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The Lincoln Miracle: An Evening with Ed Achorn

Date & Time
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
200 North Main, Bloomington, IL, 61701
The McLean County Museum of History is pleased to welcome back Edward Achorn, author and Pulitzer Prize finalist for Commentary, for a hybrid program on his newest book, The Lincoln Miracle: Inside the Republican Convention that Changed History.

Achorn’s book is a vivid, behind-the-scenes story of perhaps the most consequential political moment in American history—Abraham Lincoln’s history-changing nomination to lead the Republican Party in the 1860 presidential election. It chronicles the tense political drama unfolding over six days, beginning on Saturday, May 12, 1860.

Lincoln had a record of political failure. In 1858, he had lost a celebrated Senate bid against incumbent Stephen A. Douglas, his second failed Senate run and had not held public office since one term in Congress a decade earlier. As the Republican National Convention opened in mid-May 1860 in Chicago, powerful New York Senator William Seward was the overwhelming favorite for the presidential nomination, with notables like Salmon Chase and Edward Bates in the running. Few thought Lincoln stood a chance—though stubborn Illinois circuit Judge David Davis had come to fight for his friend anyway.

The book explores the genius of Lincoln’s quiet strategy, the vicious partisanship tearing apart America, the fierce battles raging over racism and slavery, and booming Chicago as a symbol of modernization transforming the nation. Closely following the shrewd insiders on hand, from Seward power broker Thurlow Weed to editor Horace Greeley — bent on stopping his former friend, Seward—Achorn brings alive arguably the most consequential political story in America’s history.

Edward Achorn is also the author of the highly-praised Every Drop of Blood: The Momentous Second Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, as well as two acclaimed books about nineteenth-century baseball and American culture: Fifty-nine in ’84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had and The Summer of Beer and Whiskey. He lives in an 1840s farmhouse in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.

This program is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Museum’s Governor Fifer Courtroom and online at Copies of Achorn’s book, The Lincoln Miracle, will be for sale, and a book signing will immediately follow the program.