I’m about 80 pages from the end of Team of Rivals. It’s been a wonderful book that I have been too long in ending. Basically, it’s the story of Lincoln’s ascent to and stay in the White House and how he surrounded himself by people who had previously been his opposition (usually his opponents inside the Republican party). Over and over and over, the people who chose not to get to know Lincoln used and abused him (which was found out later by their correspondence). McLellan and Chase are the most notable examples. The people who disliked or hated Lincoln and gave him a chance found him entirely admirable and dropped their own ambitions to follow him (notably Seward).
This is my first real biography of Lincoln and I tried to put aside the things I thought I knew. The strongest and most glaring quality I see in Lincoln is his repeated emphasis on passing over transgressions against him. It fully aggravated most of the men (and his wife) around him, but in the short and long term, it had wonderful effects for him to let a wrong go “unrighted” for a while and let a rebuke be rather turned into a quiet wait or even an overt praise. There have been moments I have been flabbergasted at his total magnanimity (and have been making notes of some of them). While I’m not implying Lincoln was even a Christian, I have repeatedly been reminded of the phrase about Christ that when He was reviled, He reviled not again.
Lincoln was steady, calm, collected, wise, insightful and more. He refused to be hasty. He had amazing clarity in times of murky facts. I’ve been bedazzled in regard to his public ways.
Upon hearing that a political foe had lost a state election, a Secretary expressed strong satisfaction, Lincoln replied to him,
You have more of that feeling of personal resentment than I. A man has not time to spend half his life in quarrels. If any man ceases to attack me, I never remember the past against him.