Abraham Lincoln and Robert Burns
Connected Lives and Legends
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Southern Illinois University Press
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No historian works alone, and I have many people to thank for this project. My indebtedness to the past and present scholars of Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln may be seen in the endnotes and bibliography. I begin by thanking my Aberdeen colleagues and friends for their many...
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With the onset of winter 2009, Scotland and the United States will lift the curtain on two major national celebrations. On January 25, 2009, Scots will mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of their famed poet Robert Burns; seventeen days later, on February 12, 2009, Americans...
1. Robert Burns: A Brief Biography
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In the early nineteenth century, so the story goes, a blue-ribbon Edinburgh committee planned to erect a memorial to Robert Burns. So, they sought out Sir Walter Scott’s advice on the best inscription. Said Scott, “Simply place on the monument, ‘Burns.’ Who does not know...
2. Burns's Poetry Comes to America
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Robert Burns wrote from the heart of an eighteenth-century Scottish culture poised to send its citizens to the four corners of the globe. Many, of course, landed in the new American nation. By the 1780s, New York City and Philadelphia already contained active Scottish...
3. The Lincoln-Burns Connection
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In the fall of 1859, an old friend J. W. Fell of Springfield, Illinois, asked Abraham Lincoln for a brief biography to use in promoting his presidential aspirations. On December 20, 1859, Lincoln wrote the following...
4. Scottish Emigres and Scottish Ideas in Lincoln's World
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The poetry of Robert Burns did not mark the sole Scottish impact on the life of Abraham Lincoln. Scottish immigrants and Scottish ideas were intertwined with his entire career. From his birth to his assassination, Lincoln never moved far from the long reach of Scots/Scotch-Irish...
5. Burns and Lincoln in Historical Memory
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Writing comparative history, a cynic once observed, demands twice as much effort for half the results. But some historians rush in where angels fear to tread, and in this chapter I plan to do precisely that. During the nineteenth century, Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln each evolved...
Epilogue: The Dilemmas of Democratic Fame
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The lives of Robert Burns and Abraham Lincoln have been intertwined for almost two centuries. When Lincoln first discovered the poet’s verses while living in southern Indiana during the 1820s, he met a writer whose images, ideas, and cadences remained with him for the rest of his days...
Appendix A: Selected Burns Verses
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Appendix B: Selected Lincoln Documents
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Publication Year: 2008