If you're interested in understanding Abraham Lincoln, allow me to suggest three books I've read during the past four years --
Can't say that everything in these books pleased me, but I learned more about Lincoln and his time from them than anything else. I had no idea that the "Free Soil" movement aimed not just to forbid slavery in the territories, but to prevent settlement by anyone other than white people.
As Lincoln said in the 1850's, ''Is it not rather our duty to make labor more respectable by preventing all black competition, especially in the territories?'' He went on to warn that if slavery were allowed to spread, ''Negro equality will be abundant, as every white laborer will have occasion to regret when he is elbowed from his plow or his anvil by slave niggers.''"'What Lincoln Believed': The Great Democrat," by Scott Malcomson, May 22, 2005, NYT Review of Books
"But for the difference in habit of observation,'' Lincoln once wondered aloud, ''why did Yankees, almost instantly, discover gold in California, which had been trodden upon, and overlooked, by Indians and Mexican greasers, for centuries?'' As his language suggests, Lincoln saw American destiny as white.