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Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley

Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley

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Gregory A. Borchard


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
168 pages, 5 x 8, 10 illustrations

Concise Lincoln Library


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About the Book

On the American stages of politics and journalism in the mid-nineteenth century, few men were more influential than Abraham Lincoln and his sometime adversary, sometime ally, New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley. In this compelling new volume, author Gregory A. Borchard explores the intricate relationship between these two vibrant figures, both titans of the press during one of the most tumultuous political eras in American history. Packed with insightful analysis and painstaking research, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley offers a fresh perspective on these luminaries and their legacies.

Borchard begins with an overview of the lives of both Lincoln and Greeley, delving particularly into their mutual belief in Henry Clay’s much-debated American System, and investigating the myriad similarities between the two political giants, including their comparable paths to power and their statuses as self-made men, their reputations as committed reformers, and their shared dedication to social order and developing a national infrastructure. Also detailed are Lincoln’s and Greeley’s personal quests to end slavery in the United States, as well as their staunch support of free-soil homesteads in the West. 

Yet despite their ability to work together productively, both men periodically found themselves on opposite ends of the political spectrum. Their by turns harmonious and antagonistic relationship often played out on the front pages of Greeley’s influential newspaper, the New York Tribune. Drawing upon historical gems from the Tribune, as well as the personal papers of both Lincoln and Greeley, Borchard explores in depth the impact the two men had on their times and on each other, and how, as Lincoln’s and Greeley’s paths often crossed—and sometimes diverged—they personified the complexities, virtues, contradictions, and faults of their eras. 

Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley goes beyond tracing each man’s personal and political evolution to offer a new perspective on the history-changing events of the times, including the decline of the Whig Party and the rise of the Republicans, the drive to extend American borders into the West; and the bloody years of the Civil War. Borchard finishes with reflections on the deaths of Lincoln and Greeley and how the two men have been remembered by subsequent generations. 

Sure to become an essential volume in the annals of political history and journalism, Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley is a compelling testament to the indelible mark these men left on both their contemporaries and the face of America’s future.


Gregory A. Borchard is an associate professor of mass communication and journalism in the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is the coauthor of Journalism in the Civil War Era and has published journal articles focusing on the nineteenth-century press.


"Gregory A. Borchard’s Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley is adept at political nuance. Borchard firmly situates Lincoln and Greeley in the shadow of their hero, Henry Clay, and then charts the often-prickly relationship of these two self-consciously self-made men with a series of fine details."—Matthew Pinsker, Journal of the Civil War Era

"Knowing Abraham Lincoln is impossible and studying him is like trying to sip from the 'Fountain of Liberty' or make tea from the Constitution--he is not for the faint of heart. But reading SIU Press's Concise Lincoln Library offers something for every thirst. Deep drinkers and first-time students of the Civil War and Lincoln studies will come back for more, and this series will more than fill the glass." 
William Furry, executive director, Illinois State Historical Society
“Borchard has had more than a passing interest in Horace Greeley and Abraham Lincoln for a number of years, and now he brings that into sharp focus with his new study. Well written and meticulously researched with a wealth of both primary and secondary sources, Borchard’s new study provides significant new insights into how both men interacted with and influenced each other. It is a rich, absorbing tale that should be read by anyone interested in mass communication history in the 1800s.” —Patrick S. Washburn, Professor, E. W. Scripps School of Journalism, Ohio University 

“In a fresh and insightful way, Borchard’s book offers a fine general introduction of Lincoln and Greeley to novice readers, while at the same time his rigorous research will be of compelling interest to seasoned scholars. This book will engage anyone interested in Civil War– era journalism and politics.” —Adam-Max Tuchinsky, author of Horace Greeley’s “New-York Tribune”:Civil War-Era Socialism and the Crisis of Free Labor

"It has been over a half-century since anyone has written anything really meaningful about the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Horace Greeley, but Greg Borchard has just made up for that loss by providing us with this critically important book-one with considerable context for a new generation of media history scholars, gleaned from the best source material, including a former student, Theodore Horace Greeley Dake, the great, great, great grandson of Greeley."-Mike Murray, author of The Political Performers

For Lincoln enthusiasts and scholars of the nineteenth century press, Borchard's book restores Greely to historical prominence while providing a colorful narrative of the contentious relationship between the president and the popular, political media in this period."--Matthew Isham, Civil War Monitor 

"The writing style is such that it can be appreciated not only by scholars but by amateur historians and even by high school students. It constitues a quality primer in helping the reader comprehend one of the most tumultous periods in American history and to understand the erratic and passionate journalist and the now bigger-than-life yet melancholy president collaborated to help America survive."--Reed Smith, Journal of Abraham Lincoln Association