ABOUT THIS BOOK
Lincoln’s life and leadership through the lens of the Bible
How did Abraham Lincoln’s lifelong study of scripture influence him as a man and, ultimately, as president? Historian Gordon Leidner believes the impact was profound—more than previously recognized—and has investigated all the known writings of Abraham Lincoln to identify, catalog, and study every instance in which Lincoln quoted from or alluded to the Bible. Rather than dwelling on the never-ending debate about Lincoln’s religious beliefs, Leidner shows how scripture affected Lincoln personally, professionally, and politically.
Leidner offers first a short biography that focuses on Lincoln’s use of the Bible, how it shaped him as a person, how its influence changed over time, and how biblical quotations peppered his letters, speeches, and conversations. The book concludes with an unparalleled appendix that tabulates nearly 200 instances of Lincoln’s quoting from or alluding to scripture, giving locators for the Bible and Roy P. Basler’s nine volume Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln and quotations from both sources. The appendix also includes when and where Lincoln used each quote, providing valuable context, whether the use was in personal letters such as one to Queen Victoria after the death of Prince Albert, political speeches such as the Gettysburg Address, or state addresses such as the Second Inaugural Address.
By showcasing Lincoln’s specific biblical references and influences, Leidner reframes the question of Lincoln’s religious beliefs so that readers may evaluate for themselves what solace and guidance the Bible afforded the sixteenth president.