Abraham Lincoln

  • Sculptor: Henry Kirke Brown
  • Dedicated: 1870
  • Medium and size: Bronze (11 feet), granite pedestal (approximately 14.5 feet)
  • Location: Union Square, on a line with 16th Street
  • Subway: 4, 5, 6, N, R, W or L to Union Square

Other Lincolns

Lincoln Chicago

Above: Saint Gaudens’s Standing Lincoln in Chicago, dedicated in 1887, is one of our best images of Lincoln and one of the greatest works of American sculpture. Here it is with the full setting.

Lincoln D.C.

Above: The only serious competition for the title of best Lincoln sculpture is Daniel Chester French’s figure in the Lincoln Memorial, in Washington, D.C. (photo: Wikipedia / Jeff Kubina)

For more on evaluating sculptures in esthetic, philosophical, emotional, or art-historical terms, see the Appendix A (“How to Read a Sculpture”) in Outdoor Monuments of Manhattan and Getting More Enjoyment from Art You Love.

Favorite Lincoln Speeches

Lincoln on individual rights vs. divine right:

That is the real issue. … It is the eternal struggle between these two principles - right and wrong - throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time, and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity, and the other the divine right of kings. It is the same principle in whatever shape it develops itself. It is the same spirit that says, "You toil and work and earn bread, and I'll eat it." No matter in what shape it comes, whether from the mouth of a king, who seeks to bestride the people ofhis own nation and live by the fruit of their labour, or from one race of men as an apology for enslaving another race, - it is the same tyrannical principle. … Whenever the issue can be distinctly made, and all extraneous matter thrown out, so that men can fairly see the real difference between the parties, this controversy will soon be settled, and it will be done peaceably, too. There will be no war, no violence. It will be placed again where the wisest and best men of the world placed it. – Lincoln, from the final Douglas Debate, 10/15/1858

And one of the great short speeches of all time:

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here; but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us, the living, rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us, that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. – Lincoln, Gettysburg Addess, read at the dedication of the National Cemetery at Gettysburg on 11/19/1863

Gettysburg Address Chicago

Above: Gettysburg Address, on one of the spheres flanking Saint Gaudens's Lincoln in Chicago.

Henry Kirke Brown

Among the most notable works by Brown (1814-1886, b. Leyden, Mass.) are General Nathanael Greene, 1867, and General Winfield Scott, 1871, both in Washington, D.C.).

Manhattan has Washington and Lincoln  at Union Square, 1856 and 868. Brooklyn has DeWitt Clinton, ca. 1850 (Green-Wood Cemetery), and Lincoln, 1866 (Prospect Park).


The tune here is based on the "Battle Cry of Freedom," a popular song in the Civil War that was used by Lincoln as a campaign song in the 1864 presidential election.

Cross References

Copyright (c) 2013 Dianne L. Durante