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"The Lincoln Miracle" by Edward Achorn

Atlantic Monthly Press

Illinois lawyer Abraham Lincoln had a record of political failure. In 1858, he had lost a celebrated Senate bid against incumbent Stephen Douglas, his second failed Senate run, and had not held public office since one term in Congress a decade earlier. As the Republican National Convention opened in mid-May 1860 in Chicago, powerful New York Senator William Seward was the overwhelming favorite for the presidential nomination, with notables like Salmon Chase and Edward Bates in the running. Few thought Lincoln stood a chance—though stubborn Illinois circuit Judge David Davis had come to fight for his friend anyway.

Such was the political landscape as Edward Achorn’s "The Lincoln Miracle" opens on Saturday, May 12, 1860. Chronicling the tense political drama as it unfolded over the next six days, Achorn explores the genius of Lincoln’s quiet strategy, the vicious partisanship tearing apart America, the fierce battles raging over racism and slavery, and booming Chicago as a symbol of the modernization transforming the nation.

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