Abraham Lincoln occupies a unique place in the American pantheon. Symbol, sage, myth and martyr, he is an American icon – Honest Abe and The Great Emancipator, a Janus-faced demigod sculpted in marble. But this is the post-assassination Lincoln. During his lifetime Lincoln elicited very different reactions. The writings and speeches presented in this scholarly edition illuminate Lincoln as a political thinker in the context of his own time and political situation. Opening with a concise yet rich introduction, the texts that follow are complete and carefully edited, with extensive annotation and footnotes to provide a clearer insight into Lincoln the man, the politician and political thinker. His views on race and slavery, on secession and civil war and on the contradiction (as his saw it) between the Declaration of Independence ('all men are created equal') and the original Constitution (which condones slavery) are laid out in Lincoln's own well-crafted words.