Jonathan W. White

Lincoln on Law, Leadership, and Life

Cumberland House 2015

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in HistoryNew Books in LawNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network September 13, 2018 Ian J. Drake

Jonathan W. White, an associate professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University, is the author of Lincoln on Law, Leadership, and Life (Cumberland...

Jonathan W. White, an associate professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University, is the author of Lincoln on Law, Leadership, and Life (Cumberland House, 2015). In this work White reveals the moral character of Abraham Lincoln through his law practice.  Lincoln was a lawyer on the American frontier in Illinois, representing clients ranging from individuals in divorces and railroads in contract disputes.  Throughout his career he rendered advice, not only to clients but to prospective young lawyers and friends.  Lincoln’s experience as a lawyer is both revealing about the norms of law practice in the antebellum period and about the formation of Lincoln’s approach to law and governance, which would influence his behavior as President during the Civil War.  White has an eye for entertaining and revealing anecdotes.  In revealing how Lincoln practiced law White helps uncover Lincoln as a person, beyond the reverential historical figure we all know from America’s Civil War.


Ian J. Drake is an Associate Professor of Political Science and Law at Montclair State University. His scholarly interests include American legal and constitutional history and political theory.

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