My wife Masami and I are just back from four great days in the Grand Canyon. We joined an REI Adventures group, two guides and seven guests, walking down to the bottom of the Canyon, spending two nights at the Phantom Ranch, then walking back up on the fourth day. My wife Masami, once again,…

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Today is the birthday of our greatest president, Abraham Lincoln. A few thoughts on the day. Often, in my books, I “chip away” at bits of the Lincoln legend. For example, in early December 1861, Lincoln was surprised when the report of Simon Cameron, his secretary of war, argued for using the former slaves as…

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I am just back from a few days of research at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield, Illinois. My main purpose in going was to look at newspapers from Illinois from October 1854 and October 1858. In both of those months, Chase campaigned for Republicans in Illinois. 1854 was the anti-Nebraska election, when the…

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I am speaking next Tuesday to the LA Civil War Roundtable about William Henry Seward. As I wrote the speech, I revisited the question of “Seward’s Folly.” In the book, which I published seven years ago, I said that although there were some critics of the Alaska purchase in 1867, none of them used the…

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Next week I will be giving three speeches about three different men on three successive days. On Wednesday evening I will be at the Smiley Library in Redlands, California, to talk about William Henry Seward. I spoke with this group a few months back about Stanton, for some reason I never spoke with them about…

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As I research the Chase book I come across items I wish I had seen for the Seward or Stanton books. For example, today I was reading a March 1847 letter from Salmon Chase to Lewis Tappan, one of the Liberty Party leaders in New York. Chase was commenting on the decision of the Supreme…

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I learned yesterday that my Stanton biography has won the Seward prize for Civil War biography. This is an annual award, presented by the Civil War Forum of Metropolitan New York, for the best biography of a Civil War figure. I am the first person, I am told, to win this award twice, first for…

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In early October 1863, Seward drafted and Lincoln issued a proclamation, calling upon Americans to thank God for their blessings.  How much of the final proclamation is Seward and how much Lincoln we do not know, but even Gideon Welles, who did not much like Seward, praised Seward’s draft in this case. I received a…

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After a long, bitter, divisive election, a Republican president candidate has prevailed.  The candidate’s partisans rejoice, but his opponents are outraged that such a narrow, prejudiced man will become president.  Some are so outraged that they are thinking about leaving the United States.  A Republican senior statesman is asked for his comments. The year is…

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Tonight, April 18, and probably again a few times in the next few days, I will appear on Smithsonian TV in a show about Lincoln’s death.  Show time tonight is 9pm east coast and west coast. The producers did a good job of weaving together several interviews, including with people who know MUCH more about…

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