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New Salem State Park

Lincoln Recalls Studying

Many years after Abraham Lincoln took up law at New Salem, he heard from Isham Reavis, who wanted to study with him. In a November 5, 1855, letter Lincoln turned him down, saying:

"If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already. It is but a small matter whether you read with any body or not. I did not read with any one. Get the books, and read and study them till, you understand them in their principal features; and that is the main thing. It is of no consequence to be in a large town while you are reading. I read at New-Salem, which never had three hundred people living in it. The books, and your capacity for understanding them, are just the same in all places."

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