory bodies, bureaus and commissions. “America would be better off as a country and Americans happier and more prosperous as a people,” he suggested, “if half of our Government boards, bureaus and commissions were abolished, hundreds of thousands of our Government officials, agents and employees were discharged and two-thirds of our Government regulations, restrictions and inhibitions were removed.”

As his political career drew to a close, Beveridge dedicated his time to writing historical literature. He was a member and secretary of the American Historical Association (AHA). His four-volume set The Life of John Marshall, published in 1916-1919 won Beveridge a Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography; it connected events in John Marshall’s life with his later US Supreme Court rulings.

Beveridge spent most of his final years after his 1922 defeat writing a four-volume biography of Abraham Lincoln, only half-finished at his death, posthumously published in 1928 as Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1858. It stripped away the myths, to reveal a complex and imperfect politician. His accumulated materials for the continuance of the project were handed on to Carl Sandburg at the request of his wife, Catherine Eddy Beveridge. In 1939, the AHA established the Beveridge Award in his memory, through a gift from the widow and from donations from members.

There is a famous lost film of Leo Tolstoy made in 1901, a decade before Tolstoy died. American travel lecturer Burton Holmes visited Yasnaya Polyana with Beveridge. As the three men conversed, Holmes filmed Tolstoy with his 60-mm camera. Afterwards, Beveridge’s advisers succeeded in having the film destroyed, for fear that documentary evidence of a meeting with the radical Russian author might hurt his chances of running for the presidency.