This volume asserts that the three Kentucky Presidents - Abraham Lincoln, Zachary Taylor, and Jefferson Davis - were profoundly shaped by their experiences in Kentucky, poised as it was on the border between North and South, the East and the Western frontier. It influenced both their personal and political lives. The contrasting traits of Western frontiersman and southern aristocrat illuminate Kentucky's heritage and affected these political leaders who took presidency during one of America's most troubled eras. The text finds that frontier values influenced Lincoln's and Taylor's views on the major issues of their time: extension of slavery, which they opposed, and preservation of the Union, which they supported. Davis's career relects Southern values leading him to support the opposing arguments in both these debates.
The late Holman Hamilton was professor emeritus of history at the University of Kentucky. Among his writings are Prologue to Conflict: The Crisis and Compromise of 1850 and a two-volume biography of Zachary Taylor.