Episode 068: Richard Brookhiser, Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln


On February 12, 1809, Nancy Hanks Lincoln gave birth to her second child, a son that she and her husband Thomas Lincoln named Abraham.

Abraham Lincoln grew up as the son of a poor farmer. Yet, he became the 16th President of the United States.

How did the son of a poor farmer achieve election to the presidency?

Today, we investigate the life of Abraham Lincoln and his journey to the presidency with Richard Brookhiser, author of Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln.

About the Show

Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.

It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.

Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.

Episode Summary

Richard BrookhiserIn this episode, Richard Brookhiser, author of Founder’s Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln, leads our investigation into how Abraham Lincoln became the 16th President of the United States.

During our exploration, Richard reveals how and why Abraham Lincoln entered politics; Lincoln’s political ideology and the role founding fathers played in shaping his political ideas; And, details about how Lincoln received the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and used it to win election to the presidency.

What You’ll Discover

  • How historians research ideas
  • When and how Lincoln first encountered the legacies of the founding fathers
  • Which founders most influenced Lincoln and his ideas
  • Why the Lincoln family moved from Kentucky to Indiana
  • How Lincoln became a politician
  • The Lincoln-Douglas debates
  • How the founding fathers influenced Stephen Douglas’s politics
  • Evolution of Lincoln's views on slavery
  • The Anaconda Plan
  • The Emancipation Proclamation
  • How Lincoln became the Republican Party presidential nominee in 1860
  • The Election of 1860
  • Lincoln’s leadership style
  • Why we should understand how Lincoln understood the founding fathers
Abraham Lincoln taken February 27, 1860 in New York City by Mathew Brady, the day of his famous Cooper Union speech


Links to People, Places, and Publications


Time Warp PlainTime Warp Question

If Stephen Douglas had lived, would he have challenged Lincoln in the Election of 1864 and, if he had, how would history be different?

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