Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency

Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency The True Story Of Abraham Lincoln S Last Murder Trial, A Strange Case In Which He Had A Deep Personal Involvement And Which Was Played Out In The Nation S Newspapers As He Began His Presidential CampaignAt The End Of The Summer Of , Twenty Two Year Old Peachy Quinn Harrison Went On Trial For Murder In Springfield, Illinois Abraham Lincoln, Who Had Been Involved In Than Three Thousand Cases Including Than Twenty Five Murder Trials During His Two Decades Long Career, Was Hired To Defend Him This Was To Be His Last Great Case As A LawyerWhat Normally Would Have Been A Local Case Took On Momentous Meaning Lincoln S Debates With Senator Stephen Douglas The Previous Fall Had Gained Him A National Following, Transforming The Little Known, Self Taught Lawyer Into A Respected Politician He Was Being Urged To Make A Dark Horse Run For The Presidency In Taking This Case Involved Great Risk His Reputation Was Untarnished, But Should He Lose This Trial, Should Harrison Be Convicted Of Murder, The Spotlight Now Focused So Brightly On Him Might Be Dimmed He Had Won His Most Recent Murder Trial With A Daring And Dramatic Maneuver That Had Become A Local Legend, But Another Had Ended With His Client Dangling From The End Of A RopeThe Case Posed Painful Personal Challenges For Lincoln The Murder Victim Had Trained For The Law In His Office, And Lincoln Had Been His Friend And His Mentor His Accused Killer, The Young Man Lincoln Would Defend, Was The Son Of A Close Friend And Loyal Supporter And To Win This Trial He Would Have To Form An Unholy Allegiance With A Longtime Enemy, A Revivalist Preacher He Had Twice Run Against For Political Office And Who Had Bitterly Slandered Lincoln As An Infideltoo Lacking In Faith To Be ElectedLincoln S Last Trial Captures The Presidential Hopeful S Dramatic Courtroom Confrontations In Vivid Detail As He Fights For His Client But Also For His Own Blossoming Political Future It Is A Moment In History That Shines A Light On Our Legal System, As In This Case Lincoln Fought A Legal Battle That Remains Incredibly Relevant Today

Dan Abrams is an attorney, author, Legal Analyst for ABC News, and substitute anchor for Good Morning America.Early YearsBefore joining NBC News, Dan worked as a reporter for Court TV where he became well known for his coverage of the OJ Simpson case He covered most of the high profile trials of that decade including the International War Crimes Tribunal from The Netherlands, and the assisted sui

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  • Hardcover
  • 320 pages
  • Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency
  • Dan Abrams
  • English
  • 13 July 2018
  • 9781335424693

10 thoughts on “Lincoln's Last Trial: The Murder Case That Propelled Him to the Presidency

  1. says:

    Talk to the jury as though your client s fate depends on every word you utter Forget that you have any one to fall back upon, and you will do justice to yourself and your client Abraham LincolnThere are many levels of biography and history There are academic books, published by small academic presses There are popular biographies, written by journalists, etc., that tend to follow a narrative style Obviously, Dan Abram s short history of Abraham Lincoln s last murder trial fits the last category The author Dan Abrams is ABC s chief legal affairs anchor for ABC Normally, this isn t a book I would have gravitated towards, except for two things 1 I love Lincoln, and typically read a couple Lincoln books a year 2 This book s ghost writer yes Virginia, many books written by celebrities politicos athletes are actually penned by a ghostwriter is a good friend of mine I ve known David Fisher for years I ve stayed with him and his lovely wife on Fire Island, eaten with them a couple times in Manhatten and Riverdale and enjoyed David s perspective on politics, writing, and reading for years Anyway, a couple months ago we had dinner at an Upper Westside restaurant and his wife gave me her well loved ARC of this book I m constantly amazed at how fast and how well Dave writes Plus, my kids adore him The highlight of this book, and what sets David s work apart from other Lincoln biographies, was his use of Robert Roberts Hitt s transcript of the Peachy Quinn Harrison murder trial Hitt was a character himself and one I knew nothing about previously and was influential in the development of transcription I also enjoyed how the book explored the development of the American legal system during the pre Civil War period A lot of the legal precedents, values, and practices we take for granted now were being hammered out in frontier courts and circuits all across America Finally, it was fascinating to learn how far each of the lawyers and the judge associated with this trial went It seemed almost like America in the 1850s and 1860s was a place where someone with exceptonal talent could easily rise to the national stage Just look at Lincoln Dave has written over 20 New York Times bestsellers.

  2. says:

    This book covers the famous 1859 murder trial in Springfield, Illinois Abraham Lincoln defended Peachy Quinn Harrison Apparently, Harrison slashed Greek Crafton with a knife when Crafton and his friends attacked Harrison Crafton dies of the wound and Harrison is accused of murder He pleads self defense The trial recorder was Robert R Hill, one of early short hand trial stenographers The book is taken directly from the trial transcript Great courtroom drama Lincoln was a well known attorney in Springfield The town s people attended most of the trials as a form of entertainment.Abrams, beside cover the trial, also provides some history of the legal system of the 1800s I think the author s claim that this trial propelled Lincoln into the presidency is mistaken The only claim one could make is that it was Lincoln s last trial before declaring his campaign for the presidency If you are a history buff or are interested in the history of law, you will find this book interesting Dan Abrams is the legal affairs anchor for ABC News.I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible The book is eight hours and fifty eight minutes Adam Verner does an excellent job narrating the book Verner is a full time audiobook narrator He has won the Audiofile Earphones Award.

  3. says:

    The 2 star rating is of an average than anything This book deserves at least 4.5 stars for presenting a legal case that is interesting enough on its own, let alone because it includes insights into Abraham Lincoln pre presidency I was quickly caught up in the case and kept reading out of a real desire to know how it would end The authors balance the account of the trial with interesting asides about the history of the U.S legal system, simultaneously revealing the characters of the people involved, famous and not so famous.Unfortunately, in their quest to make the book engaging, Abrams and Fisher s narrative choices undermined my ability to believe most of what was being presented as fact and were a constant distraction from the story being told The book was inspired by the discovery of the transcript of the trial, which is quoted extensively in the text The authors note in the introduction that the transcript material was supplemented by research and material in books, newspapers and other sources related to the trial, events of the time period, and the main protagonists They also note that there were times when we had to deduce what was said in meetings or private conversations or suggest appropriate thoughts and or mannerisms It is this last point which brings the rating down to 2 stars I spent most of the book confused as to what was fact and what was deduced While it was easy to identify what came from the transcript, the reader is left on their own to figure out which of the quotes and descriptions were drawn from other secondary sources and which ones are the product of Abrams and Fisher s deductions No notes are provided and the bibliography is rather thin As a result I was forced to constantly shift between reading this book as a work of non fiction and as a work of fiction, which was exhausting and irritating by the end.Overall, I found it very hard to take this book seriously as a work of non fiction and wish that the authors had picked one or the other fiction or non fiction and stuck with it Their attempt to walk the middle ground requires far too much guesswork for the reader and was a constant distraction from what is otherwise a fascinating story.

  4. says:

    What a fascinating book this is Reading like a novel, it reveals the history of a murder case in which Abraham Lincoln defended an accused young man in Springfield, Illinois, in 1859 Due to the great good fortune of a transcript of the trial being found in the 1980 s, we are able to follow the trial almost verbatim from that hot summer so long ago.Before the development of stenography, verbatim transcripts of trials simply didn t exist We are lucky that Robert Hitt, a steno man who was known to Abraham Lincoln, was invited to come to Springfield to cover the murder trial in which Lincoln was one of the defending attorneys This could have been a dry, textbook like book, but instead it draws the reader in with its immediacy.Although most of the book is about the actual trial, the context in which the trial was set is beautifully explained The Lincoln Douglas debates which Hitt had also covered had recently taken place, elevating Abraham Lincoln to the national stage It was clear that he was likely to make a try for the Republican candidacy for president, and the eyes of the nation were watching the trial to see what kind of man he was Neither they, nor we, will be disappointed.If you are a student of history, interested in Abraham Lincoln in particular, or just like legal thrillers, this is the book for you It is a most interesting look at a time of Lincoln s life which is less well known than his early or later years, at a time when he was making his living as a lawyer in the growing Midwest Here we see him as those who knew him best saw him, in his own time and place I am so glad I read this book, and I heartily recommend it

  5. says:

    A well researched and nicely written account of Lincoln s defense in a murder case that could have altered the course of history had the trial outcome been different Abraham Lincoln had a substantial reputation as an attorney and an individual previous to him accepting this murder case The man put a lot on the line when he took on this responsibility with the Republican nomination for president in the upcoming 1860 election Somehow, given our 16th president s reputation for integrity, it s little wonder he took on the case and gave it his all.

  6. says:

    I did enjoy this book, however I thought Author Dad Abrams got off topic a lot The testimony of the witnesses was repetitive at times however I did learn a lot about Abraham Lincoln which was an objective to reading this book, he was an intelligent man and the materials I have read over the years of past US Presidents, I have come to understand it is a special intellect that makes a good solid president In describing the courtroom most of the court officials sat or stood in front of the judge s bench, separated from the gallery by a low rail called the bar called that because it was likened to the great sandbar in the Thames River east of London harbour Abram s often asked his dad how he could become a better writer like you, he responded there is only one way, read books, those words continue to inspire Dan even today.

  7. says:

    This book first grabbed my attention when I read that it was written from the original 1859 transcript that was found in the defendant s great grandson s garage, back in 1989 It seems crazy that such a valuable piece of history was simply in a shoebox.22 yr old Simeon Peachy Quinn Harrison was accused of killing Greek Crafton in what he claimed was self defense This was a high profile case that took place in Springfield Illinois and garnered much attention Lincoln was already known for his ability to argue a case This was before his run for the presidency and I found it very interesting to learn about him and how his peers viewed him, outside of what you might read in a school textbook Lincoln was a self taught lawyer and clearly one of the best in his time This case came at the time Lincoln was considering a run for the presidency Although he was viewed as the dark horse, he had many peers urging him on and backing him This case was the boost that propelled him.At this time, many laws were being created as situations arose Shorthand was also new Robert Hitt, a young stenographer at the time, had been hired to document the entire case The wealthy families of those involved paid for this in case they wanted to appeal, otherwise it would not have been done I really enjoyed going back in time and getting a feel for the simplicity of how law was handled and people s behaviors in that era I also found it interesting to read what paths each person s life took, after this case was finished.

  8. says:

    Ask yourself what is the justice in this case A LincolnExhaustive review of a trial transcript with explanatory amplifications By the authors own admission, Lincoln was already headed toward the presidency, and their work gives no indication how it propelled him to the presidency, rather how he dodged a bullet that could have killed his dark horse bid at the Republican nomination I must say I do not think myself fit for the presidency A Lincoln 1959 Based on the recently recovered transcript of Robert Roberts Hitt Telling the story from Hitt s point of view saved the author s from putting too many words into Lincoln s mouth But because the transcript was all they had that was new, the reader is subjected to pages of irrelevant background Too much analysis Hitt never heard another man able to turn words into feelings quite like that Unfortunately, Hitt did not record the closing arguments By everyone s admission this is where Lincoln won the case, but all we have is Hitt s summary and the authors speculation what was actually said No man has a good enough memory to be a successful liar A LincolnOf interest to aficionados of courtroom drama than to historians People grow into murders they didn t just happen A Lincoln

  9. says:

    Note This book was provided free of charge by Edelweiss Hanover Square All thoughts and opinions are my own The title of this book is not entirely accurate While this was the last sensational case that Lincoln handled as an attorney before his nomination for the presidency, he had a few smaller cases after this one finished in the summer of 1859 Also, it is a bit of a stretch to say that this case propelled him to the presidency, although it could have done a lot of harm had he lost the case or embarrassed himself in how he handled it Even so, this book manages to do something unusual, and that is provide something new to say about Lincoln studies by focusing on a long lost court transcript written by a noted court reporter named Hitt who serves as the center of this particular story Lincoln s relationship with the law 1 serves as a fertile place for people to write about for largely unknown insights about the man given the large amount of his life that has been picked pretty clean by writers The author does a good job here of placing the murder case and its political complexities in a larger societal context as well as the history of law, all of which I found to be handled well.The book takes a generally chronological approach to the case at its center, beginning with an introduction about a feud between two young people that ended up in the violent death of one of them, who had been a clerk for Lincoln and Herndon and whose grandfather had been a longtime political nemesis of Lincoln in Illinois politics, itinerant Methodist preacher Dixon Cartwright The author follows the course of the case and allows the detailed court transcript to make the hot and stuffy Springfield courthouse come alive, as well as the offices and taverns afterward where stories are swapped The author manages to keep tension alive about the case s outcome and also includes a few flashbacks about Lincoln s previous behavior of the law or how he was thought by others as well as Hitt s background and his work as an expert stenographer The author also engages in a bit of puffing up of the book s length to close to 300 pages by adding information about Lincoln s importance to malpractice law and the history of the laws of self defense and the somewhat informal nature of the legal practice in antebellum Illinois, all of which allow the reader to gain some understanding about the context of the law in early American history.What separates this book from a decent and competent book, though, is the deeper pathos to which this book is filled Somewhere around the middle of the book I was feeling slightly irritated by the fact that the author included so many reconstructed conversations about the stenographer with other people until I realized that the author was making a subtle point drawing the fate of two hotheaded young men whose feuding led to a fight that neither could back down from while preserving their honor, and how someone who did not want to fight felt forced in self defense to use deadly force against his assailant with the fate of the United States as a whole The warring factions in the outskirts of Springfield are connected to the warring factions within the United States as the Civil War approached, with honor and pride forcing a conflict that most people would have preferred to avoid, and where many men knew what was right but were unable to keep the nation as a whole from having a fight every bit as tragic as the one which led to the court case by which Lincoln turned from a man trying to make peace in his own community to a man who presided over the most destructive war that we have ever fought as a nation against ourselves 1 See, for example

  10. says:

    This was well written if you like narrative non fiction, and I did appreciate hearing about the pre Presidency Lincoln, but for the most part, this is just a blow by blow of a trial that happened over 150 years ago, with a lot of color commentary about how amazing Lincoln is.I think, for the most part, real trials are pretty boring because they dissect in agonizing detail everything that happened in and around an event that could be described in about 5 minutes There was some beef between two people in Springfield, Illinois the nature of which I still don t totally understand, despite having read an entire book about it combatant A and two of his friends confronted and attacked combatant B in a bar, at which point combatant B stabbed combatant A, which eventually led to his death Now go on for a few hundred pages about their relationships, add some pontificating about how everyone in the courtroom probably felt at the time, and you ve got this book.I think the most interesting take away here was that at the time, criminal defendants were not allowed to testify in their own defense, under the theory that they would probably lie to save themselves anyway Just another strange part of the highly formalized kabuki style argumentation that is a legal trial.2.5 of 5 stars

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