Washington and Lincoln
For Presidents' Day we've gathered several past Atlantic Monthly articles
about Washington and Lincoln -- two Presidents whose dignity,
integrity, and statesmanship have become legendary. Legends aren't always
true of course, but in today's pervasively cynical, anti-government
atmosphere, Presidents' Day helps to remind us of the contributions and
dedication of Presidents past and present. We hope that in this election
year such a focus on character will inspire all Americans -- including
those with political aspirations.
- "Washington's Hardest Decision" (October, 1952) by Douglass Freeman,
describes the reluctance with which Washington gave up his post-revolution
retreat from public affairs to be the first to assume the office of
- In "Washington's Great Campaign of 1776" (January, 1889) John Fiske
gives a detailed description of military maneuvering, on both sides,
leading up to Washington's defeat of the British at the Battle of Trenton.
- Paul Leicester Ford points out in "Dr. Rush and General Washington"
(May, 1895) that sacrosanct though his reputation may now be, in his own
day Washington was not without his detractors. The main body of the
article is composed of excerpts from the letters of Dr. Benjamin Rush, a
doctor in the Continental army who addressed scathing criticims of
Washington's management of the Continental army to his friend John Adams
in the Continental Congress.
- Arthur Morgan's "New Light on Lincoln's Boyhood" (February, 1920) is
the product of interviews conducted by the author with descendants of some
of Lincoln's friends and relatives. He unearths some amusing tales about
Lincoln's boyhood escapades and character traits.
- In "Recollections of Lincoln" (February, 1904) newspaper reporter Henry
Villard, who on several occasions was assigned to report on political
events in which Lincoln participated, recounts his experiences with and
impressions of the former President.
- And finally, John Vance Cheney's "Lincoln" (February, 1909) is a poem
written in Lincoln's honor. The poem ranks Lincoln with such leaders as
Caesar, Alexander, and Charlemagne, but suggests that Lincoln was more
humble and human -- a hero for the common person.
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Copyright © 1997 by The Atlantic Monthly Company. All rights