Sunday, January 7, 2007

Abraham Lincoln: OMOM Essay 15

"About the Sculpture" discusses why Saint Gaudens's Standing Lincoln in Chicago is superior as a work of art to Henry Kirke Brown's Lincoln in Union Square. I'm particularly happy to have been given permission to print a photo of the Saint Gaudens Lincoln taken by David Finn, who I've decided (after years of compulsively browsing art books) is my favorite sculpture photographer. Meeting Mr. Finn was one of the few joys of the two long years I spent seeking a publisher interested in a book on outdoor sculpture in New York.
I had seen occasional references to President Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the Civil War, but hadn't learned enough to decide whether it was a justified wartime measure or a breach of civil liberties. While researching Lincoln for Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan I investigated the habeas corpus issue further, and ended up writing "About the Subject" on one specific case of it in 1863: Lincoln's treatment of Clement Vallandigham, a Northern politician who was a very vocal Confederate sympathizer. The Vallandigham case was one of the inspirations for a famous short story you may recall from your high-school days: Edward Everett Hale's "The Man Without a Country."

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