Front Matter The Beginning of the U.S Franklin's Return Troubles After the War The Constitution The First President Washington's Troubles A Wonderful Invention Death of Washington The U.S. Buys Land War With African Pirates Death of Somers The First Steamboat The Gerrymander The War of 1812 "Don't Give Up the Ship" The Star-Spangled Banner Clinton's "Big Ditch" More Land Bought Jackson Stories Jackson's Presidency New Inventions Whitman's Ride The Mormons The First Telegraph The Mexican War The Slavery Quarrel Daniel Webster's Youth Webster's Speeches Early Times in California Discovery of El Dorado Rush to California The Underground Railroad The First World's Fair John Brown's Raid Lincoln's Youth The First Shot The Call to Arms The President's Decision Admiral Farragut The Monitor and Merrimac The Penninsular Campaign Barbara Frietchie Lincoln's Vow The Battle of Gettysburg The Taking of Vicksburg Riots, Raids, and Battles The Burning of Atlanta The March to the Sea Sheridan's Ride The Doings of the Fleet Lee's Surrender Decoration Day Lincoln Stories Lincoln's Rebukes A President's Son A Noble Southerner Hard Times in the South The Atlantic Cable Best Way to Settle Quarrels Our One Hundredth Birthday Gold for Greenbacks A Clever Engineer Death of Garfield The Celebration at Yorktown The Great Statue A Terrible Flood Lynch Law The Great White City The Explosion of the Maine The Battle of Manila Hobson's Brave Deed Surrender of Santiago The Hawaiian Islands The Annexation of Hawaii The Philippine War Assassination of McKinley The Panama Canal Roosevelt's Administration Two Presidents German Views The World War Since the World War

Story of the Great Republic - Helene Guerber

A President's Son

Lincoln was elected President twice. His first term ended in 1865, and in 1864, when the time came to elect his successor, many people were tired of the war, and doubtful whether all this bloodshed was not the effect of bad management. This was an anxious time for the country, and although Lincoln would have been only too glad to withdraw, and leave the awful responsibility to some one else, he knew it would be wrong not to stay at his post. When some one, therefore, asked his opinion, he said it hardly seemed possible that a stranger could steer the "ship of state" in such a tempest, and made even the most ignorant catch his meaning by saying: "I don't believe it is safe to swap mules while crossing a stream."

Lincoln was re-elected, as you have heard, and in his second inaugural speech he said these beautiful words: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right,—as God gives us to see the right,—let us finish the work we are in: to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle,—and for his widow and his orphans,—to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."

Besides the nation's sorrows, which he took so sorely to heart that he spent many a night in agonized prayer or tramping up and down the White House, Lincoln had to bear a great private grief—the loss of his favorite child, Willie.

Fond of all children, Lincoln was devoted to his own boys. One of these, "Tad," as everybody called him, was still a little fellow. He was so devoted to his father that he followed him about like a faithful dog, climbing up into his arms to rest even when Lincoln was deep in business conversation.

This little lad always begged to go along when the President visited the army, so all the soldiers knew and loved him. He insisted upon wearing a sort of uniform, too, and when the news of a victory came to the White House, he was always beside himself with joy.

Once such welcome tidings came in the evening, and a crowd assembled outside. It stood there, cheering loudly, and calling for the President to make a speech. One of the secretaries went to get Lincoln, and as the presidential party came into the room, they heard a scuffle, and saw Tad escape from the hands of a man who was trying to hold him. Rushing to the window, the child danced up and down before the people, waving his flag and cheering like mad.

The crowd shouted at the sight of the delighted boy, and, sharing his joy, cheered him again and again. Indeed, they were so amused that they could scarcely stop laughing long enough to listen to Lincoln's brief speech, which they had come there to hear. Lincoln and his boy both delighted in the music of military bands; but while Tad preferred the Northern war songs of the day, "Dixie "was Lincoln's favorite tune. This was the most famous of the Southern songs; for, as the slave states lay south of the Mason and Dixon line, the South was known as "Dixie Land." Once, when Lincoln asked for this tune, some narrow-minded person remarked in a shocked tone that it was a Confederate air! Lincoln good-naturedly answered: "Well, General Grant has captured it now, I believe, so henceforth it is ours by the laws of war."