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

John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer and Dawn Vogel

in Lincoln Revisited

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227365
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240869 | DOI:
“I See the President”: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers' Home

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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

Chapter.  7525 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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