Historian offers Lincoln insights

first_imgPASADENA – Pulitzer Prize-winner Doris Kearns Goodwin joins a long line of fellow historians fascinated by Abraham Lincoln, a man, she said, written about more than anyone except Jesus. She spoke about his appeal Wednesday for the Distinguished Speaker Series at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” is her Lincoln history published in 2005. It explains how Lincoln placed political rivals, some of whom initially despised him, in his cabinet and molded them into the effective team that guided the nation through the Civil War. “Lincoln said they were the strongest, most able men in the country,” Goodwin said. “Lyndon Johnson said, `It’s better to have your enemies inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in.”‘ Lincoln asked William H. Seward to be his secretary of state, and he accepted, Goodwin said, believing he would be a de facto prime minister who could boss Lincoln around. But he soon learned he was mistaken, and he and Lincoln became such good friends, Goodwin said, Lincoln would often visit Seward’s house to relax after a hard day at the White House. Goodwin also said Lincoln’s strengths included empathy, praising others when they deserved it, taking responsibility for his cabinet’s failures, learning from his mistakes and readily admitting he made them. “He use to say, `I’m smarter today than I was yesterday,”‘ Goodwin said. emanuel.parker@sgvn.com (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4475 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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