Although citing individual letters for biographical and critical purposes, Lincoln's letters have not been studied as a whole.
But careful study of his letters reveals that studying Lincoln's letter writing is fundamental to understanding his development as a writer of memorable prose.
Early, he employed Hugh Blair's popular idea of developing ""taste"" in written documents, while he later carefully studied the letters of his contemporaries, and using ""imitation""as a guide, he learned to write, ultimately composing well over 5000 letters.
Lincoln's letter writing began in his youth in rural Indiana, developed further in his early life as a lawyer and nascent politician, and finally concluded in his letters to his cabinet.
As he became more proficient as a writer, Lincoln gradually employed more sophisticated rhetorical strategies.
While not necessarily focusing on his most memorable letters, the focus is on his developing effective rhetorical strategies to meet a variety of situations.