Lincoln at Cooper Union explores Lincoln's most influential and widely reported pre-presidential address -- an extraordinary appeal by the western politician to the eastern elite that propelled him toward the Republican nomination for president. Delivered in New York in February 1860, the Cooper Union speech dispelled doubts about Lincoln's suitability for the presidency and reassured conservatives of his moderation while reaffirming his opposition to slavery to Republican progressives.
Award-winning Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer places Lincoln and his speech in the context of the times -- an era of racism, politicized journalism, and public oratory as entertainment -- and shows how the candidate framed the speech as an opportunity to continue his famous "debates" with his archrival Democrat Stephen A. Douglas on the question of slavery.
Holzer describes the enormous risk Lincoln took by appearing in New York, where he exposed himself to the country's most critical audience and took on Republican Senator William Henry Seward of New York, the front runner, in his own backyard. Then he recounts a brilliant and innovative public relations campaign, as Lincoln took the speech "on the road" in his successful quest for the presidency.
Harold Holzer, a leading authority on Lincoln and the Civil War, is Chairman of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and a Roger Hertog Fellow at the New York Historical Society. Widely honored for his work, Holzer earned a second-place Lincoln Prize for Lincoln at Cooper Union in 2005 and in 2008 was awarded the National Humanities Medal. Holzer is Senior Vice President of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and lives in Rye, New York.
"This book is a must for anyone fascinated by Abraham Lincoln." -- Civil War Times
"Lincoln at Cooper Union is the most interesting and important book on the sixteenth president published in years. Its richly detailed account of Lincoln's visit to New York in 1860 is as absorbing as any novel, and its close analysis of Lincoln's Cooper Union address adds significantly to our understanding of his political philosophy. I recommend it enthusiastically." -- David Herbert Donald, author of Lincoln
"It required someone with Harold Holzer's combination of knowledge, experience and talent to capture the speech's unique complexity and profundity. . . . All of this is brought to readers with meticulous historic precision, fascinating insight and charmingly facile prose." -- Mario Cuomo