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Abraham among the Yankees

Abraham among the Yankees

Lincoln's 1848 Visit to Massachusetts

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William F. Hanna


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
118 pages, 6 x 9, 19 illustrations


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About the Book

Filling in a portion of Lincoln’s political career that few are aware of, this engaging travelogue details Lincoln’s twelve-day trip through Massachusetts as a young, aspiring Illinois politician campaigning for Zachary Taylor, a slaveowner and the Whig candidate for president in 1848. Moving swiftly, William F. Hanna follows Lincoln from town to town, explaining why Lincoln supported a slaveholder and describing one of Lincoln’s earliest attempts to appeal to an audience beyond his home territory.

Hanna provides excellent context on the politics of the era, particularly the question of slavery, both in Massachusetts and nationwide, and he features the people Lincoln met and the cities or towns in which he spoke. Lincoln stumped for Taylor in Worcester, New Bedford, Boston, Lowell, Dorchester, Chelsea, Dedham, Cambridge, and Taunton. He gave twelve speeches in eleven days to audiences who responded with everything from catcalls to laughter to applause. Whatever they thought of Lincoln’s arguments, those who saw him were impressed by his unusual western style and remembered his style more than the substance of his talks.

Meticulously researched, Abraham among the Yankees invites readers to take an East Coast journey with a thirty-nine-year-old Lincoln during election season in 1848 to see how Massachusetts audiences responded to the humorous, informal approach that served Lincoln well during the rest of his political career.


William F. Hanna is a visiting lecturer at Bridgewater State University and serves as president of the Old Colony History Museum in Taunton, Massachusetts. A past president of the Lincoln Group of Boston, Hanna is the author of Avon, Massachusetts, 1720–1988 and A History of Taunton, Massachusetts. 



"Mining local newspapers and the holdings of local historical societies, author William Hanna presents a well-written narrative of Lincoln’s dozen-day campaign swing. . . . Serious students of the sixteenth president will welcome Hanna's slender, fine-grained study, first published more than three decades ago, but now made widely available in this affordable new edition from Southern Illinois University Press."—Brian Matthew JordanCivil War Monitor

"A unique and impressively informative work of original historical scholarship, Abraham among the Yankees is an especially appropriate and recommended addition to personal, community, and academic library 19th Century American History collections in general, and Lincoln Studies curriculum reading lists in particular."—James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

“Written with charm and verve, Abraham among the Yankees remains the best account of what is the least known of Lincoln’s speech-making sojourns. William F. Hanna is to be commended for producing this concise and engaging study.”—Thomas A. Horrocks, author of Lincoln’s Campaign Biographies

Abraham among the Yankees provides a brief but revealing glimpse into the life and career of an obscure Illinois lawyer-politician named Abraham Lincoln before he became the historical figure of world renown. Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, Hanna’s study stands as the definitive account of the only political visit Lincoln ever made to Massachusetts.”—John C. Rodrigue, author of Lincoln and Reconstruction