Summary of Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction

Lincoln — A Very Short Introduction

When Americans — including many students — hear the name Abraham Lincoln, the first things that come to mind is his effort to free the slaves, his Gettysburg Address, his Emancipation Proclamation, and the untimely assassination of Lincoln. But there are sources of worthy and even fascinating background biographical information available about the 16th president of the United States, and one of the best contemporary sources is the book by noted historian Allen C. Guelzo, Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction. The book is not organized in a logical, time-line format; instead the chapter titles clearly show that the book is written about Lincoln’s ideas that shaped his approach to leadership and government: Equality, Advancement, Law, Liberty, Debate, Emancipation, and Reunion. This paper summarizes and reviews the book, which is well-written prose, highly appropriate for young readers.

Summary of Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction

After reading the beginning of Guelzo’s book — in which he claimed that no man ” … could have loved fame more than Abraham Lincoln” — one can only imagine how prolific Lincoln’s use of the 24-hour cable news cycle and social media would be if he were president in 2016. And Guelzo carries the notion of Lincoln’s fame further, quoting the president after he issued the Emancipation Proclamation: “The name which is connected with this act will never be forgotten.” Lincoln was absolutely correct in saying that, but there is much more to know about the man, and Guelzo, notwithstanding his title that suggests this is a “very short” book, has provided 160 pages packed with new and worthy information.

The author bemoans the fact that Lincoln never kept a journal, nor did he write any kind of a memoir (he died too soon to pen a biography), even though in his era many leaders were “compulsive” in their “diary-keeping.” Guelzo notes that author Roy P. Basler published eight volumes (called Collected Works) referencing Lincoln’s life in 1953, but those pages contain “day-to-day ephemera” and readers glean little as to what actually shaped Lincoln’s “thinking and values.” All the information Guelzo has gathered indicates Lincoln was generally secretive, difficult to approach and hard to understand — albeit the president loved to read aloud to staffers from joke books — but on the other hand Lincoln was in “heaven” talking about politics and liberalism.

Meanwhile, the background into Lincoln’s family is well represented by Guelzo. Lincoln’s ancestors arrived in the New World in the 1630s and by the late 18th century Thomas Lincoln, son of the elder Abraham and thought of as a “lazy and worthless” cabinet maker in Indiana by neighbors, had a son named Abraham, born on February 12, 1809.

In Chapter 1 (Equality) Guelzo offers a picture of Lincoln as a good politician but one whose use of the English language needed an upgrade. Guelzo recalls that Lincoln (approaching his second run to win a seat in the Illinois House of Representatives in 1834) turned his attention to reading political biographies and newspapers. And his advisor at that time, William Mentor Graham, suggested that he would “never be able to induce people to vote for him” if he couldn’t master the rules of grammar to make impressive speeches.”

Meanwhile, in Chapter 4 (Liberty), readers delve into Lincoln’s views on slavery well before his presidency. Guelzo finds it worth noting that although Lincoln never joined a church or signed on with any denomination, he was a product of the Enlightenment with its faith in progress, human reason and liberalism. Hence, though he had not shown an interest in slavery during the first 45 years of his life, as he approached his later life Lincoln insisted that “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel.”

Lincoln ultimately came to the belief that vis-a-vis slavery issue, Americans were “proclaiming ourselves political hypocrites before the world, by thus fostering Human Slavery and proclaiming ourselves, at the same time, the sole friends of Human Freedom.” Lincoln showed his literary side when he used the ant as a metaphor: “The ant, who has toiled and dragged a crumb to his nest, will furiously defend the fruit of his labor” against any robber that would assail him. Likewise, the “most dumb and stupid slave” that was ever in bondage in America, ” … does constantly know that he is wronged.”

In his Epilogue, the author summarizes the salient moments and the actual nature of Lincoln’s achievements; clearly what Guelzo puts forth is what today’s reader should understand about Lincoln the man and Lincoln the president. For example, why is Lincoln considered “The great American Man and the grand central figure in American history,” as John Locke Scripps wrote after the assassination took Lincoln’s life? First of all, Guelzo believes Lincoln is the great American man because he “saved the American Union”; moreover, he is seen as great because he made certain than in the next one hundred years, the “concentrated power of that unity” would be able to “intervene in worldwide crises” and build an economic giant that would be “unmatched by any other great nation.”

Lincoln, who admitted he was “a hired laborer” at one time before he rose to national prominence, said in 1860 that the “humblest man” should have a “chance to get rich with everybody else.” Guelzo points out that for Lincoln, the greatest “danger to democracy” was not some kind of “insurrection of discontented laborers”; but rather (these are Guelzo’s words) it might be “the sly maneuverings of a pig-eyed aristocracy” that could create a “dark alliance” with working class people. That might include whipping up “racial fear to bind poor Southern whites to its cause,” Guelzo wrote, which certainly sounds like what happened in the South during the dark Jim Crow period.

Another of Lincoln’s great achievements was the way he was able to link “political and moral considerations in a liberal democracy,” Guelzo asserted. The president knew that a liberal democracy was “not an end in itself,” and he knew evil must be confronted, and though to some evil may seem reasonable, evil manufactures “like a squid’s cloud of ink.”

In conclusion, this is a book that offers readers a deeper understanding of how Lincoln thought, from an iconic author and professor of American history who clearly admired this great man, and has a unique perspective on Lincoln’s leadership.

Works Cited

Guelzo, Allen C. Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford, UK: Oxford University

Press, 2009.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment  Help Service Works

1.      Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2.      Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3.      Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4.      Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essaysmile and order essay PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH US TODAY AND GET A PERFECT SCORE!!!

order custom essay paper