Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America

Lincoln s Greatest Case The River the Bridge and the Making of America In the early hours of May the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge the first railroad bridge ever to span the Mississippi River Soon after the newly constru

  • Title: Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America
  • Author: Brian McGinty
  • ISBN: 9780871407849
  • Page: 324
  • Format: Hardcover
  • In the early hours of May 6, 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge the first railroad bridge ever to span the Mississippi River Soon after, the newly constructed vessel, crowded with passengers and livestock, erupted into flames and sank in the river below, taking much of the bridge with it.As lawyer and Lincoln scholar Brian McGIn the early hours of May 6, 1856, the steamboat Effie Afton barreled into a pillar of the Rock Island Bridge the first railroad bridge ever to span the Mississippi River Soon after, the newly constructed vessel, crowded with passengers and livestock, erupted into flames and sank in the river below, taking much of the bridge with it.As lawyer and Lincoln scholar Brian McGinty dramatically reveals in Lincoln s Greatest Case, no one was killed, but the question of who was at fault cried out for an answer Backed by powerful steamboat interests in St Louis, the owners of the Effie Afton quickly pressed suit, hoping that a victory would not only prevent the construction of any future bridges from crossing the Mississippi but also thwart the burgeoning spread of railroads from Chicago The fate of the long dreamed of transcontinental railroad lurked ominously in the background, for if rails could not cross the Mississippi by bridge, how could they span the continent all the way to the Pacific The official title of the case was Hurd et al v The Railroad Bridge Company, but it could have been St Louis v Chicago, for the transportation future of the whole nation was at stake Indeed, was it to be dominated by steamboats or by railroads Conducted at almost the same time as the notorious Dred Scott case, this new trial riveted the nation s attention Meanwhile, Abraham Lincoln, already well known as one of the best trial lawyers in Illinois, was summoned to Chicago to join a handful of crack legal practitioners in the defense of the bridge While there, he succesfully helped unite the disparate regions of the country with a truly transcontinental rail system and, in the process, added to the stellar reputation that vaulted him into the White House less than four years later.Re creating the Effie Afton case from its unlikely inception to its controversial finale, McGinty brilliantly animates this legal cauldron of the late 1850s, which turned out to be the most consequential trial in Lincoln s nearly quarter century as a lawyer Along the way, the tall prairie lawyer s consummate legal skills and instincts are also brought to vivid life, as is the history of steamboat traffic on the Mississippi, the progress of railroads west of the Appalachians, and the epochal clashes of railroads and steamboats at the river s edge.Lincoln s Greatest Case is legal history on a grand scale and an essential first act to a pivotal Lincoln drama we did not know was there.

    • ☆ Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America || ¹ PDF Read by Ê Brian McGinty
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      Published :2019-07-22T14:32:05+00:00

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    • Brian McGinty

      Brian McGinty Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America book, this is one of the most wanted Brian McGinty author readers around the world.

    213 thoughts on “Lincoln's Greatest Case: The River, the Bridge, and the Making of America

    • This is one of those books that you keep reading because you think it has to get better but never does. This book is really about a court case between steamboat owners and bridge owners that Lincoln happens to be a part of but never really a central character. I was expecting great examples of Lincoln's abilities in the courtroom. How he wowed the world with this case. Instead it was a lot of tedious information about lawyers, judges, and the court case. The case ended on hung jury and the book [...]


    • As a native son of Rock Island, IL, I learned about Lincoln's role in the Effie Afton steamboat case at sometime in my local schooling. When I read a review of Lincoln's Greatest Case in the the Times and then saw it on the shelves of my neighborhood library, I decided to read it. I think that Mr. McGinty's book could have made a decent article, but there is not enough material to justify a book, even a slim volume. I managed to slog through the pages of numbing detail about the trial, the desig [...]


    • I chose this popular history book as the text for a colloquium I taught at the 58th annual Washington State Judicial Conference. Twenty five judges read the text in advance of the day-long class/discussion. The book, written by a lawyer about lawyers, relates the story of the 1857 case of Jacob S. Hurd, Joseph W. Smith, and Alexander W. Kidwell vs. The Railroad Bridge Company – popularly known as the Effie Afton case. The Effie Afton was a steamboat which ran into a bridge footing and started [...]


    • I love all things Abraham Lincoln, and this was a good story about his participation in a trial pitting the steamboat industry against the emerging railroad industry. McGinty makes the case that Lincoln's summary in the trial was pivotal to his political career.The story is pieced together from newspaper accounts and the legal papers of Lincoln, as the trial transcript was lost in the 1871 Chicago fire. So there is by necessity supposition as to actions, words, etc but McGinty supposes based on [...]


    • Although I liked parts of this book, this book is guilty of false advertisement. Very little of the actual court case involves Lincoln. I think he is mentioned once during the trial and then there are about 10 pages about Lincoln’s closing argument. McGinty was clearly limited by his primary source material (all the court records were destroyed in the Chicago Fire), but Lincoln is by far the main character. Also, the trial ended in a hung jury, and Lincoln wasn’t involved with the rest of th [...]


    • A fascinating book about one of Lincoln's most important but little discussed trials. The trial was that of Hurd et al. v. The Railroad Bridge Company and pits powerful Mississippi River steamboat interests against those of the nascent railroad companies. In short, a side-wheeler steamboat, the Effie Afton, plows into the piers of a railroad bridge crossing over the Mississippi River at Rock Island between Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. The first bridge to be built over the river, the results of [...]


    • TEDIOUS!! This book is an exhaustive legal history of a pivotal case in 1857, pitting the railroad vs. river (steamship) commerce. It does not work as popular literature, however! Too many details, which are not central to the story, bog it down. It took me over 2 weeks to slog through only 191 pages of text.As was true of many issues of the time, the future of slavery hinged on a more southern bridge across the Mississippi River, than the first one, built at Rock Island between Illinois and Iow [...]


    • A rather short book, but the definitive account of the Effie Afton trial of 1857, which legal historian McGinty argues was the most important one of Abraham Lincoln's nearly 25-year career as a lawyer. This is Hurd et al v. The Railroad Bridge Co. Hurd's steamboat "Effie Afton" crashed into the RR bridge spanning the Mississippi River from Rock Island, Illinois to Davenport, Iowa and then caught fire. Hurd sued for damages---and also have the Rock Island Bridge removed as an obstruction to river [...]


    • I received a copy of this book for free through Giveaways.Lincoln's Greatest Case contains an occasional interesting fact, but overall it's not worth reading.This book is a disappointment and not at all what I expected. It's overly detailed, tedious, and repetitive. A big problem is the subject; there's not much material there to begin with. The incident was not monumental or unique, and Lincoln's role in the case was fairly small. Even though I love history, I was terribly bored by this book. [...]


    • I received this book through "Good Reads Giveaway."This is a highly detailed and researched book about our greatest president, giving us insight into Lincoln's personality and skills as a lawyer. It enhances my appreciation of the man and of 19th Century America. We feel so "short changed" by today's political scene where the TV Personality seems more important than the message. It is a pleasure to read about a "flesh and blood" man who demonstrated honesty, intelligence and competence.


    • An easy read, McGinty puts the ?Effie Afton case in context of Lincoln's life and development as a lawyer and politician together with some pertinent social and economic history. It was a disappointment in the sense that the records of the time are too sketchy to convey a real sense of Lincoln's courtroom performance. A nit: I noted the term "principal" used where it ought to have been "principle."


    • My boss loaned me this book unasked. When your boss just loans you a book, you feel obligated to read it. But, i couldn't care less about the war between ships and rail. That said, there were some interesting things tidbits in the book. But, the author did seem to be all over the place. For a book that's supposed to be about a specific case there was a great deal of background on Lincoln's early law career and his entrance into politics.


    • Not only is this a look at a pivotal point in Lincoln's life, it is an examination of the transition from water transportation to railroads. It reminded me of another book, "River Horse," in which the author points out that we have turned our backs on our rivers. They were once the lifeblood of the nation, carrying produce and news and people throughout the land.


    • I kept going back and forth between 2 and 3 stars. Parts of the book were really interesting and some of it was just tedious, especially the day by day rehash of the trial. There was a lot of repetition. I finally decided that the historical timeline included all of the information you needed to know and the book was unnecessary. This would have been better as a magazine article or feature.


    • This was an interesting look at Lincoln from a different angle. It's nice to see iconic figures presented in different ways like this. I did think the author stretched the point of this being his greatest case a bit far at times, but he did have some salient points that this case was a turning point for American transportation.


    • Hard to believe now, but for Lincoln's capability as an able lawyers, railroad bridges might not have been allowed to cross rivers. The outcome of a trial, are bridges a hindrance to navigation or vital to the nations progress from East to West? Steamboats against the railroads. Lincoln got a $400. fee and the author got a book.


    • If you are a lawyer, a Lincoln-phile, and/or interested in the story of America's westward expansion, then you'll really enjoy this book. If you are none of those things, you'll probably be bored, even though it is well written.



    • From the Christian Science Monitor: "McGinty does a masterful job bringing this 157-year-old case to life, drawing on the extensive coverage of it in Chicago and St. Louis newspapers, while studiously noting the regional biases in the reporting. The official trial records were lost in the Chicago fire of 1871. Lincoln, often remembered as a “prairie lawyer,” was brought into this big city trial as a courtroom gunslinger, well after the suit had been filed. He boasted a diverse portfolio, inc [...]


    • Great read! The author does an outstanding job discussing one of Abraham Lincoln's most famous trials, the "Effie Afton Case" from 1857. Wonderful history of steamboats on the inland waterways and the railroads that ultimately proved to be their doom. Evenhanded and well written. A must for anyone looking to understand a little more about Abraham Lincoln.


    • This was an interesting book on Abraham Lincoln's participation in a famous Steamboat versus Railroad interests relating to a trial about the Rock Island Bridge. The first Railroad bridge to span the Mississippi River.


    • If you are interested in 19th Century transportation technology, the settling of the West, Lincoln, legal history and some of the factors leading up to the Civil War, this is your book. I found it a great read, but I can see that for some readers it just wouldn't hit their sweet spot.


    • The best historians connect events into a unified context so that we see events through other lenses, expanding our understanding of the events. This is the case with McGinty's book, but really, the introduction is sufficient to give the reader that enlightenment.






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