Lincoln Looks West From the Mississippi to the Pacific
This first-ever volume to comprehensively explore President Abraham Lincoln’s ties to the American West brings together a variety of scholars and experts who offer a fascinating look at the sixteenth president’s lasting legacy in the territory beyond the Mississippi River. Editor Richard W. Etulain’s extensive introductory essay treats these western connections from Lincoln’s early reactions to Texas, Oregon, and the Mexican War in the 1840s, through the 1850s, and during his presidency, providing a framework for the nine essays that follow.
Each of these essays offers compelling insight into the many facets of Lincoln’s often complex interactions with the American West. Included in this collection are a provocative examination of Lincoln’s opposition to the Mexican War; a discussion of the president’s antislavery politics as applied to the new arena of the West; new perspectives on Lincoln’s views regarding the Thirteenth Amendment and his reluctance regarding the admission of Nevada to the Union; a fresh look at the impact of the Radical Republicans on Lincoln’s patronage and appointments in the West; and discussion of Lincoln’s favorable treatment of New Mexico and Arizona, primarily Southern and Democratic areas, in an effort to garner their loyalty to the Union. Also analyzed is “The Tribe of Abraham”—Lincoln’s less-than-competent appointments in Washington Territory made on the basis of political friendship—and the ways in which Lincoln’s political friends in the Western Territories influenced his western policies. Other essays look at Lincoln’s dealings with the Mormons of Utah, who supported the president in exchange for his tolerance, and American Indians, whose relations with the government suffered as the president’s attention was consumed by the crisis of the Civil War.
In addition to these illuminating discussions, Etulain includes a detailed bibliographical essay, complete with examinations of previous interpretations and topics needing further research, as well as an extensive list of resources for more information on Lincoln's ties west of the Mississippi. Loaded with a wealth of information and fresh historical perspectives, Lincoln Looks West explores yet another intriguing dimension to this dynamic leader and to the history of the American West.