Center for American Progress

: A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1, 1809–1849
Past Event

A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. 1, 1809–1849

A Book Discussion with Author Sidney Blumenthal

12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Please join the Center for American Progress for a fascinating discussion with author Sidney Blumenthal about the first installment in his multivolume examination of the political mind of President Abraham Lincoln. The series looks at the genius of Lincoln from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, assassination, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War dreams of Reconstruction. The first volume, A Self-Made Man, traces Lincoln from his painful youth, describing himself as “a slave,” to his emergence as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln. From his youth as a “newsboy,” a voracious newspaper reader, Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Thomas Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible, and studying Euclid to sharpen his arguments as a lawyer. Lincoln’s anti-slavery thinking began in his childhood amid the Primitive Baptist anti-slavery dissidents in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana, the roots of his repudiation of Southern Christian pro-slavery theology.


Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years. He was obsessed with Stephen Douglas, his political rival, and battled him for decades. Successful as a circuit lawyer, Lincoln built his team of loyalists. Blumenthal reveals how Douglas and Jefferson Davis acting together made Lincoln’s rise possible.

Blumenthal’s robust portrayal is based on prodigious research of Lincoln’s record, the period, and its main players. It reflects both Lincoln’s time and the struggle that consumes our own political debate.

Copies of A Self Made Man will be for sale at the event.

Welcoming remarks:

Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress


Sidney Blumenthal, Author, A Self-Made Man

Michael Lind, Co-Founder, New America

John Halpin, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress