Ideas for Reports and Papers

1. Sandburg mentions several games played at parties on the frontier, such as “Skip to My Lou.” How were these games played? What kind of musical instruments might have been used? (A valuable source here might be Sandburg’s own collection of folk songs, The New American Songbag. New York: Broadcast Music, 1950.)

2. One of the digressions from the main story of Abe Lincoln concerns the presidential campaign and administration of Andrew Jackson. How do these events resemble or differ from present-day campaigns and administrations?

3. The Mike Fink stories that were popular in Lincoln’s time belong to a tradition known as “frontier humor.” What other examples of this kind of humor can you find? How are they similar to or different from the Mike Fink stories?

4. Read some of Sandburg’s poetry. Which literary devices does he use in both his poetry and prose? Is his use of these devices more effective in some instances than in others? Give examples.

5. Look through the story for references to violence, such as Abe’s fight with William Grigsby. Are violent confrontations like these still common in our society? Why or why not?

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