David Herbert Donald: Lincoln had, I think, as little experience as anybody who has occupied the White House. Think back on it. He had served one term in Congress without distinction. He had never been mayor of his town, never been governor of his state. He had never been a member of a Supreme Court. He was very little known, and there was a feeling that he had never actually done anything much. He was recognized as a good lawyer, but he was the head of a two-man law firm only, not one of the big Chicago firms. They did try to enlist him, by the way, to come up to Chicago and live. He said no. He was used to a really small firm in Springfield. So how did a man like that learn experience? How did he learn to cope with people, how to lead? Well first of all, he had an innate tact. Second, he started off with some bad blunders. It took time for him to get on his feet, so to speak. Almost any new president, as a matter of fact, it took time to learn the ropes in Washington. He worked at it very closely and very hard, and by the middle of his first term, he was already a master politician, well endowed with the knowledge it takes to rule in Congress, to make suggestions, and to get your way. But it was not something that came easy for him. He had to work at it.