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Lincoln’s 1861 State of the Union Message
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[ABRAHAM LINCOLN]. Book. Message of the President of the United States to the Two Houses of Congress..., Volume 1, Washington: Government Printing Office, 1861. 839 pp., 5¾ x 8¾ in.

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“A disloyal portion of the American people have during the whole year been engaged in an attempt to divide and destroy the Union. A nation which endures factious domestic division is exposed to disrespect abroad, and one party, if not both, is sure sooner or later to invoke foreign intervention.

            Nations thus tempted to interfere are not always able to resist the counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous ambition, although measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate and injurious to those adopting them.

            The disloyal citizens of the United States who have offered the ruin of our country in return for the aid and comfort which they have invoked abroad have received less patronage and encouragement than they probably expected....

            It continues to develop that the insurrection is largely, if not exclusively, a war upon the first principle of popular government--the rights of the people. Conclusive evidence of this is found in the most grave and maturely considered public documents, as well as in the general tone of the insurgents. In those documents we find the abridgment of the existing right of suffrage and the denial to the people of all right to participate in the selection of public officers except the legislative boldly advocated, with labored arguments to prove that large control of the people in government is the source of all political evil. Monarchy itself is sometimes hinted at as a possible refuge from the power of the people.

            In my present position I could scarcely be justified were I to omit raising a warning voice against this approach of returning despotism.”

Historical Background

President Lincoln’s first message to Congress, in 1861, immediately follows the title page. In the first year of both his presidency and the Civil War, Lincoln criticizes disloyal citizens who are trying to ruin the country.  He acknowledges that the Confederates firing on Fort Sumter ended hope of a peaceful solution, and expresses his confidence in General McClellan. Lincoln also expounds on the foreign affairs, the relationship of labor to capital, and reports on domestic commerce and other affairs. The remainder of the book is over 400 pages of papers relating to foreign affairs and correspondence with other nations and diplomats. The second half of  the book is made up of the Reports of the Secretaries of the Interior, War, Navy, and Postmaster General.


Good. Original cloth boards with U.S. seal and titled spine, some slight chipping and wear to boards and spine, binding a little loose and front endpaper almost detached, hinges a bit weak, but still firm, some aging, but generally clean internally.