An associate of Abraham Lincoln offers an intimate view of the president’s relations with military men and top politicians, placing particular emphasis on the election campaigns of 1860 and 1864.
A. K. McClure, a Republican powerbroker and later editor of the Philadelphia Times, reveals how Lincoln replaced Vice President Hannibal Hamlin with the southern Democrat Andrew Johnson on the 1864 ticket. According to McClure, Lincoln kept his hand hidden in order not to offend Hamlin and his New England supporters. In 1892, the publication of Abraham Lincoln and Men of War-Times caused an angry exchange of letters (included in this edition) between McClure and the late president’s secretary, John G. Nicolay.
For all his nobility, Lincoln was a shrewd and cautious politician, running scared for reelection until major Union army victories in September 1864. McClure writes candidly about William T. Sherman, Ulysses S. Grant, and George B. McClellan. Among the politicians discussed are Lincoln’s predecessor, James Buchanan, who fixed the Southern policy that Lincoln followed until war came; Salmon P. Chase, the annoyingly ambitious secretary of the treasury; Edwin M. Stanton, the moody secretary of war; and Thaddeus Stevens, the ferocious congressman whose relations with Lincoln were uneasy at best.