Lincoln in New Orleans: The 1828-1831 Flatboat Voyages and Their Place in History
by Richard Campanella
In 1828, a teenaged Abraham Lincoln guided a flatboat down the Mississippi River to New Orleans. The adventure marked his first visit to a major city and exposed him to the nation’s largest slave marketplace. It also nearly cost him his life, in a nighttime attack in the Louisiana plantation country. That trip, and a second one in 1831, would form the two longest journeys of Lincoln’s life, his only visits to the Deep South, and his foremost experience in a racially, culturally, and linguistically diverse urban environment.
Lincoln in New Orleans reconstructs, to levels of detail and analyses never before attempted, the nature of those two journeys and examines their influence on Lincoln’s life, presidency, and subsequent historiography. It also sheds light on river commerce and New Orleans in the antebellum era, because, as exceptional as Lincoln later came to be, he was entirely archetypal of the Western rivermen of his youth who traveled regularly between the “upcountry” and the Queen City of the South.
This is a Lincoln story, a Mississippi River story, a New Orleans story, and an American story.
About the author:
Richard Campanella, a research professor at Tulane University and associate director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research, is the author of multiple critically acclaimed books, including Bienville’s Dilemma (2008) and Geographies of New Orleans (2006).
Softcover; 383 pages with 165 illustrations
Release Date: November 6, 2010