Lincoln’s Death, New Nation: April 1865 to 1877

Lincoln’s Posthumous Fame

Could anyone else have filled this role?

Here, as so often, we run into the difficulties because of our lack of knowledge. There may well have been undiscovered “Lincolns” in his time period, just as there may have been undiscovered “FDRs” during the Great Depression. But when we examine the people at or near the top, of whom we have certain knowledge, we feel reasonably confident in saying “no.”

When we look at Lincoln, we examine William Seward, Edwin M. Stanton, Montgomery Blair, and Salmon P. Chase, as well as active wartime governors such as John A. Andrew of Massachusetts. We also bring into play persons such as Frederick Douglass, Ulysses Grant, William T. Sherman, and so forth. As we go through this list, giving proper respect and acknowledgement to each of these persons, we conclude that none of them was on Lincoln’s level: they could not have filled his role as father of the nation and the people.


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