Lincoln as Commander in Chief

Abraham Lincoln was not trained as a military man.  He once joked that as a young Illinois militia officer during the Black Hawk War, the only “live, fighting” enemies that he had attacked were mosquitoes.  Yet, he was a remarkably self-confident commander-in-chief.  Students in History 288 should be able to identify reasons for Lincoln’s self-assurance after reading articles about his wartime leadership from James McPherson and Brooks Simpson.  As a test case involving their theories and other ideas about Lincoln’s wartime success, we will also conduct a close reading of Lincoln’s famous letter to Union General Joseph Hooker in January 1863.


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