Friday, December 25, 2020

Marshall Field and Company; Social Role Marketing and Racism, Beginning in 1892.

In January 1881, Marshall Field I (1834–1906), with his junior partners, bought out Levi Z. Leiter, renaming the business located at State and Washington Streets in Chicago, "Marshall Field & Company."

Marshall Field and Company was a cultural and commercial anchor in Chicago's downtown area known as 'The Loop.' By 1914, it had expanded into the largest department store in the world at that time. Marshall Fields was one of the few major department stores in the United States that was not founded by Jewish people.
1839 Illustration of the corner of State and Washington Streets, looking northeast. The future site of Marshall Field's flagship store.


Using merchandising strategies adapted from the aesthetic movement, Field's produced the drama of shopping with social and cultural implications about class, gender, and race in three ways: First, the store's architecture served as a carefully designed theatrical space for seeing being seen shopping. The departmentalization and arrangement of merchandise by the degree of expense and luxury differentiated and sorted Field's clientele according to their social status and what they could afford to buy. Elite shoppers who purchased luxuries did so under the gaze of other shoppers, who watched from across the aisle. Second, Field's merchandising and marketing followed trends of the new profession of domestic science. It served as the script for the drama of shopping, through which customers negotiated the cultural hierarchy of artistry and new technology. Third, merchandising resembled the subculture of the aesthetic movement, but without its controversial gender roles, while it privileged predominant Anglo-American culture and rendered other social groups, including people of color, invisible.

In the two decades before World War I, most Americans' knowledge about art and style came from three places where artifacts were displayed: museums, world's fairs, and department stores. In Chicago, commercial magnets and city officials in the Chicago Commercial Club (CCC) built commercial and cultural institutions like banks, museums, libraries, theaters, and concert halls, located in the downtown district. The museums, department stores, and even the streets were places where mostly elite and middle-class individuals came to browse and learn by looking at displays of artifacts and at each other, creating the drama of seeing and being seen. The department store Marshall Field and Company (Field's) was unique. It was marketed to all classes, creating a complicated drama of wishing, envy, and desire among mostly women shoppers from the upper, middle, and working classes. Shoppers seeking self-improvement watched other shoppers purchase luxuries that, perhaps, they could not afford. Thus, the drama of shopping in The Loop is characterized as a vast “promenade of huge glass windows in which mannequins stood as mistresses of taste to teach people how to embody their secret longings for status in things of great price.” Such “secret longings” were part of every shopper's experience, for desire and envy were present, whether shoppers purchased what they saw or not.

It's important to point out patterns of social exclusion, which varied depending on the institution. The social climate of museums and schools differed from that of department stores: working-class individuals were not expected to associate themselves with the fine arts and were unwelcome in museums and galleries. Since they were places where the wealthy cultivated their tastes and since they were dominated by the wealth of benefactors from these same groups, art museums and galleries were usually socially exclusive. Even in Chicago's public high schools, art education was segregated by social fences for the working classes. In a system supported by the CCC, in which Marshall Field was a member, school administrators tracked high school students into vocational strains of art education called manual training. In contrast, they tracked privileged high school students to professional and college prep programs where they studied fine arts. Though art educators like Henry Turner Bailey (1914) promoted fine arts as a source of social uplift for all students, Chicago's school administrators followed technocratic strains of Social Darwinism and scientific management, claiming that most working-class students could become good technicians, but did not have the potential for academic study or gaining social refinement from the fine arts and fenced them into vocational programs.

However, things were different in the spheres of the department store and the rest of popular culture. Working-class individuals, especially those from Europe, knew the value of the fine arts from their lives in Europe. Though the fine arts would have been mostly out of their reach in Europe, in coming to the United States, they held new self-improvement aspirations and sought out the art forms they wanted in popular culture. Working-class individuals tended to frequent Dime Museums operated by such impresarios as P.T. Barnum and Sylvester Poli. The division between fine arts (high art) and plebian visual, musical, and dramatic forms was unclear, and theaters programmed entertainment for mixed-class audiences, from working-class on up. Entertainment included freak shows and wax sculpture exhibits to lantern slide shows of art at the Vatican, which played on working-class religious and political sentiments. Harry Houdini performed so many times at dime museums that he earned the nickname "Dime Museum Harry.


Social and economic fences in these establishments were set according to the locations of expensive and cheap seats. Marshall Field also put out a variety of merchandise, from the most expensive luxuries to the most common items, sorted into departments according to the degree of expense and luxury they represented, separated by aisles that served as invisible fences. Their customers were informed middle and working-class individuals, who read newspapers and advice manuals to familiarize themselves with American culture and educate themselves in everything from the English language to artistic sensibilities on decorating deportment, and etiquette. These texts were usually saturated with the term ‘artistic’ (as in making an artistic parlor), all of which they could see at Field's. Thus, the same savvy consumers who knew where to find the classical and folk entertainment they saw in vaudeville (and which section they could afford in the theatre) also knew that Field's was a place to see elite culture and the latest technology. Shopping at Field's was as much learning from window shopping as it was buying merchandise, as shoppers learned from their gaze across the aisle.

Field’s was a cultural and educational institution of artistry and popular education through the drama of shopping. Using merchandising strategies adapted from the aesthetic movement, Field's produced the drama of shopping with social and cultural implications about class, gender, and race in three ways: First, the architecture of the store served as a carefully designed and segregated theatrical space for seeing and being seen in the drama of shopping. The departmentalization and arrangement of merchandise by the degree of expense and luxury differentiated and sorted Field's clientele according to their social status and what they could afford to buy. Elite shoppers who purchased luxuries did so under the gaze of other shoppers, who watched from across the aisle. Second, Field's merchandising and marketing followed trends of the new profession of domestic science. It served as the script for the drama of shopping, through which customers negotiated the cultural hierarchy of artistry and new technology. Third, merchandising resembled the subculture of the aesthetic movement, but without its controversial gender roles, while it privileged predominant Anglo-American culture and rendered other social groups, including people of color, invisible. Today, American department store retail's social and cultural traditions that began in the gilded age remain present as new forms of retail marketing. In turn, the gendered cultural fences that divide retail patrons remain today, though with different names and locations.

Modes of Popular Education and the Subculture of the Aesthetic Movement
To understand the educational approach of department stores is also to understand the social consequences and contradictions within them. This section reviews research on popular education and the aesthetic movement in the United States, thereby placing the department store in an educational context with schooling and museums. The trope of “the drama of shopping” pulls together the entities of a department store as a mode of education. Shoppers acted out shopping rituals and examples of what they could learn from the material culture of retail merchandising.

Historians of the broader field of education have defined education as the transmission of “culture across generations.” In the early 20th century, education in the United States extended beyond schooling across a configuration of museums, libraries, the mass media, and popular culture. We know that drawing, book arts, and various crafts were taught in the elementary grades in Chicago Public Schools. As mentioned earlier, in Chicago's public high schools before World War I, students were tracked to either vocational or professional or college-prep programs, fencing out many from learning cultural knowledge that, they believed, would lead to social advancement.

Behind all the palatial architecture of Field's store was a social scientific framework that pervaded education and most human services in the entire city, a system of scientific management that sorted individuals from disparate ethnic and racial groups into social classes. Class divisions, however, were troubling because the differentiation broke along gender, ethnic, and racial lines and created systems of social closure by monopoly and exclusion. Considerations of gender, ethnicity, and race expose the creation of social inequality.

First, predominant gender roles among elite and middle-class White Chicagoans placed women at home or, following the example of leading community women, in charity work. In contrast, predominant roles for men came from scientific professionalism in business and commerce. Many working-class individuals would aspire to these roles as forms of self-improvement. This article will show that department-store customers who did not fit these predominant gender roles were marginalized or fenced out.

Second, European immigrants at the turn of the century were mostly working-class, who struggled to advance socially without a working knowledge of the predominant Anglo-American culture. For these individuals, Fields provided these opportunities as forms of popular domestic education, enabling working-class immigrants to negotiate the invisible social fences that segregated the store space.

Third, race turns up particularly troubling issues, however, simply because Negroes were marginalized or even rendered invisible at Field's, and few if any Negroes were likely to shop or be employed there. Before 1900, 90% of Negroes lived in the Southern United States. Because of worsening social and political conditions for Southern Negroes and word of economic opportunities and jobs in the North, a movement to Northern cities called the Great Migration expanded the Negro populations in Northern cities. In addition, employers needed to hire Negroes, as World War I and immigration restrictions disrupted their supply of European immigrant laborers. Though the North offered better conditions and pay than the South, Negroes still faced a groundswell of racist resistance as their presence increased. Very few Negroes ever worked in retail. In fact, only .03% of Negro males and .02% of Negro females in the entire nation had sales jobs, compared to 4.2 White males and 4.1 females. Laws in the South prohibited Negroes from trying on clothes in a department store, let alone allowing them to sell clothing to white customers. Amid these conditions, the democratic gospel of shopping-for-all at Field's fenced out people of color. 

Promoting department store shopping as popular education in artistry might seem odd to 21st-century ears. Still, from the late 19th century into the early 20th century, merchants like Marshall Field packaged the latest household wares and artistry as a culture of conveniences and daring fashion to heighten shoppers' desires. The educational aim for the department store shopper was to negotiate her personal tastes toward self-improvement and social advancement. Shoppers purchased new appliances, gadgets, and furniture; attended an art exhibit, a concert, or read a fashionable magazine in the store's elegant library. These activities were meant to associate the retail business with a sensibility of cultural sophistication to attract patrons. There were also contradictions, however: the so-called artistry that merchants promoted was made to resemble the subculture of the aesthetic movement, while it was actually the direct opposite, reduced to the amusement in the drama of shopping.

Until the 1890s, the subculture of the aesthetic movement was as much about freeing individuals from the fenced-in spaces of puritanical Anglo-American cultural and social conventions as it was meant to elevate beauty in everyday life. Aestheticism, originating in England in the 1850s and 1860s, was a reaction to urbanization and industrialization. The aesthetic movement was influenced by John Ruskin, William Morris, and Henry Cole. In 1876, when exhibits of handicrafts from the movement were shown at Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition, aestheticism caught on in the United States as the 'aesthetic movement,' or the “new American art craze.” Many women of the aesthetic movement were as enamored of science as they were of art. Uncorseted, they wore what were called ‘aesthetic dresses’ as an art form adorning their bodies. Their participation in physical fitness was a transgression across the gendered fence into the male sphere of physical fitness, higher education, and the professions. Feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman, for example, tutored girls in drawing, painting, and gymnastics. It is also important to note that the aesthetic movement included men who sought an escape from the male scientific profession predominated American culture after the Civil War. Men practiced their own artistry, ranging from decorating parlors to dressing sometimes in flowing velvet and silk robes, at times with implications of homoeroticism and transvestism. The heterosexual-homosexual binary that exists today was already present among the middle and upper classes in the gilded age, but it did not define working-class thinking. For example, “bisexual referred to individuals who combined the physical and/or psychic attributes of both men and women. A bisexual was not attracted to both males and females; a bisexual was male and female.” Most puritanical minds would have associated these social roles and the aesthetic fashions that went with them with being radical and immoral.

By the 1890s, things changed, and social and gendered fences shifted. The strictly defined social roles of science and professionalism predominated business and commerce, and aesthetic sensibilities were marginalized. Also, department store merchants co-opted the aesthetic subculture as a sanitized ethos and extinguished women's and men's controversial gender roles. They marketed aesthetic dress as high fashion and provided men with plush, parlor-like libraries and club spaces. The cultural agency for the men and women of the subculture was buried under the structure of merchandising as cultural refinement and artistry for women. The homoeroticism of aesthetic dress that some aesthetic men and women practiced was replaced in traditional minds by the clinical designation of “the homosexual” and “the abnormal.” The remnants of the aesthetic subculture “became marginal and suspect by the turn of the 20th century.” Aesthetes were eventually fenced out as isolated Bohemian cult groups in high schools and universities. What was left was beauty as entertainment and aesthetic education and as puritanical and moral uplift promoted as education in the department store.

In 1892, the drama of shopping was part of the grand efforts of the city of Chicago to transform the 'Loop' and the Lake Michigan shore into the fairgrounds for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. In the Loop, the earlier development of State Street as an elite shopping district was underway, with the largest store, Marshall Field and Company, under construction and set to open for the World's Fair. The discussion of Field's as a space designed for education begins with the department store architecture itself, which was the physical embodiment of the conceptual ‘fence’ into which aesthetic culture was contained as a shopping experience. The palatial architecture with classical ornamentation, wood paneling, and casework masked the building designed to support the specialized administrative and technical tasks that supported the production of drama on the sales floor. The mezzanines, wide aisles, mirrors, and several atria provided an elegant space for strolling and shopping. The centerpiece was a central atrium, which featured a mosaic glass dome by Louis Comfort Tiffany. 
The Louis Comfort Tiffany Dome at Marshall Field & Company at Chicago's State Street Store was completed in 1907. Designed by L.C. Tiffany, it's both the first dome built in Favrile iridescent glass and is the largest glass mosaic of its kind. It contains over 1.6 million pieces, each handmade, obtained its "iridescent effect" by mixing different colors of glass while hot. Louis Comfort Tiffany patented "Favrile iridescent glass" in 1894.




The store was designed as a theatrical playground for the self-presentation of shoppers who customarily dressed in their best attire as if they were spending their day in a palace. Late 19th-century buildings such as department stores were organized to accommodate large volumes of business and traffic flow. Social fences were invisible as the store building design directed patrons to the merchandise they could afford while tempting them to roam the vast space of the floor and see more expensive things from afar.

In order to keep shoppers in the store longer, architects designed the buildings to 'teach' shoppers how to navigate the store’s invisible social fences: First, uniform and effective wide aisles and displays brought customers together with services and artifacts. 


Second, wall directories had to be easy to find and served as an index arranged by floor. Even the floorwalkers, guides, clerks, and custodial personnel were fundamental extensions of the communication systems of typewriters, pneumatic tubes, and telephones. Third, mechanisms 'taught' users how to find the departments they wanted by way of automated dynamic information displays like position indicator boards that tracked elevators as they moved from floor to floor. Marshall Field's predecessor, Potter Palmer, saw many of these innovations on his buying trips to Paris, France, and he incorporated those strategies in his own store.

Le Bon Marché Store in Paris, France
The department store building type evolved from earlier mercantile organizations and expositions in 17th and 18th-century Paris. By the 1820s and 1830s, what were once centralized open markets had been reorganized as arcades that housed many shops under one roof, and many producers joined forces to increase production in mills and factories. The department store was a specialized building that promoted convenience, novelty, and bigness, drawing upon a psychological ploy of desire. The first building in Paris to be designed and built as a department store was for Jacques-Aristide Boucicaut’s Le Bon Marché, LTD.

Le Bon Marché ('the Inexpensive' or 'for value'), a department store in Paris, France, was founded in 1838 and revamped almost completely by Aristide Boucicaut in 1852. It was one of the first modern department stores. Under the leadership of architect Louis-Charles Boileau and the engineer Gustave Eiffel the spaces are optimized and magnified, thanks to the alliance of stone, iron, and glass. Le Bon Marché was 568,335 square feet (compared to Marshall Field & Co. State Street Store at 3,229,173 square feet), organized into 74 departments and managers, each responsible for supply and sales.

Jacques-Aristide Boucicaut's Le Bon Marché Interior, 1875.


Boucicaut's building was a departure from earlier ones that were made by remodeling or combining smaller stores. It was the first significant example of architecture designed to be a department store from the ground up. Shopping was a continuation of the European social ritual called 'the promenade.' Shopping had become a social custom where patrons could stop at a department store to observe, relax, use a 'comfort station,' or dine in the store. The store was designed as a theater for the artistic self. The merchant and the architect thought like dramaturges, designing a store building “as a stage set in an elegant theater for the public.” 

Le Bon Marché's double revolution staircase was like the one at the recently opened Paris Opera. It drew patrons to the upper floors and to the iron footbridges that spanned the sales floor. These vantage points elevated shoppers above the crowd in the drama of seeing and being seen.





Origins of Marshall Field and Company
From what Potter Palmer observed in Paris, he knew that for Chicago to boast of a world-class downtown, an elite retail establishment was needed to attract women in great numbers to the area. Such a new store would have to be located away from the current retail area on Lake Street, not regarded as a proper area for a woman of means. Knowing that women shoppers would linger on well-lit and clean streets, Palmer chose a location at State and Washington Streets for the new, marble-faced Palmer's Emporium. This choice anchored State Street as the new downtown shopping area. Despite the dirty conditions at the old location on Lake Street, Palmer's dry goods store, P. Palmer & Company, was known for the largest variety of merchandise in the city, with many items imported from Europe. Service was critical because traditionally, a woman would not be acknowledged in public places and receive service unless she was with a man. However, at Palmer's store, women could enter on their own and expect good service whether they bought anything or simply browsed.

In Chicago's climate of fast-paced growth and commercial development, Palmer's Emporium successively changed management and ownership. Palmer's Emporium was soon taken over by Marshall Field and Levi Leiter, only to be consumed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. While recovering from the fire, Field and Leiter conducted business from several temporary locations. They re-opened the store in a leased building at the Washington and State Street location in 1873. After an expansion, this store was also destroyed by fire. In 1879, the store was rebuilt, and this time, Field and Leiter bought the building that became the first section of the present store. In 1881, Leiter retired from the partnership, and the store was renamed Marshall Field and Company. In 1887, Field expanded his business into wholesale in a notable building designed by Henry Hobson Richardson.
Marshall Field had purchased all the lots on the block bordered by Adams, Fifth (now Wells), Quincy, and Franklin, near the Chicago Board of Trade Building location by May 1881. Marshall Field's Wholesale Store opened on June 20, 1887.


In 1892, the wealth Field had gained from his wholesale venture enabled him to expand his retail business into a new building by Daniel H. Burnham, at the corner of Wabash and Washington Streets. Meanwhile, the store from 1879 was expanded as a nine-story annex to accommodate the crowds from the World's Columbian Exhibition, which opened the following year. In 1901, Field's expanded into a new 12-story building, and a third one was added in 1906. 




A fourth building, added in 1914, extended the area of the store across the entire block, between Washington and Randolph and State and Wabash Streets. Thus, what began as P. Palmer and Company on Lake Street grew into the largest department store in the world. The history of Marshall Field & Company's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd State Street Clocks.
Merchandising as Aesthetic Education in the Drama of Shopping
If the architecture of the department store was the segregated theatrical space for the drama of shopping, the next consideration for this drama was its 'script' of merchandising, and sales strategies are drawn from domestic science (or home economics). Merchandising was treated as if it were dramaturgy to categorize and discuss the various kinds of art forms (merchandise), their interconnectedness, and their styles. Just as the dramaturge researched the historical and cultural aspects of theatrical production, so did merchandisers at Field's promote visual, musical, and literary forms as part of the shoppers’ experiences, sorted according to the degree of luxury. When Field’s began to market to shoppers of all classes, including men, to expand patronage, he took the dramaturgy from domestic science, a new profession and one of the few populated mostly by women. Thus, Marshall Fields became a place where women could see the latest technologies for the home as science-made-for-them in appliances and gadgets.

Domestic science also pervaded public and private life beyond retail institutions. It constituted everything from knowledge of food service in school cafeterias to pre-prepared food for the home. During the 1870s and 1880s, it also became an increasingly important subject matter for journalists writing advice columns for women readers. One of these journalists was an instructor at the Boston Cooking School, Mary Johnson Bailey Lincoln, who co-founded "The New England Kitchen Magazine" in 1894. The magazine was later retitled "American Kitchen Magazine," that Lincoln was the culinary editor and the syndicated columnist of “Day to Day.” Her cookbook, "Mrs. Lincoln's Boston Cook Book: What to Do and Not Do in Cooking," (1884), was the forerunner of the Fannie Farmer's "The Boston Cooking School Cookbook" (1896). On balance, as popular as domestic science was, it was also criticized for assuming that scientific experts knew more about cooking and housework than women who followed their own traditions passed down over generations. Yet, being aware of new scientific trends in popular culture became more important, for some women, at a time when they began to challenge the gendered fences of the male-centered scientific professional realm. It makes perfect sense, then, that Field's would appeal to women as a place to browse and purchase the latest homemaking technologies, as well as clothing and decorative fashions.

In another magazine, "Women's Home Companion," appeared an article by Anna Steese Richardson titled “The Modern Woman's Paradise: Some of the Education and Artistic Advantages that are offered by the Great Department Store of today.” Richardson's work as an editor and syndicated columnist helped shape social and cultural issues for the benefit of women. Her article positioned Field as an artistic and educational agency for all women, no matter how small their purchase. Richardson noted that the department store represented “certain luxuries which the shopper had always craved, and which she may enjoy for a few hours without money and without price.” 

Upon entering the store, shoppers were greeted, and they left their coats and purses in the coat check room. A guide was assigned to the shopper to help her navigate what must have felt like an enormous space. No money was exchanged during the shopping excursion; the guide recorded purchases on a transfer card, and the balance was paid when shopping was done. Once a shopper had found the items on her list, and delivery of purchases was arranged for, she could spend leisure time as if to “give herself up unrestrainedly to the joys of the great store itself,” no matter how much or how little she had purchased.

Richardson's article portrays Field's as a store that welcomed women from all classes, as they wanted it to appear to shoppers. Still, the history of department stores has also shown that sales floors were subdivided into departments that catered to particular clientele with social differentiation in mind. Guides and other sales staff would usher shoppers around the store to find what they wanted, but like good real estate agents, they kept shoppers within their own income zones. Just as in theaters, where more expensive seats went for higher prices and kept those with less spending power away from the wealthy audience members, customers were matched with the merchandise they could buy at Field's. However, they could negotiate invisible social fences and observe more luxurious displays and goods in their gaze across the aisle.

Field's stocked seemingly every kind of merchandise and provided every cultural activity in a space where the desire for new technologies and artistry could be easily transposed to educational purposes. Browsing to find new merchandise was as important an activity for shoppers as purchasing it. They would see a range of merchandise from the most affordable to the most expensive, based on the simple idea that a shopper will not know she wants an item until she has seen it. An important sales strategy, for example, was the demonstration of appliances. An example of this experience is a shopper who cooked at home on a coal stove and would never consider a modern gas range because it had only one burner, limiting her cooking. However, she came across a cooking demonstration in which the presenter used three triangular pans that fit together in a circle over the single burner. Seeing a solution to her doubts, the shopper purchased the gas stove, a piece of new technology for her home. Owning a gas stove in 1911, much like purchasing a microwave oven in the late 20th century, would likely have been a show of wisdom and an educated decision.

Another merchandising strategy was when merchants displayed items as they might appear in a room at home. By arranging furniture, carpet, and decorative artifacts this way, merchants departed from the convention of sorting furniture into rows by type. In this manner, a woman's shopping trip shows how she negotiated her personal taste. A woman travels to Field’s with her mother, who complains that her parlor furniture is overly formal. At Field’s, they find the new craftsman-style furniture set up in a new configuration called a ‘living room.’ The women likely saw the setting advertised as a ‘living room,’ a term that gradually replaced “parlor” by 1910. The mother was having doubts about craftsman furniture, judging by a catalog illustration, but changing her mind when she sees the room display and bought the furniture. The merchandising strategy worked: the shopper knew what she wanted when she saw it and was convinced it would be self-improvement, just as the owner of a new gas stove saw the wisdom of using the new gas stove technology.

Some locations of the store were designed to introduce shoppers to new experiences. It gives opportunities for women with fewer means to experience artistic and cultural education. In the fully-stocked library at Field’s, customers could read the most popular books and magazines. An attendant would bring reading materials to them while they waited in comfortable, easy chairs. For well-heeled shoppers, a library made the store familiar, educational, and fun. For the working or middle-class shopper, these activities might have introduced them to reading materials or even an upholstered chair they had not used before or could not afford. The store's writing rooms and lounges had luxurious mahogany desks where a patron could sit and write notes to friends on fine stationery and mail them. 

Mrs. Sarah Hering, a clerk in the millinery department, shared her personal lunch of her homemade Chicken Pot Pie with a customer to keep them in the store, shopping. Her now-famous pie launched Marshall Field's Food Service on April 15, 1890. Fifteen tables were set up on the third floor, named the South Tearoom, and became Chicago's first full-service dining establishment within a department store. There were eight waitresses and four cooks. In 1893 the South Tearoom was expanded to the entire 4th floor in the oldest section (Washington & Wabash) of the building – just in time for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, which Marshall Field was a major sponsor. The tearoom then served 1,500 people per day. It grew into 
the creation of the "South Grill Room" in 1909, later renamed the "Walnut Tearoom," next named the "Walnut Grill," and finally renamed as the "Walnut Room" in 1937. 

Lunch was reasonably priced in a plush wood-paneled dining room with mirrors and chandeliers, with music in the background that one would expect at a fine hotel. After lunch, a shopper could attend a free concert in the piano department or an art exhibition in the gallery. Given the opportunity to negotiate the store’s social fences and range of merchandise, browsing at Field’s was most likely a working-class shopper's only exposure to a concert or art exhibit in the downtown area. Shopping as education was a chance for patrons to think about their taste, negotiate their place in the cultural hierarchy, and perhaps, purchase something to improve their lives.
The Marshall Field’s South Tearoom on the 4th floor of the oldest part of the store, 1902.


At times, both men and women had to negotiate fences. The marketing was pitched specifically to women, not men who might want to equip a kitchen or decorate a parlor, but advice books about decorating and dress were available to men. One manual written for male followers of the aesthetic movement cautions male readers not to become overly concerned with professional and public duties and to take time to tend to the beauty of their home. Though men probably did not shop in department stores to the extent that women did, they were present in department stores. Earlier in the century, as a way to introduce Parisian men to the store, Le Bon Marché provided a billiard lounge for them to use while their companions shopped. Much later in 1914, Field's six-floor men's store opened, along with separate lounges for men and women, which became important social destinations in the Loop. The lounges were modeled after the tradition of gender-specific rooms and seating used for entertaining guests in most middle and upper-class homes. After dinner, men would retire to a smoking room with easy chairs, while women would use another sitting room with chairs that kept their posture upright. Men would enjoy lounges in public but would not likely decorate a room in their home themselves, for such decoration carried the stigma of a feminized man. Indeed, these public spaces supported the conduct of predominant gender roles associated with the male-dominated scientific professional sphere.

The Roll Architecture Played
Since 1911, Daniel Burnham's architecture was a theatrical space for the drama of shopping. Elements of the department-store building type were expanded and redistributed across larger shopping malls and then the virtual architecture of the Internet in contemporary retail spaces. Even though recently many of the influential department stores, such as Dayton Hudson, Lord and Taylor, and even Marshall Field’s have merged or gone out of business, the concept of the department store is still present as a 'universe' of seemingly every kind of merchandise available. Stores like Wal-Mart exemplify the abundant one-store-for-all. Amazon.com has the same pervasive scope on the Internet and is now (2021) the world's largest e-commerce store. Wal-Mart's new stores carry a reputation of monopolizing retail and extinguishing small businesses, just as Field's was controversial for taking the lion's share of retail trade in the Loop. But not all department stores have died. Dayton Hudson in Minneapolis successfully re-emerged as Target in 2000, which still carries a whimsical cache of novelty and artistry, but at a lower price than one would have paid at Field's. Shopping malls such as the Mall of America include theaters and even hotels located conveniently from the Minneapolis International Airport. Field’s was conveniently near Chicago's hotels and train stations and terminals.

The Drama of Shopping
Field’s was a cultural and retail institution that promoted the drama of shopping as artistry and education with its many layers of social roles. Though Marshall Field's is no longer in business, trends in retail that started during the gilded age at Field's and other leading stores have evolved into new forms of those traditions, though names, places, and signifiers have changed. The architecture of retail, the drama of retail, and the drama of shopping to social and cultural issues and art education have become contemporary phenomena.

The drama of shopping that played out in department store venues in the public spheres of retail, the media, and the street continues to be the backdrops for seeing and being seen today. Stores still advertise new technologies in kitchen appliances. In 1910, a woman purchased a gas range, whereas today, digitally and web-controlled professional ranges, refrigerators, and other appliances are some of the most expensive purchases a homeowner can make to convey a message that the owner not only values cuisine but wants to be an expert. In 1910, new household products and ready-made food became ways of efficient living to survive the fast pace of urban life, just as they are now. Retail spaces continue to be gendered, though marketing now to women and men, selling anything from clothing to shoes and digital devices. Teller and Thompson (2012) have shown that female and male shoppers today value a mix of retail tenants and elaborate shopping atmosphere more than they value other aspects of shopping. Just as a 'universe' of merchandise and atmosphere was essential to the glided-age department store, the same qualities of bigness, variety, and spectacle draw customers to retail spaces today as IKEA Furniture Store exemplifies today.

Social and Cultural Issues
In the gilded age, Field's merchandising resembled the subculture of the aesthetic movement concerning gender roles with considerations of ethnicity and race. Today those fences still stand but are negotiated differently. A cultural tension remains between artistry as cultural refinement in retail and subcultural gender roles, though names, places, and signifiers have changed. In appropriating the aesthetic subculture in the early 20th century, Field created stereotypes of the aesthetic movement by filtering out associations with the controversial gender roles, the social roots of the aesthetic movement.

Some of these gilded-age social undercurrents have also carried into the present day. The subculture of aesthetic women and men countered the social constraints of predominant trends in urbanism and mass industry. The department store sanitized this subculture as beauty, entertainment, and aesthetic education and sold it as puritanical and moral uplift. In the 1970s, this amelioration of gender roles also set relationships between artistic subcultures and retail. A new de facto guild system emerged in New York's Greenwich Village and the Garment District, which became centers of late 20th-century fashion aestheticism. Gloria Vanderbilt and Calvin Klein produced designs for blue jeans that were soon mass-produced in Asia and exported worldwide. The subcultural artists became prominent as their identities evolved into names on a designer label; but this time, the gender roles associated with designer artistry were no longer underground; they were were ‘defenced’ prominently along with the outburst of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) life, which surfaced in New York's Greenwich Village and regions beyond. In time, the sexuality and gender roles of designers, retailers, and entertainers, among other figures, gradually surfaced in the ethos of advertising and marketing in LGBTQ communities in Chicago, New York, and other major cities, which eventually mainstreamed across generations of American culture.

Art Education
Histories of department stores provide perspective for art education because of schooling's long association with retail. Early 20th-century manual training students in Chicago's public high schools indirectly supported retail by supplying a labor force for manufacturing or as workers in stores. High school graduates took jobs in factories making everything from electronics to fashion. In contrast, other privileged graduates from professional or commercial high school programs could look for clerical and sales jobs. Similarly, today's art students move into jobs where they affect design trends and merchandising with digital imagery and other computer-assisted design. These students would benefit from studying merchandising and retail's social and cultural contours to become aware of the popular educational impact they have.

Because of this relationship and many others between art education and retail, researchers and practitioners in art education explore the visual culture. They prepare students for understanding how identities are composed, which also applies to perceptions of seeing and being seen, even in the drama of retail merchandising. As advice manuals, for example, were important sources of artistry and social conduct in the gilded age, today's decorating magazines remain important reading. These publications reveal complicated patterns of gender and serve as sites for art education that is socially and culturally relevant, for students are also consumers. As shoppers did in the early 20th century, today's store patrons continually negotiate the fences of their identities and tastes within the material culture of merchandising. At the same time, they reflect on what their tastes imply about their roles as women or men. Indeed, serious and open-minded attention to the fanciful drama of retail marketing would reveal relationships between retail marketing and shoppers' perceptions that could expand the critical role of art education in research and practice.

Across the cultural landscape, learning is ever-present in department store shopping as popular education in artistry. Through the 20th century, the educational aim of the department store shoppers has been to negotiate their personal tastes toward self-improvement and social advancement. Merchants like Marshall Field understood this desire, and Field's promoted the latest household wares and artistry as a culture of conveniences and daring fashion. Coupling merchandise with fine arts displays would raise the status of merchandise to luxury-as-art and heighten shoppers' desire. In time, Chicago's vocational public high schools would house grass-roots extracurricular activities in the arts and recreation before World War I. Still, the trolley ride to the distant Loop to visit art museums, galleries, and concert halls remained unlikely for the working classes.

Racism at Marshall Field's is still prevalent in the 1950s
In 1952, a complaint was filed against Chicago’s famed Marshall Field & Company for discriminatory hiring practices. Field’s told the city’s Commission on Human Relations that black salespeople could “negatively affect the character, atmosphere and flavor” of the department store. The company stated that skin color was a “legitimate standard of selection and that they would not consider a dark-skinned person to be fully qualified for a position in the store.” The Commission decided to favor the complainant and urged Marshall Field & Company to comply with the mandate. During the 1950s, Field’s brought blacks into its workforce, but the positions were largely limited to telephone sales, warehouse, and clerical staff, out of view of shoppers. By the end of the decade, only one or two black employees worked on the sales floor. By the end of the 1960s, only 9% of Marshall Field’s salesforce was black.

Conclusion
When all is said, shopping is a much more complicated social ritual than simply looking and buying. Shoppers knowing what they wanted when they saw it constituted a densely layered negotiation of social and gendered fences of identity. Fields was where individuals came to browse and learn by looking at displays of artifacts and at each other. Department store customers from the 19th century and today participate in the drama, desire, and envy of shopping while wishfully gazing across the aisle.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Abraham Lincoln Penned Only Three Autobiographies.



The First Autobiography - June 1858
Abraham Lincoln wrote three autobiographies in a two-year period.

This first, terse effort was prepared at the request of Charles Lanman, who was compiling the Dictionary of Congress.
  • Born, February 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky.
  • Education defective.
  • Profession, a lawyer.
  • Have been a captain of volunteers in Black Hawk War.
  • Postmaster at a very small office.
  • Four times a member of the Illinois legislature, and was a member of the lower house of Congress.
The Second Autobiography - December 20, 1859
Lincoln wrote this second autobiography for Jesse Fell, a long-time Illinois Republican friend who was a native of Pennsylvania. Fell used his influence to get the piece incorporated in an article appearing in a Pennsylvania newspaper on February 11, 1860. Lincoln enclosed the autobiography in a letter to Fell which said, "There is not much of it, for the reason, I suppose, that there is not much of me."

I was born Feb. 12, 1809, in Hardin County, Kentucky. My parents were both born in Virginia, of undistinguished families—second families, perhaps I should say. My mother, who died in my tenth year, was of a family of the name of Hanks, some of whom now reside in Adams and others in Macon Counties, Illinois. My paternal grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, emigrated from Rockingham County, Virginia, to Kentucky, about 1781 or 1782, where, a year or two later, he was killed by Indians, not in battle, but by stealth, when he was laboring to open a farm in the forest. His ancestors, who were Quakers, went to Virginia from Berks County, Pennsylvania. An effort to identify them with the New-England family of the same name ended in nothing more definite than a similarity of Christian names in both families, such as Enoch, Levi, Mordecai, Solomon, Abraham, and the like.

My father, at the death of his father, was but six years of age; and he grew up, literally without education. He removed from Kentucky to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in my eighth year. We reached our new home about the time the State came into the Union. It was a wild region, with many bears and other wild animals, still in the woods. There I grew up. There were some schools, so-called; but no qualification was ever required of a teacher beyond "readin, writin, and cipherin" to the Rule of Three. If a straggler supposed to understand Latin happened to sojourn in the neighborhood, he was looked upon as a wizard. There was absolutely nothing to excite ambition for education. Of course, when I came of age I did not know much. Still, somehow, I could read, write, and cipher to the Rule of Three; but that was all. I have not been to school since. The little advance I now have upon this store of education, I have picked up from time to time under the pressure of necessity.

I was raised to farm work, which I continued till I was twenty-two. At twenty one I came to Illinois and passed the first year in MaconCounty. Then I got to New-Salem (at that time in Sangamon, now in MenardCounty), where I remained a year as a sort of Clerk in a store. Then came the Black Hawk War; and I was elected a Captain of Volunteers—a success which gave me more pleasure than any I have had since. I went the campaign, was elated, ran for the Legislature the same year (1832), and was beaten—the only time I ever have been beaten by the people. The next, and three succeeding biennial elections, I was elected to the Legislature. I was not a candidate afterward. During this Legislative period, I had studied law, and removed to Springfield to practice it. In 1846 I was once elected to the Lower House of Congress. Was not a candidate for re-election. From 1849 to 1854, both inclusive practiced law more assiduously than ever before. Always a Whig in politics, and generally on the Whig electoral tickets, making active canvasses—I was losing interest in politics when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused me again. What I have done since then is pretty well known.

If any personal description of me is thought desirable, it may be said, I am, in height, six feet, four inches, nearly; lean in flesh, weighing on an average one hundred and eighty pounds; dark complexion, with coarse black hair, and grey eyes—no other marks or brands recollected.

The Third and Last Autobiography - June 1860
When Lincoln first ran for President, John L. Scripps of the Chicago Press and Tribune asked him for an autobiography to write a campaign biography about him. This third-person account is the result. The longest of his autobiographies, it offers fascinating information about his early years.

Abraham Lincoln was born February 12, 1809, then in Hardin, now in the more recently formed county of La Rue, Kentucky. His father, Thomas, and grandfather, Abraham, were born in Rockingham County, Virginia, whither their ancestors had come from Berks County, Pennsylvania. His lineage has been traced no farther back than this. The family was originally Quakers, though in later times they have fallen away from the peculiar habits of that people. The grandfather, Abraham, had four brothers—Isaac, Jacob, John, and Thomas. So far as known, the descendants of Jacob and John are still in Virginia. Isaac went to a place near where Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee join; and his descendants are in that region. Thomas came to Kentucky, and after many years died there, whence his descendants went to Missouri. Abraham, the grandfather of the subject of this sketch, came to Kentucky and was killed by Indians about the year 1784. He left a widow, three sons, and two daughters. The eldest son, Mordecai, remained in Kentucky till late in life, when he removed to Hancock County, Illinois, where soon after he died, and where several of his descendants still remain. The second son, Josiah, removed at an early day to a place on Blue River, now within Hancock County, Indiana, but no recent information of him or his family has been obtained. The eldest sister, Mary, married Ralph Crume, and some of her descendants are now known to be in Breckenridge County, Kentucky. The second sister, Nancy, married William Brumfield, and her family is not known to have left Kentucky, but there is no recent information from them. Thomas, the youngest son, and the father of the present subject, by the early death of his father, and very narrow circumstances of his mother, even in childhood was a wandering laboring-boy and grew up literally without education. He never did more in the way of writing than to bunglingly write his own name. Before he was grown he passed one year as a hired hand with his uncle Isaac on Watauga, a branch of the Holston River. Getting back into Kentucky, and having reached his twenty-eighth year, he married Nancy Hanks—mother of the present subject—in the year 1806. She also was born in Virginia; and relatives of hers of the name of Hanks, and of other names, now reside in Coles, in Macon, and in Adams counties, Illinois, and also in Iowa. The present subject has no brother or sister of the whole or half-blood. He had a sister, older than himself, who was grown and married, but died many years ago, leaving no child; also a brother, younger than himself, who died in infancy. Before leaving Kentucky, he and his sister were sent, for short periods, to A B C schools, the first kept by Zachariah Riney and the second by Caleb Hazel.

At this time, [Thomas Lincoln], his father resided on Knob Creek, on the road from Bardstown, Kentucky, to Nashville, Tennessee, at a point three or three and a half miles south or southwest of Atherton's Ferry, on the Rolling Fork. From this place he removed to what is now Spencer County, Indiana, in the autumn of 1816, Abraham then being in his eighth year. This removal was partly on account of slavery, but chiefly on account of the difficulty in land titles in Kentucky. He settled in an unbroken forest, and the clearing away of surplus wood was the great task ahead. Abraham, though very young, was large of his age, and had an ax put into his hands at once; and from that till within his twenty-third year he was almost constantly handling that most useful instrument—less, of course, in plowing and harvesting seasons. At this place, Abraham took an early start as a hunter, which was never much improved afterward. A few days before the completion of his eighth year, in the absence of his father, a flock of wild turkeys approached the new log cabin, and Abraham with a rifle-gun, standing inside, shot through a crack and killed one of them. He has never since pulled a trigger on any larger game. In the autumn of 1818 his mother died; and a year afterward his father married Mrs. Sally Johnston, at Elizabethtown, Kentucky, a widow with three children of her first marriage. She proved a good and kind mother to Abraham and is still living in Coles County, Illinois. There were no children of this second marriage. His father's residence continued at the same place in Indiana till 1830. While here Abraham went to A B C schools by littles, kept successively by Andrew Crawford,—Sweeney, and Azel W. Dorsey. He does not remember any other. The family of Mr. Dorsey now resides in Schuyler County, Illinois. Abraham now thinks that the aggregate of all his schooling did not amount to one year. He was never in a college or academy as a student, and never inside of a college or academy building till since he had a law license. What he has in the way of education he has picked up. After he was twenty-three and had separated from his father, he studied English grammar—imperfectly, of course, but so as to speak and write as well as he now does. He studied and nearly mastered the six books of Euclid since he was a member of Congress. He regrets his want of education and does what he can to supply the want. In his tenth year, he was kicked by a horse [in the head] and apparently killed [dead] for a time. When he was nineteen, still residing in Indiana, he made his first trip upon a flatboat to New Orleans. He was a hired hand merely, and he and a son of the owner, without other assistance, made the trip. The nature of part of the "cargo-load," as it was called, made it necessary for them to linger and trade along the sugar-coast; and one night they were attacked by seven negroes with intent to kill and rob them. They were hurt some in the mêlée but succeeded in driving the negroes from the boat, and then "cut cable," "weighed anchor," and left.

March 1, 1830, Abraham having just completed his twenty-first year, his father and family, with the families of the two daughters and sons-in-law of his stepmother, left the old homestead in Indiana and came to Illinois. Their mode of conveyance was wagons drawn by ox-teams, and Abraham drove one of the teams. They reached the county of Macon and stopped there sometime within the same month of March. His father and family settled a new place on the north side of the Sangamon River, at the junction of the timberland and prairie, about ten miles westerly from Decatur. Here they built a log cabin, into which they removed, and made sufficient of rails to fence ten acres of ground, fenced and broke the ground, and raised a crop of sown corn upon it the same year. These are or are supposed to be, the rails about which so much is being said just now, though these are far from being the first or only rails ever made by Abraham.

The sons-in-law were temporarily settled in other places in the county. In the autumn all hands were greatly afflicted with ague and fever, to which they had not been used, and by which they were greatly discouraged, so much so that they determined on leaving the county. They remained, however, through the succeeding winter, which was the winter of the very celebrated "deep snow" of Illinois. During that winter Abraham, together with his stepmother's son, John D. Johnston, and John Hanks, yet residing in Macon County, hired themselves to Denton Offutt to take a flatboat from Beardstown, Illinois, to New Orleans; and for that purpose were to join him—Offutt—at Springfield, Illinois, so soon as the snow should go off. When it did go off, which was about the first of March, 1831, the county was so flooded as to make traveling by land impracticable; to obviate which difficulty they purchased a large canoe, and came down the Sangamon River in it. This is the time and the manner of Abraham's first entrance into SangamonCounty. They found Offutt at Springfield but learned from him that he had failed in getting a boat at Beardstown. This led to their hiring themselves to him for twelve dollars per month each, and getting the timber out of the trees and building a boat at Old Sangamon town on the Sangamon River, seven miles northwest of Springfield, which boat they took to New Orleans, substantially upon the old contract.

During this boat-enterprise acquaintance with Offutt, who was previously an entire stranger, he conceived a liking for Abraham, and believing he could turn him to account, he contracted with him to act as clerk for him, on his return from New Orleans, in charge of a store and mill at New Salem, Illinois, then in Sangamon, now in Menard County. Hanks had not gone to New Orleans, but having a family, and being likely to be detained from home longer than at first expected, had turned back from St. Louis. He is the same John Hanks who now engineers the "rail enterprise" at Decatur and is a first cousin to Abraham's mother. Abraham's father, with his own family and others mentioned, had, in pursuance of their intention, removed from Macon to Coles County. John D. Johnston, the stepmother's son, went with them, and Abraham stopped indefinitely and for the first time, as it were, by himself at New Salem, before mentioned. This was in July 1831. Here he rapidly made acquaintances and friends. In less than a year Offutt's business was failing—had almost failed—when the Black Hawk War of 1832 broke out. Abraham joined a volunteer company, and, to his own surprise, was elected captain of it. He says he has not since had any success in life which gave him so much satisfaction. He went to the campaign, served near three months, met the ordinary hardships of such an expedition, but was in no battle. He now owns, in Iowa, the land upon which his own warrants for the service were located. Returning from the campaign, and encouraged by his great popularity among his immediate neighbors, he the same year ran for the legislature, and was beaten,—his own precinct, however, casting its votes 277 for and 7 against him—and that, too, while he was an avowed Clay man, and the precinct the autumn afterward giving a majority of 115 to General Jackson over Mr. Clay. This was the only time Abraham was ever beaten on a direct vote of the people. He was now without means and out of business but was anxious to remain with his friends who had treated him with so much generosity, especially as he had nothing elsewhere to go to. He studied what he should do—the thought of learning the blacksmith trade—thought of trying to study law—rather thought he could not succeed at that without a better education. Before long, strangely enough, a man offered to sell and did sell, to Abraham and another as poor as himself, [William Berry] an old stock of goods, upon credit. They opened as merchants [Berry-Lincoln Store], and he says that was the store. Of course, they did nothing but get deeper and deeper in debt. He was appointed postmaster at New Salem—the office being too insignificant to make his politics an objection. The store winked out. The surveyor of Sangamon offered to depute to Abraham that portion of his work which was within his part of the county. He accepted, procured a compass and chain, studied Flint and Gibson a little, and went at it. This procured bread and kept soul and body together. The election of 1834 came, and he was then elected to the legislature by the highest vote cast for any candidate. Major John T. Stuart, then in full practice of the law, was also elected. During the canvass, in a private conversation, he encouraged Abraham [to] study law. After the election, he borrowed books of Stuart, took them home with him, and went at it in good earnest. He studied with nobody. He still mixed in the surveying to pay board and clothing bills. When the legislature met, the lawbooks were dropped but were taken up again at the end of the session. He was reelected in 1836, 1838, and 1840. In the autumn of 1836 he obtained a law license, and on April 15, 1837, removed to Springfield and commenced the practice—his old friend Stuart taking him into partnership. March 3, 1837, by a protest entered upon the "Illinois House Journal" of that date, at pages 817 and 818, Abraham, with Dan Stone, another representative of Sangamon, briefly defined his position on the slavery question; and so far as it goes, it was then the same that it is now. The protest is as follows:
"Resolutions upon the subject of domestic slavery having passed both branches of the General Assembly at its present session, the undersigned hereby protest against the passage of the same.

They believe that the institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy, but that the promulgation of abolition doctrines tends rather to increase than abate its evils.

They believe that the Congress of the United States has no power under the Constitution to interfere with the institution of slavery in the different States.

They believe that the Congress of the United States has the power, under the Constitution, to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, but that the power ought not to be exercised unless at the request of the people of the District.

The difference between these opinions and those contained in the above resolutions is their reason for entering this protest."

Dan Stone,
A. Lincoln

Representatives from the County of Sangamon.
In 1838 and 1840, Mr. Lincoln's party voted for him as Speaker, but being in the minority he was not elected. After 1840 he declined reelection to the legislature. He was on the Harrison electoral ticket in 1840, and on that of Clay in 1844, and spent much time and labor in both those canvasses. In November 1842, he was married to Mary, daughter of Robert S. Todd, of Lexington, Kentucky. They have three living children, all sons, one born in 1843, one in 1850, and one in 1853. They lost one, who was born in 1846.

In 1846 he was elected to the Lower House of Congress, and served one term only, commencing in December 1847, and ending with the inauguration of General Taylor, in March 1849. All the battles of the Mexican war had been fought before Mr. Lincoln took his seat in Congress, but the American army was still in Mexico, and the treaty of peace was not fully and formally ratified till the June afterward. Much has been said of his course in Congress in regard to this war. A careful examination of the "Journal" and "Congressional Globe" shows that he voted for all the supply measures that came up, and for all the measures in any way favorable to the officers, soldiers, and their families, who conducted the war through: with the exception that some of these measures passed without yeas and nays, leaving no record as to how particular men voted. The "Journal" and "Globe" also show him voting that the war was unnecessarily and unconstitutionally begun by the President of the United States. This is the language of Mr. Ashmun's amendment, for which Mr. Lincoln and nearly or quite all other Whigs of the House of Representatives voted.

Mr. Lincoln's reasons for the opinion expressed by this vote were briefly that the President had sent General Taylor into an inhabited part of the country belonging to Mexico, and not to the United States, and thereby had provoked the first act of hostility, in fact the commencement of the war; that the place, being the country bordering on the east bank of the Rio Grande, was inhabited by native Mexicans, born there under the Mexican government, and had never submitted to, nor been conquered by, Texas or the United States, nor transferred to either by treaty; that although Texas claimed the Rio Grande as her boundary, Mexico had never recognized it, and neither Texas nor the United States had ever enforced it; that there was a broad desert between that and the country over which Texas had actual control; that the country where hostilities commenced, having once belonged to Mexico, must remain so until it was somehow legally transferred, which had never been done.

Mr. Lincoln thought the act of sending an armed force among the Mexicans was unnecessary, inasmuch as Mexico was in no way molesting or menacing the United States or the people thereof; and that it was unconstitutional, because the power of levying war is vested in Congress, and not in the President. He thought the principal motive for the act was to divert public attention from the surrender of "Fifty-four, forty, or fight" to Great Britain, on the Oregon boundary question.

Mr. Lincoln was not a candidate for reelection. This was determined upon and declared before he went to Washington, in accordance with an understanding among Whig friends, by which Colonel Hardin and Colonel Baker had each previously served a single term in this same district.

In 1848, during his term in Congress, he advocated General Taylor's nomination for the presidency, in opposition to all others, and also took an active part for his election after his nomination, speaking a few times in Maryland, near Washington, several times in Massachusetts, and canvassing quite fully his own district in Illinois, which was followed by a majority in the district of over 1500 for General Taylor.

Upon his return from Congress, he went to the practice of the law with greater earnestness than ever before. In 1852 he was upon the Scott electoral ticket and did something in the way of canvassing, but owing to the hopelessness of the cause in Illinois he did less than in previous presidential canvasses.

In 1854 his profession had almost superseded the thought of politics in his mind when the repeal of the Missouri Compromise aroused him as he had never been before.

In the autumn of that year, he took the stump with no broader practical aim or object than to secure, if possible, the reelection of Hon. Richard Yates to Congress. His speeches at once attracted more marked attention than they had ever before done. As the canvass proceeded he was drawn to different parts of the State outside of Mr. Yates' district. He did not abandon the law but gave his attention by turns to that and politics. The State agricultural fair was at Springfield that year, and Douglas was announced to speak there.

In the canvass of 1856, Mr. Lincoln made over fifty speeches, no one of which, so far as he remembers, was put in print. One of them was made at Galena, but Mr. Lincoln has no recollection of any part of it being printed; nor does he remember whether in that speech he said anything about a Supreme Court decision. He may have spoken upon that subject, and some of the newspapers may have reported him as saying what it now ascribed to him, but he thinks he could not have expressed himself as represented.

Written by Abraham Lincoln
Edited for misspellings and punctuation by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

An Abraham Lincoln Biography written in 1868.


In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM is the introduction of present-day ideals and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, and it creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present articles that are fact-based and well researched, without interjecting any of my personal opinions.

NOTE: I present articles without regard to race, color, political party, religion, national origin, citizenship status, gender, age, disability, or military status. What I present are facts — NOT ALTERNATIVE FACTS — about the subject.
 What you won't find are rumors, lies, unfounded claims, character assassinations, hateful statements, insults, or attempts at being funny.
PLEASE PRACTICE HISTORICISM, WHICH IS THE INTERPRETATION OF THE PAST IN ITS OWN CONTEXT.


Abraham Lincoln, sixteenth President of the United States, was born in Hardin County, Kentucky, on February 12, 1809, of obscure and humble parents. His father, Thomas Lincoln, and his grandfather, Abraham Lincoln, after whom he was named, were natives of Rockingham County, Virginia, their ancestors having emigrated from Burks County, Pennsylvania. Further back than this but little is known pertaining to the genealogy of the Lincoln family. (Today, we know the origins of the Lincoln family beginning in Medieval England in 1495.)



Abraham Lincoln, the grandfather of our present subject, removed to Kentucky in the year 1780 and settled on a small tract of land in the deep and almost impenetrable recesses of the forest, surrounded only by the stealthy savage [1], and the wild beasts which roamed at will, unmolested by the hand of the white man, over a large area of the western country at that early period. Here in the gloomy depths of the forest, far remote from the nearest white settlements, and isolated from all society, except now and then a visit from a straggling "redskin. [1]" eager, perhaps, for a favorable opportunity to get a crack at some 'pale-face,' our hardy pioneer commenced (he erection of a hewed log cabin, for the shelter of his family, preparatory to clearing up his farm for its support. In this perilous and unprotected situation he was permitted to pursue, uninteruptedlj^, his usual avocation of hunting and tilling his scanty acres in corn and potatoes for a period of tour years, when, on a certain occasion he was hewing timber, about four miles from home, a bullet from the gun of treacherous savage put an end to his earthly career; and, thus, in the same manner as his illustrious grandson, he was snatched from the bosom of his family without a moment's warning, by the ruthless hand of an assassin. Failing to return to his home as usual in the evening, the most painful apprehensions for his safety were entertained by the family during the lonely night, when on making search in the morning his scalped remains, mutilated by the tomahawk of the redskin, we've discovered by the side of the tree on which he had been at work the preceding day. The widow, thus bereft of her natural support. with no provision for the maintenance of herself and family but the scanty yield of a few acres of cultivated ground, still surrounded by a primeval forest, was compelled through sheer poverty to a separation of her family, composed of three sons and two daughters, and removal to more hospitable and less dangerous quarters, retaining only Thomas, her youngest son and the father of our martyred president. Owing to the straitened circumstances of his mother, Thomas was compelled to be a wandering farm boy and thus grew up without the advantage of an education. In 180G, in the 2Sth year of his age, he married a Miss Nancy Hanks, also a native of Virginia, who became the mother of our present subject. Both were equally uneducated, being barely able to read; while Thomas could bunglingly manage his own signature, which was the extent of his acquirements in the art of chirography. They subsequently removed to that portion of Hardin County which has since been formed into the county of Laren, where Abraham, the youngest of three children, two sons, and a daughter, was born, as we have before said, in the year 1809. His brother died in infancy, and although his sister lived to arrive at adult age and marry, she has long since been dead, so that Mr. Lincoln, at the time of his death, had neither brother nor sister living.

In the autumn of 1816, Mr. Thomas Lincoln having become thoroughly disgusted with the institution of slavery, for which he seems to have had an inherent dislike, and which had begun to assume considerable proportions in his neighborhood, determined to leave the State and seek a home in another clime uncontaminated by the effects of the peculiar institution on his own class, north of the Ohio River. Having disposed of his Kentucky farm for ten barrels of whisky and twenty dollars in money he proceeded to construct a rude flat-boat, on which he placed his cargo of whisky and such other effects as could be immediately dispensed with by the family, and embarked down the Rolling Fork to the broad current of the Ohio River, in quest of a market for his whisky, and with the intention of investing the proceeds in a new home in a free state. He swiftly glided down the rapid stream uninterruptedly till he reached the Ohio River, where an accident happened to his frail craft which came near costing him his life, with the loss of all his effects, except three barrels of whisky and a few tools. A sudden gust of wind capsized his boat and spilled her captain, whisky and all, into the Ohio River, from which perilous condition he was rescued by some woodmen nearby in a skiff, who were attracted thither by his lusty cries for help. Having righted his boat, with the assistance of his rescuers he placed the three barrels of whisky, together with his ax and some other tools fished from the water, aboard once more and proceeded on his voyage down the Ohio River, no further mishap occurring to interrupt his progress.

His point of debarkation was at Thompson's Ferry, on the north bank of the Ohio River, in the State of Indiana, where he sold his boat and the remaining three barrels of whisky, and set out in company with a man by the name of Posey, with whom he had fallen in at the landing, for Spencer county, distant about twenty miles through an unbroken forest, where he had some relations residing. Here he selected a site for his future home, and returned on foot to his family in Kentucky, and commenced making preparations for their journey. Being able to muster three ponies, Mrs. L. and the daughter were placed upon one, little Abe on another, and the head of the family on the third, when they proceeded, Indian style, on their way for their new home in the Hoosier State. Their route lay in an almost wholly uninhabited wilderness country through which they were obliged to travel, and after a wearisome journey of seven days, camping out by night, they arrived at their destination in their adopted State, north of the Ohio River. The father at once commenced clearing a site for a homestead, and with the assistance of a neighbor erected a log cabin, 18 feet square, with only one room, into which the family moved and resided for many years. Two years after their removal to this place Abraham had the misfortune to lose his mother, but as his father was soon after married to another very excellent woman, the void which had been created in the family circle was partially filled. This lady, to whom young Lincoln became strongly attached, on account of her kind and motherly treatment, is still living in the southern part of Illinois, and she continued to be the recipient of his favors down to the time of his death. Mr. Thomas Lincoln, with his family, continued to reside in his Indiana home for a space of 14 years—master Abraham during this time devoting himself to the employment common to backwoodsmen, of hunting, of felling trees, splitting rails, etc., during the day, and devoting all his leisure hours during the evening to the improvement of his mind, by the perusal of such meager reading matter as a new and sparsely populated country afforded. Although he learned the rudiments of common arithmetic, together with reading and writing, from an itinerant schoolmaster who set up in his neighborhood for a short time, he declared that the aggregate of his schooling would not exceed twelve months; but like all great men in whom a thirst for knowledge is inherent, he improved every opportunity, from the imperfect and scanty means at his command, for the cultivation and development of his intellectual powers. A story illustrating this desire for knowledge and his proverbial honesty is told as follows: "A Mr. Crawford had lent him a copy of Ramsey's Life of Washington. During a severe storm, Abraham improved his leisure by reading this book; at night he laid it down carefully, as he thought, and the next morning he found it soaked through with water. The wind had changed, the rain had beaten in through a crack in the logs and the book was ruined. How could he face the owner under such circumstances? He had no money to offer as a return, but he took the book, went directly to Mr. Crawford, showed him the irreparable injury, and frankly and honestly offered to work for him until he should be satisfied. Mr. Crawford accepted the otter, and gave Abraham the book for his own, in return for three day's steady labor in pulling fodder." His manliness and straight-forwardness won the esteem of the Crawfords, and indeed of all the neighborhood " During the last two years of his father's residence in Indiana, Abraham was employed as a flat boatman on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, at ten dollars a month; his employer being principally engaged in trading stores along the Mississippi and Louisiana plantations. It was during one of these voyages that our youthful hero and his only shipmate, the son of his employer, met with a fearful rencounter, by being attacked at the dead hour of the night by a gang of half a dozen or more of black river pirates, who sought to capture their boat, with the view, no doubt, of first murdering them and then robbing them of their stores. They were approaching the Cresent City and had disposed of a portion of their cargo when this noticeable incident in their voyage occurred. "Their boat was made fast to a lonesome shore when somewhere near the middle of the night, young Lincoln was startled from his slumber by a noise which aroused his apprehensions. Awaking his comrade he called out through the darkness, in order to learn if anyone was approaching the boat. A ferocious shout from several throats, in concert, was his answer, and the boat was immediately attacked by a party of seven desperate negroes from some of the neighboring plantations, who, doubtless, suspecting that there was money on board, had thought it an easy undertaking to overpower and murder the sleeping boatmen and possess themselves of the property they guarded. There was no time for parley. The robbers upon finding their stealthy approach discovered made a bold push for the coveted prize. Hardly had young Lincoln's call of inquiry passed from his lips before one of the ruffians sprung upon the edge of the boat, but no sooner did he touch the deck with his feet than he was knocked sprawling into the water by a blow from our backwoodsman's terrible fist. Nothing daunted by their comrades fall several more of the black river pirates leaped upon the boat with brandishing billets. But by this time the courageous boatmen had armed themselves with huge cudgels, to the serious detriment of the dark assailants Heavy and rapid blows fell upon either side, until the fighting-quarters became so close that the clubs were partially relinquished for a hand to hand fight. After a desperate struggle of several moments duration, three more of the ruffians were tumbled into the river, and those who still remained on the boat took counsel of prudence and beat a sore-headed retreat shoreward, as best they might but, young Lincoln nothing disposed to rest satisfied with an indecisive victory was after them in an instant. Before the last three who had been plunged into the river had succeeded in crawling up the bank, Abraham had pounded two of them on the shore almost to death with a ponderous cudgel. The first negro who had been knocked into the water fled from the avenging boatman in utter dismay, in fact, all of the "land-forces " of the enemy were speedily scattered in a panic-stricken rout, when the victors paid their respects to the marine reinforcements, dealing heavy blows upon the luckless darkies before they were well out of the water. Feeling that it was a case of life and death, doubting not that the negroes meant to murder them, the young boatmen fought with desperation; while the negroes driven at bay were scarcely less determined; Abraham's strength is said to have been almost superhuman on this occasion, but both he and his comrade were badly bruised by the negroes' cudgels before the latter were compelled to beat a final retreat. Though aching from the blows which they had received, the next immediate care of the victors was to unfasten their craft and push her far out in the stream, as a precaution against further attacks, but none other were made." (Lincoln is the only U.S. President to-date to hold a U.S. Patent for a "Device for Buoying Vessels over Shoals.")

How little did those benighted black men think that the man whose life they sought would become the future liberator of their race! A similar circumstance occurring to most of the youths, of his age, would have so prejudiced their minds against the negro that the lapse of no time would have been sufficient to eradicate the antipathy. Not so, however, with the broad and comprehensive intellect of Abraham Lincoln. He knew that there were good and bad among all classes, races, and colors, and that, perhaps, the very institution which a narrower and less comprehensive mind would have justified from so trivial an occasion if from no other motives, was the cause of rendering them brutal and ferocious. About the time that Abraham arrived at age, news of the wonderful fertility of the western prairies began to spread throughout Indiana and Ohio, and many settlers were attracted thither. The movement became contagious, and Mr. Thomas Lincoln not being exempt from its influence determined to sell his Indiana homestead and remove it to the broad and rolling prairies of Illinois. Accordingly, in the month of March 1830, all arrangements having been completed, he set out with his family in quest of a new home in the Sucker State. The journey, this time, was performed by means of ox-teams, and fifteen days were consumed in the transit. Their point of destination was Macon county, in which they halted, on the north bank of the Sangamon River, about ten miles from Decatur, in a westerly direction. Here they erected another log-cabin, into which the family removed and resided. The next improvement was to split the rails and fence and break ten acres of ground, in which master Abraham assisted, these being the identical rails which subsequently became so famous in history. On this small patch of ground, they raised a large crop of sod-corn the first year, which, with the game procured by Abraham's rifle was their only sustenance through a long and rigorous winter, which was the most severe of any that had ever been known in that climate.

In the following spring, Abraham hired himself out to a man by the name of Offult, to assist in building a flat-boat, on the Sangamon River, about seven miles northwest of Springfield, on which he made another voyage to the Cresent City. Being much liked and highly respected by his new employer, he was engaged by him, after his return from New Orleans, as a clerk in a store and mill at New Salem, Illinois, where he remained till the breaking out of the Black Hawk War in 1832, when he joined a volunteer company, of which he was duly elected captain. His company was immediately marched to the expected scene of conflict in the northern part of the state, but as its time of enlistment (30 days) expired before any engagement ensued, it was disbanded and the men sent home without the honor of participating in a battle with the "pesky redskins." A new levy, however, was soon called for, and Capt. Lincoln not being content with his first campaign, and being anxious to serve his country in some capacity, re-enlisted as a private. Time passed on without any noticeable incident till the term of their enlistment again expired, and they were disbanded before the termination of the war. Still determined to serve his country till the end of the war, and being desirous of participating in a battle, young Lincoln enlisted a third time with the same results so far as a battle was concerned. 

The war being over, he returned to his home and began to look about for something to do, when, greatly to his surprise, he found himself nominated, by his friends, as a candidate for the State Legislature. He accepted the nomination, and notwithstanding the issue was averse to him, he had the gratifying compliment of receiving two hundred and seventy-seven votes out of the two hundred and eighty-four cast in his own town, New Salem. This is said to be the only instance wherein he was ever bea'^en in a direct issue before the people; but, taking into consideration the fact that he had been a resident of the county only nine months, and that there were eight aspirants for the same office, the result was not to be wondered at. The large vote polled for him in his own town, where he was best known, shows his extreme popularity, and had he been as well known throughout the county the result of the election would doubtless have been in his favor by an overwhelming majority. We next find him officiating as post-master of the town, and the joint proprietor of a small stock of goods which he and his partner had purchased on credit. This proving profitless speculation, he soon retired from the mercantile business, and commenced the study of law, in the practice of which he afterward became very proficient.

He continued his study, by borrowing books, about one year, at the end of which time he formed the acquaintance of one John Calhoun, (afterward the president of the notorious Lecompton-Kansas Constitutional Convention), by whom he was persuaded to take up the study and practice of surveying. He soon found plenty of business in his new profession, which he continued to prosecute profitably for upwards a year when he was again nominated for the Legislature of Illinois. Having become well known throughout the surrounding country, by means of his profession, as a surveyor, and now being very popular, he was this time elected by a large majority over his competitor. This was his first political preferment, and his rise from this time was rapid and uninterrupted. In this, as in all former positions, he must have been a faithful and industrious servant; for he was three times re-elected to the same office, in which he served from 1834 to 1842—a period of eight years—during which time he devoted himself diligently to the study of the law. Having obtained a license to practice in the courts in 1836, he removed to Springfield in April 1837 and commenced practice as a partner of the Honorable John T. Stuart.

During the exciting presidential campaign of 1844, Mr. Lincoln, being an old-line Whig, ''stumped" the State of Illinois for Henry Clay. His name headed the Whig electoral ticket, in opposition to that of John Calhoun, which headed the Democratic electoral ticket. Calhoun was regarded as the ablest debater of his party in that State and he and Mr. Lincoln stumped the State together. It was in these debates that Mr. Lincoln first demonstrated his ability as a clear-headed, augmentative debater and he came out of this canvass the acknowledged champion of the Whig party in that State. During this campaign, at a convention held at Vandalia the old capital of the State, an old man carried a banner with this device:

"This is a well-attested fact," says the writer, "but what was the prophet's name we have not been able to learn "

If this is true, as we have no reason to doubt, it was remarkably prophetic, as it was some sixteen years before Mr. Lincoln's name was ever thought of by anyone else in connection with the Presidency. 

In 1846 Mr. Lincoln was elected a Representative to Congress from the central district of Illinois. He was the first Whig who had ever been elected to represent the State in Congress—his six colleagues all having been elected under Democratic reign. Although Mr. Lincoln's Congressional career was brief, he always took an active part in all measures which came before the house for its deliberation—voting either pro or con upon all questions. In 1849 he was a candidate before the Illinois Legislature for U. S. Senator, but that body being strongly Democratic, elected Mr. James Shields in his stead. For four or five years succeeding this period Mr. Lincoln devoted himself almost exclusively to the study and practice of his profession, being but little engaged in public affairs. But the desperate political struggle which ensued in 1854, on the repeal of the Missouri Compromise, again brought him into the political arena in defense of freedom and the right; and it was mainly through his influence and labors that Illinois elected her first Republican Legislature, which gave her in return Lyman Trumbull, a lawyer and statesman of no ordinary ability, for United States Senator. Mr. Lincoln was a candidate for the same office, the Republicans invariably casting their votes for him on every ballot, while the anti-Nebraska Democrats united on Mr. Trumbull Mr. Lincoln fearing that the latter would withdraw from Trumbull and unite upon someone else of less ability, and whose anti-slavery record was not so clear as that of Mr. T., begged of his friends to desert him and cast a solid vote for Mr. Trumbull Although the sacrifice was a dear one to them, they finally, through Mr. Lincoln's personal appeals yielded, and thus elected Mr. Trumbull. It was in this year that the anti-Nebraska (afterward the Republican) party offered Mr. Lincoln the nomination for governor, but he declined, saying, "No, I am not the man; Bissell will make a better governor than I, and you can elect him on account of his Democratic antecedents." Bissell was accordingly put in nomination and elected.

The next important event in the history of Mr. Lincoln, which contributed very materially to his growing celebrity, and which was the cause of bringing him out more prominently before the American people as a representative man, was his canvassing the State of Illinois, in the campaign of 1858, in connection with Stephen A. Douglass; though this was not the first time that he had measured his strength with the Little Giant. Their first meeting, a debate, took place in Springfield, Illinois, in October, during the campaign of 1854, in which it is said that Mr. Lincoln came out gloriously triumphant. A similar passage was tried at Peoria, but Mr. Douglas came out of this so badly worsted, that he afterward "failed to come to time," by keeping out of the way during the remainder of the campaign.

But it remained for the great senatorial contest of 1858 to engage the herculean strength of these two representative men in a deadly conflict for the mastery of a principle. 
As the Capitol Building expanded to twice its length, the original dome looked out of place. It was removed in 1856 and replaced with a redesigned cast-iron dome.
This photograph shows the dome under construction in 1859.

Judge Douglas was the universally acknowledged champion of Democracy and was considered by far the ablest man of the party; while the position which Mr. Lincoln held in the Republican ranks, was but little inferior.

It, therefore, was not at all surprising that the eyes of an entire continent of people, who were then standing upon the brink of a mighty revolution, which might at any time launch them upon an unknown political sea, without either chart or compass, were turned to the scene of conflict, to await the result with breathless anxiety. 

The day of the election finally arrived, and although Mr. Lincoln received the popular vote, indirectly, the direct vote, which was cast by the Legislature, was in favor of Mr. Douglas who was thereby returned to the Senate by a majority of eight. The contest, however, was not merely to decide who should represent the State of Illinois in the National Councils, but it was for the ascendency of a principle, and that principle involving the stability, nay, the very existence of our republican institutions, for the able manner in which Mr. Lincoln disposed of his antagonist, and his popular dogma of "Squatter Sovereignty," we must refer the reader to the published reports of those debates, as the limits which we have set for this work will not admit of even a summary of the powerful arguments by which he carried his points on those memorable occasions. As an instance, however, of his eloquence and patriotism, we will here subjoin the following tribute which he paid to the Declaration of Independence, during that campaign:
"Now, my countrymen, if you have been taught doctrines conflicting with the great land-marks of the Declaration of independence; if you have listened to suggestions which would take away its grandeur and mutilate the fair symmetry of its proportions, if you have been inclined to believe that all men are not created equal in these inalienable rights enumerated by our chart of liberty, let me entreat you to come back—return to the fountain whose waters spring close to the blood of the revolution. You may do anything with me you choose, if you only heed these sacred principles. You may not only defeat me for the Senate, but you may take me and put me to death. While pretending no indifference to earthly honors, I do claim to be actuated in this contest by something higher than an anxiety for ofiice. I charge you to drop every paltry and insignificant thought for any man's success. It is nothing; I am nothing; Judge Douglas is nothing. But do not destroy that immortal emblem of humanity—the Declaration of American Independence."
After the close of this senatorial contest, and before the opening of the Presidential campaign of 1860, Mr. Lincoln visited several other States, where he made a large number of speeches, which were received with great enthusiasm; but the crowning effort of his life was made at the Cooper Institute, in New York, in February 1860 With this speech he ended his labors in that direction and remained quietly at home till after his nomination and election to the Presidency, when, on March 4, 1861, he entered upon the eventful life of the past four years, with the history of which all are familiar. Never did a President of the United States come into power under such perplexing and embarrassing circumstances as those which surrounded the Government at the advent of Mr. Lincoln's Administration. Six of the Southern States had already passed ordinances of secession, while several others were on the eve of doing the same. Fort Sumter was completely besieged by a gordian line of batteries, nearly surrounding it on all sides, and cutting off its garrison from all reinforcements and supplies, while several other forts, arsenals, navy yards, etc., had already fallen into the hands of the enemy. The United States Treasury had been robbed and plundered of the last dollar and copper coin by the sneak-thieves of Mr. Buchanan's Cabinet. John B. Floyd, Mr. Buchanan's Secretary of War, had completely dismantled and stripped all the Northern forts and arsenals of all ordnance, arms, ammunition, etc., and had them shipped to the South to be used in the destruction of the Government. The small standing army had been dispersed along the frontier of Texas and to other remote territories beyond the immediate control of the in-coming Executive, while the few ships belonging to the Navy were scattered to the remotest quarters of the globe. United States Senators and Representatives had sat in midnight conclave in the Legislative Halls of the Nation, concocting treason for the overthrow and subversion of the Constitution which each had solemnly sworn to uphold and support. The Cabinet of the preceding administration, with two or three honorable exceptions, was reeking with damnable treason of the foulest dye, while nearly every branch of the Government was administered by the hands of its enemies instead of those of its friends, and even the Chief Executive himself, either paralyzed with fear or purposely conniving with the treason-mongers of his own creation, looked quietly on and saw the noblest work of man—a republican government—disappear, as he supposed, beneath the dark waters of oblivion, over which the mighty waves of rebellion and despotism, for aught, that he cared, might roll for ages unborn. Bold, defiant treason, disrobed of all habiliments of pretended loyalty, stalked abroad in midday through the highways as well as the byways of the National Capital, hissing fiery intonations of hatred to the Union through a thousand serpent tongues, and breathing bitter imprecations upon the heads of its supporters. An impenetrable gloom, like a funeral pall, hung over the future of the Nation, and the stoutest hearts quailed with fear before the impending storm which none, save a providential hand, could then avert. Such were the circumstances under which the administration of Abraham Lincoln came into power and assumed control of the Government. 

The events of the first term of his administration—his re-election to the same office in 1864, and the dreadful tragedy of April 14, 1865, which terminated his life on the succeeding day, must here be omitted, as they belong to a more detailed history of himself and the war to which the student is respectfully referred. 

The only fault, if any, that can be found with the Administration of Mr. Lincoln, was that he was too mild and lenient with traitors, and not sufficiently vigorous in the prosecution of the war. True, his enemies—the Copperheads of the North—charged him with being a tyrant, and with wielding the military power of the Government with despotic away, for the advantage of himself and party, and to the disadvantage and oppression of his political opponents; but the very fact of their having been allowed to go about the country spouting treason from every rostrum, and abusing the Administration in the most unmeasured terms, was a sufficient refutation of these charges, and gave the lie to the foul mouths and hypocritical hearts of those who uttered them. Many of his friends, with more impulsive temperaments than that which Mr. Lincoln possessed, were impatient at the dilatory manner in which the war was conducted during the first two years of its progress, and judging from a material standpoint, they were correct in their estimates; but when the whole situation is viewed from a more interior perception of the nature and causes of the difficulty and the results necessary to be brought about, it will readily be acknowledged that all has been for the best; or in other words, that the hand of a special Providence, whose purposes were far above the comprehension of all human wisdom, has guided the Nation through the perilous storm of the past four years, and shaped its destinies in accordance with the great fundamental principles of Human Rights, inherent in all men, of all colors, and of all nationalities. 

The curse of human slavery was not only a foul blot upon the otherwise bright escutcheon of the Nation, and a libel upon the Declaration of Rights, which preceded American Independence, but it was a canker of immense proportions, gnawing at the very heart of the Nation, and destined, sooner or later, to absorb its vitality, but the question of how to dispose of four millions of human beings, held in abject servitude to the will of the master, who was bound to the institution by all the selfish ties of his nature, without disrupting the Union, was one which baffled the skill of the wisest statesmen. To have made war directly upon the institution, with the avowed purpose of exterminating it, would have thrown the responsibility of all the blood-shed, crime and unutterable horrors growing out of it, upon us of the North, from which all, but the most reckless of hot-headed abolitionists, would have shrunk appalled; yet nothing short of a hostile collision between the two antagonistic sections and conditions of society, would accomplish the result. It, therefore, became necessary to verify the old adage of " Whom the Gods would destroy they first make mad." That the friends of the Government might be in the right and clearly acting on the defensive, it was necessary that its enemies should be instigated to strike the first blow. That such was the case the writer of this not only believes, but he also believes that " Old Crazy John Brown," so-called, was merely an instrument in the hands of a Higher Power to probe this purulent sore, and bring the morbific matter to the surface before it should strike in so deep as to destroy the vital organs of the patient. The Government had become so corrupt under so-called Democratic rule, that had things been allowed to proceed uninterruptedly for a few years longer, it would have fallen to pieces of its own inherent rottenness and consequently been past all cure. 

The war, ostensibly commenced in the interest of slavery, was one, nevertheless, on the part of a Higher Power, for the destruction of the institution and the purgation of the Government Now had Mr. Lincoln been possessed of a military genius and the strong iron will and individuality of an Andrew Jackson, he would have brought the entire strength of the Government down upon the rebellion at once and wiped it out, in which event the status of slavery would not have been disturbed, as the public opinion of the North would not have sustained the President, in case of any attempted interference in that direction, in so radical a measure. Under this adjustment of the National difficulties, the doughfaces of the North, in order to placate the slave-drivers of the South, lest they might be instigated to a renewal of hostilities, would not only have yielded their liberties but even their manhoods to the behests of their Southern masters, who would have become more imperious and domineering than ever before. The only effectual plan which supernal wisdom could devise, was to prolong the war under the cruelest and barbarous practices of the rebels, till the people of the North should be educated, as it were, into the idea of exterminating slavery, root, and branch, and till the haughty and overbearing spirit which it engendered should be completely cowed and whipped into submission, and nothing short of great tribulation to the people of the North, and complete physical prostration of the people of the South would accomplish this result, and how well it has been done, let the proceedings of the recent conventions of Mississippi and South Carolina, two of the most rabid of the late Confederate States, attest.

A greater reformation of the political, social and moral status of the United States has taken place within the last four years, under the scourge of cruel war, than could have been accomplished in centuries without it, so that what at first appeared to be a great National calamity, has proven to be a great National "blessing in disguise." True, the iron heel of relentless war has left its foot-prints in deep scars all over the land, and nearly every family has been called upon to mourn the loss of a victim to its remorseless hand; but war, with all its horrors, is not the greatest calamity which can befall a nation. It is better to suffer the amputation of a limb, than that the entire body should perish with it.

So far, then, as the general results of the war are concerned, they could not have been bettered. Not that Mr. Lincoln, or any other living man, foresaw the results and shaped the course of the Old Ship of State accordingly; but, as has been intimated, a Higher Power was at the helm, and no fitter instrument than Abraham Lincoln could be found as an agent in the hands of that power to carry out its general designs. 

Again: had Mr. Lincoln adopted the rigorous policy pursued by Mr. Davis in his dominions, respecting the free expression of opinion, and put a padlock upon every man's lips, the consequence would have been that as soon as the fortunes of war were decided in our favor, every copperhead of the North would have sworn that he was just as good a union man as his neighbor, and had always been in favor of coercion; but every man having been allowed to freely express his opinions, the enemies of the Government—the Vallandigham's, the Woods, the Seymours, the Voorhees, etc.—unwittingly committed themselves, and are now—they and their posterity—indelibly stamped with the "Seal of a traitor on their brows," and, consequently, under the ban of all respectable society, and forever excluded from holding any office of profit or trust under the Government, with decently civilized people for constituents. One of the objects of the war, as we have already stated, was to purge the Government of all corrupt and dirty politicians of the North, as well as to break down the slave aristocracy of the South, and nothing could have contributed so effectually to this end as the mild course pursued by the Administration with respect to its enemies in the North, so that in this arrangement, also, we clearly perceive the wisdom manifested in selecting a man of Abraham Lincoln's kind and genial nature for such an occasion. That the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln was also Providential, is the humble opinion of the writer. Not that a kind Providence instigated the minions of slavery to the fiendish and cowardly act, but it was in their wicked and rebellious hearts to do so from the beginning, and the same guardian hand which had protected him so far, might, as on former occasions, have interfered so as to have averted the calamity. Why then, it may be asked, was not this power brought into requisition, that his life might have been spared to the nation, and he permitted to reap the reward of his labors? Tlie war was virtually ended, and the angel of Peace was about to smile again upon the Nation, and oh! how cruel that he, who was about to extend the olive branch of peace and fraternal love to his bitterest enemies, should thus be stricken down and snatched in such a manner from the field of his labors. Where, oh, where was that protecting hand which had guided his every step through the fiery ordeal from which the Nation was just emerging? Had the Gods abdicated their Thrones and abandoned the control of the Universe to blind Fate that anarchy and misrule might reign Supreme? Why permit the enactment of this dreadful tragedy which plunged an entire Nation into profound grief, and sent a reverberating echo of thrilling horror to the remotest parts of the civilized world? We answer, for wise and benevolent purposes, that good might come out of, or through evil. 

Abraham Lincoln had finished his work, and when the hour came wherein he could serve his country better in death than in life, then, and not till then, was the enemy permitted to carry out a long-cherished design. The military power of the rebellion was broken, and in the work of reconstruction, a hand of sterner justice was needed to hold the reins of government, lest the fruits of victory, so dearly won, might, in a great measure, be lost through mistaken kindness. But this was not all, another victim, still, was required as a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom. There was no crime, however revolting, which the rebels had not been guilty of during the progress of the war; but the murdering in cold blood of the good, the noble, the kind-hearted President of the people was demanded as the last crowning act of INFAMY to place the institution of slavery, in whose interest the deed was committed, under the ban of the whole civilized world, /or all time to come. The sentence has been passed, and nearly every man in the South, identified with the interests of slavery, now feels that the blood of that great and good man is upon his own head, and this, in no inconsiderable degree, tends to humble his pride and render him obedient to the powers that be. It was for these, and perhaps other kindred reasons, that the lamented President was permitted to be removed from earth's scenes to a brighter and more exalted sphere of existence, where his pure spirit now commingles, in council, with those of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, etc., who are not dead to the interests of their country. 

Should the reader differ with us in opinion, theologically as well as politically, we would ask if he believes in an Overruling Power, which, acting either directly or through intermediate agents, shapes and controls the destinies of nations? If so, we would suggest that that Power has neither looked quietly on, maintaining a position of "armed neutrality," and let things take their own course during the mightj^ events of the past four years nor left its work half done.

"The House-Keeper's Guide and Everybody's Hand-Book," 1868. 
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


[1] "SAVAGE" is a word defined in U.S. dictionaries as a Noun, Verb, Adjective, and Adverb. Definitions include:
  • a person belonging to a primitive society
  • malicious, lacking complex or advanced culture
  • a brutal person
  • a rude, boorish or unmannerly person
  • to attack or treat brutally
  • lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings
Unlike the terms "REDSKIN or REDMEN," dictionaries like Merriam-Webster define this term, its one-and-only definition, as a Noun meaning: AMERICAN INDIAN (historically dated, offensive today).

These terms are often used often in historical books, biographies, letters, and articles written in the 18th and 19th centuries, and even into the early 20th century.