Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship

Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass: The Story Behind an American Friendship

Russell Freedman

Language: English

Pages: 128

ISBN: 0547385625

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


From the author of Lincoln: A Photobiography, comes a clear-sighted, carefully researched account of two surprisingly parallel lives and how they intersected at a critical moment in U.S. history. Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass were both self-taught, both great readers and believers in the importance of literacy, both men born poor who by their own efforts reached positions of power and prominence—Lincoln as president of the United States and Douglass as the most famous and influential African American of his time. Though their meetings were few and brief, their exchange of ideas helped to end the Civil War, reunite the nation, and abolish slavery. Includes bibliography, source notes, and index.

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he possibly could each day. He said he enjoyed his “public opinion baths” and found them a useful way to find out what people were thinking. When first elected, he had refused to limit his visiting hours. “They do not want much,” he said of the throngs of citizens waiting to see him one day, “and they get very little.... I know how I would feel in their place.” But the crowds became unmanageable. People showed up before breakfast and were still waiting to see him late at night. At times, even

inaugural reception at the White House—a building completed with slave labor just a half century earlier. “Though no colored persons had ever ventured to present themselves on such occasions,” Douglass wrote, “it seemed, now that freedom had become the law of the republic, and colored men were on the battlefield, mingling their blood with that of white men in one common effort to save the country, that it was not too great an assumption for a colored man to offer his congratulations to the

greatest mission was to accomplish two things: first, to save the country from dismemberment and ruin; and, second, to free his country from the great crime of slavery. To do one or the other, or both,” Douglass said, Lincoln needed “the earnest sympathy and the powerful cooperation of his fellow countrymen.” Douglass in his library at Cedar Hill. In the 1870s, Douglass moved with his family to Washington, D.C., where he edited a newspaper, held a succession of federal appointments, and

most... important!": Stauffer, p. 91 “spare no pains ... South”: Stauffer, p. 91 [>] “All rights for all”: Stauffer, p. 134 “Justice ... be silent”: McFeely, pp. 146–47 4: Nothing but Plenty of Friends [>] “the panther’s ... fear”: Donald, p. 23 [>] “did not ... one year”: Donald, p. 29 “It didn’t ... like that”: Sandburg, p. 13 [>] “He can sink ... ever saw”: Sandburg, p. 14 [>] “The horrid ... yet”: Stauffer, p. 57 “a friendless ... father”: Oates, p. 17 [>] “he pursued ...

in the South. He vowed to “spare no pains or expense in order to regain possession of him [Frederick]” and “place him in the cotton fields of the South.” Frederick’s friends urged him to sail to Great Britain, as other fugitive slaves had done. There he would be safe from arrest and could support himself by lecturing. Three months after his Narrative was published, Douglass fled to the British Isles, which had abolished slavery. Greeted as a celebrity, he spent almost two years lecturing to

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