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Wide Awake Press Release

Wide Awake Press Release Publishing in May 2024

  Wide Awake Press Release Publishing in May 2024Thank you for reading this press release for Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War. This book will be released in May 2024 and is published by Bloomsbury Publishing. The author is Jon Grinspan. Grinspan is the Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

Press Release                                                                                          Provided By Bloomsbury Publishing

At the start of the 1860 presidential campaign, a handful of fired-up young Northerners appeared as bodyguards to defend anti-slavery stump speakers from frequent attacks. The group called themselves the Wide Awakes. Soon, hundreds of thousands of young white and Black men, and a number of women, were organizing boisterous, uniformed, torch-bearing brigades of their own. These Wide Awakes-mostly working-class Americans in their twenties-became one of the largest, most spectacular, and most influential political movements in our history. To some, it demonstrated the power of a rising majority to push back against slavery. To others, it looked like a paramilitary force training to invade the South. Within a year, the nation would be at war with itself, and many on both sides would point to the Wide Awakes as the mechanism that got them there.

In this gripping narrative, Smithsonian historian Jon Grinspan examines how exactly our nation crossed the threshold from a political campaign into a war. Perfect for readers of Lincoln on the Verge and The Field of Blood, Wide Awake bears witness to the power of protest, the fight for majority rule, and the defense of free speech. At its core, Wide Awake illuminates a question American democracy keeps posing, about the precarious relationship between violent rhetoric and violent actions.

 

The press release for Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War shows this should be one of the most anticipated Abraham Lincoln related books of 2024. I hope to be reading this and subsequently posting a review. In the meantime, be sure to click the image or link above to order your own copy.

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Abraham Lincoln Proclamations for Thanksgiving Day

Portrait photo of Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln Proclamations for Thanksgiving Day

Abraham Lincoln issued proclamations for Thanksgiving Day in both 1863 and 1864. He called for this as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Lord to occur on the last Thursday in November.”

Proclamation—Thanksgiving Day, 1863

Sarah Josepha Hale Image courtesy Library of Congress
Sarah Josepha Hale Image courtesy Library of Congress

On October 3, 1863, at the urging of Sarah Josepha Hale, President Abraham Lincoln issue the proclamation below calling for a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

Please read the full 1863 proclamation below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving--Courtesy Gilder Lehman
1863 Proclamation of Thanksgiving–Courtesy Gilder Lehman

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plow, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

Thanksgiving 1861 drawing by Alfred R. Waud--Image courtesy Library of Congress President Abraham Lincoln issued a Proclamation calling for a day of Thanksgiving in both 1863 and 1864.
Thanksgiving 1861 drawing by Alfred R. Waud–Image courtesy Library of Congress

 

 

 

Interior of Ford's Theatre, Washington D.C. Click for information on a tour of Lincoln Assassination sites.
Take a guided tour of Abraham Lincoln Assassination related sites. CLICK HERE or the image above for more details and to purchase tickets.

 

Proclamation 118—Thanksgiving Day, 1864

On October 20, 1864, President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation that the last Thursday of November would be set aside “as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

This 1864 proclamation follows the similar, October 3, 1863, document above that is believed to have been penned by William H. Seward.

Please read the full 1864 proclamation below.

By the President of the United States.
A Proclamation.

It has pleased Almighty God to prolong our national life another year, defending us with His guardian care against unfriendly designs from abroad and vouchsafing to us in His mercy many and signal victories over the enemy, who is of our own household. It has also pleased our Heavenly Father to favor as well our citizens in their homes as our soldiers in their camps and our sailors on the rivers and seas with unusual health. He has largely augmented our free population by emancipation and by immigration, while He has opened to us new sources of wealth and has crowned the labor of our workingmen in every department of industry with abundant rewards. Moreover, He has been pleased to animate and inspire our minds and hearts with fortitude, courage, and resolution sufficient for the great trial of civil war into which we have been brought by our adherence as a nation to the cause of freedom and humanity, and to afford to us reasonable hopes of an ultimate and happy deliverance from all our dangers and afflictions:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States, do hereby appoint and set apart the last Thursday in November next as a day which I desire to be observed by all my fellow-citizens, wherever they may then be, as a day of thanksgiving and praise to Almighty God, the beneficent Creator and Ruler of the Universe. And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.

In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 20th day of October, A.D. 1864, and of the Independence of the United States the eighty-ninth.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN
By the President:

William H. Seward
Secretary of State

 

eCampus.com

 

Portrait photo of Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln issued Proclamations calling for a day of Thanksgiving in 1863 and 1864.Sources

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 6. Pages 496-497.

Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, Volume 8. Pages 55-56.

Are you interested in learning more about United States presidents and where they are buried? You can visit these amazing sites. CLICK HERE to read my blog posts on the final resting sites of United States Presidents.

 

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This post may contain affiliate links including Amazon links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

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Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address November 19, 1863

Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg
Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg
Photo is a reprint of a small detail of a photo showing the crowd gathered for the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Penn., where President Abraham Lincoln gave his now famous speech, the Gettysburg Address. Lincoln is visible facing the crowd, not wearing a hat, about an inch below the third flag from the left. Josephine Cobb first found Lincoln’s face while working with a glass plate negative at the National Archives in 1952. (Source: NARA, Rare Photo of Lincoln at Gettysburg, http://blogs.archives.gov/prologue/?p=2564)

In a speech of just over 250 words, and only two minutes long, President Abraham Lincoln provided a “few appropriate remarks” summarizing the national situation and reminding those in attendance that the work started must be completed. Union forces must continue to fight in order to preserve the nation.

While Lincoln was in Gettysburg, he stayed at the David Wills House, located in downtown Gettysburg at Lincoln Square. The house is operated by the National Park Service and admission is free. It is recommended to check the website before visiting as hours do change throughout the year. Here, you can visit the room where President Lincoln put the final touches on what might be his most famous speech.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The text below is quoted from the Bliss Copy of the address as provided by the National Park Service. To learn about the five differing versions of the Gettysburg Address please visit Abraham Lincoln Online.

Gettysburg Address

Delivered at Gettysburg, PA

Nov. 19th 1863

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow –this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Lincoln’s speech, which is often quoted, has been analyzed and interpreted since it was given. There are several worthwhile books on the subject of the address and the creation of the Gettysburg National Cemetery. Below are several I recommend.


The Emerging Civil War Series is highly respected for the continual high level of scholarship these books include. Dr. Brad Gottfried is a respected academic who has served as a professor, college president, and author. His book Lincoln Comes to Gettysburg is a perfect introduction to the topic. At less than 200 pages and around $15 this is an amazing value for anybody interested in the Civil War, Gettysburg in particular, or Abraham Lincoln.

 

 

 

Perhaps the standard work on the topic is that of Gary Wills and his masterful Lincoln at Gettysburg.

By examining both the address and Lincoln in their historical moment and cultural frame, Wills breathes new life into words we thought we knew, and reveals much about a president so mythologized but often misunderstood. Wills shows how Lincoln came to change the world and to effect an intellectual revolution, how his words had to and did complete the work of the guns, and how Lincoln wove a spell that has not yet been broken.

 

 

For those a bit more advanced in your studies, I recommend seeking out The Gettysburg Gospel by Gabor Boritt.

The words Abraham Lincoln spoke at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg comprise perhaps the most famous speech in history. Many books have been written about the Gettysburg Address and yet, as Lincoln scholar Gabor Boritt shows, there is much that we don’t know about the speech. In The Gettysburg Gospel he tears away a century of myths, lies, and legends to give us a clear understanding of the greatest American’s greatest speech.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

 

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Book Review: Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C.

Lincoln's Wartime Tours

Schildt, John W. Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2020. ISBN 9781467145718, 172 pages, 153 pages of text, index, bibliography, notes, b/w photos, $21.99.

Lincoln's Wartime Tours
Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C.

Has there ever been a more written about person that Abraham Lincoln? Ford’s Theatre houses a 34 foot book tower to the Great Emancipator, while estimating the number of titles published is more than 15,000. Moreover, every year more titles are released not even taking into account journal, magazine, and newspaper articles. Authors and publishers continue to find aspects of Lincoln’s life that have not been directly addressed, new interpretations are provided, and in some cases authors just rehash other secondary materials. The historiography is mind boggling.

Adding to the literature is John Schildt, a certified battlefield guide at Antietam National Battlefield, who has penned a new book discussing the travels made by Lincoln while he served as president. In total, Schildt covers nineteen wartime trips Lincoln made outside of Washington D.C. These trips became less frequent as the war dragged on; beginning with nine in 1862, five in 1863, four in 1864, and a single trip in 1865. (page 18) As would be expected these sojourns were made close to Washington D.C.; visiting Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The author proposes that these trips were made for three specific reasons. The first was to confer with generals, second to plot military strategy, and a third reason was to visit troops in the field. (pages 16- 17). The president seemed genuinely concerned for the combatants whether they be Union or Confederate. An example being provided in a lengthy quote from the Donald C. Pfanz work Lincoln at City Point, where the president is seen moving through the tents of injured men, shaking hands, offering encouragement, sharing a tear, and telling them they had to live. When it came to Confederates, Lincoln was known to visit those who were confined to hospitals. Lincoln is shown to be a truly benevolent leader. (pages 141-145)

A continuing thread about family, in particular Mary Lincoln, runs throughout the work. Mary is often seen as difficult, jealous, and perhaps another reason for Lincoln to have tried to escape D.C. for these short periods. Tad is shown to be a boy, doing boy things, and having boyish reactions. During the 1865 trip to Virginia, the presidential entourage came across three pound bales of tobacco that some of the adults took for their own use. Tad joined in and grabbed some as well despite being too young to smoke. (pages 126-127)

Some of the visits are better known than others. The trip to Gettysburg is well documented and Lincoln’s “few appropriate remarks” is perhaps the most widely known speech of all time. Other tours are less well known and herein lies the value of the book. For those seeking a concise and easy to digest book outlining a unique aspect of Lincoln’s life this is recommended. The endnotes, more than 200 of them, are helpful for those looking for further documentation.

Thank you to Arcadia Publishing for providing a complimentary review copy of this book.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you click these links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. This commission does not affect any price that you pay. All views and opinions provided are my own and are never influenced by affiliate programs or sponsors providing products.

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Library Addition: Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C.

Schildt, John W. Lincoln’s Wartime Tours from Washington D.C. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing. 2020. 172 pages, b/w photos, index, bibliography, notes. ISBN 9781467145718, $21.99.

Abraham Lincoln spent much of his presidency traveling. His visits to Antietam to issue the Emancipation Proclamation and to Pennsylvania for the famed Gettysburg Address are well remembered. During the course of the war, Lincoln also traveled to West Point and Harpers Ferry. As hostilities drew to a close, he spent time on the Virginia battlefields, from Petersburg to Richmond and beyond. In this new edition of Lincoln’s Wartime Travels, John W. Schildt details visits to wounded soldiers both Union and Confederate, conferences with generals and the logistics of getting a wartime president from place to place.

John W. Schildt grew up in Walkersville, Maryland, and is a graduate of Shepherd University and Wesley Theological Seminary. He has been a pastor, teacher and chaplain of the Twenty-Ninth Division Association. He is a founding member of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine in Frederick, Maryland, as well as the Save Historic Antietam Foundation. Among his many books are Drums Along the Antietam, Roads to Gettysburg, These Honored Dead and others. As a certified guide at Antietam, he has led tours of individuals, colleges, military groups and others for fifty years. Buy Book

Disclaimer: Arcadia Publishing has generously provided a complimentary copy of this book for me to review. Any comments or opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher. Links provided in this post may be affiliate links and any purchase made through them may earn me a small commission which does not influence the price you pay.