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Lincoln RevisitedNew Insights from the Lincoln Forum$
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John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227365

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227365.001.0001

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“I See the President”: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home

“I See the President”: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home

(p.81) CHAPTER 5 “I See the President”: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home
Lincoln Revisited

John Y. Simon

Harold Holzer

Dawn Vogel

Fordham University Press

Abraham Lincoln's three seasons at the Soldiers' Home is the first object of this chapter, but not its only purpose. Walt Whitman's fascinating journal entry suggests a larger meaning. As any photographer knows, a slight shift in focus or subtle change of lens can sometimes create dramatic new images from otherwise familiar scenes. Few scenes in American history are more familiar than Lincoln's presidency, but no study of that period has ever attempted to see the president from the perspective of his daily journeys between the Soldiers' Home and the White House. This chapter takes the fleeting glimpse of a poet and tries to make it the starting point for a new look at Lincoln's presidential leadership. The result is as much metaphor as narrative, offering a window into the elusive boundary that separates a president's public and private experiences.

Keywords:   Abraham Lincoln, Soldiers' Home, Walt Whitman, presidency, White House, leadership

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