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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lincoln and the Civil War

"Lincoln was more than the "black man’s president" or "the Great Emancipator"; he was also "the savior of the Union." But he was also more than that; by leading a successful war to preserve "government of the people, by the people and for the people," he was "the Vindicator of Democracy." He succeeded because he somehow managed to be strong-willed without being wilful, moral without being moralistic, and righteous without being self-righteous because he inspired confidence and affection; because he a preternatural understanding of public opinion; because his sense of political timing was exquisite; because he had developed and extraordinarily high level of psychological maturity and balance; because he masterfully kept the Republican party (and by extension the North itself) unified; and because he was supremely eloquent in articulating the aims of the war. Without those qualities, he wold have failed, the North would have lost the war, slavery would have long persisted, and the cause of democracy in the world would have received a severe setback."

With that concluding paragraph, author Michael Burlingame sums up his wonderful assesment of Lincoln as President. There have to be thousands of books on the Civil War and hundreds on Abraham Lincoln but this small book is one of the best. I highly recommend it.


Montanagirl said...

Hmmmmm, you do read the most interesting things!

Arkansas Patti said...

I too am a fan of Lincoln. He was a complex man with flaws that did nothing to diminish what he accomplished.

Vicki said...

I loved Doris Kearns Goodwin's book "Team of Rivals" on Lincoln and his impact on our nation. This man's life illustrates the delicate road of adherence to one's principles and being able to govern. I feel that we today have much to learn from his example in the turbulent times that he lived in, but unfortunately did not live through. Thanks for the link to my blog, that is very nice of you.

EcoRover said...

I have a running argument with my American History teacher friend Chris re: America's greatest President, Lincoln vs Jefferson. Looks like Chris is winning the argument this week.

Bud said...

Thanks to your recommendation, I have begun reading The Girl in the Blue Beret.

Will you be requiring a book report later? :)

Loree Huebner said...

Eric and I have read many books about Lincoln, but not this one. We'll take your recommendation and check it out.

We went into the Lincoln Book Store in downtown Chicago a few years back and held an invitation to Lincoln's second inaugural ball in our hands. We also held the real/original complete set of carte de vistes of murder suspects (including Booth's)that were used to identify the suspects. Awesome stuff to see.

Veronica Wald said...

President Lincoln was consistently the best orator I know of.

RoadDog said...

As a relocated southerner, Lincoln wasn't a favorite of mine. However, I wish we'd had him as president. He was an example of a man being in the right place at the right time.

By the way, I will be starting a new Civil War blog January 1st, one just devoted to the Naval aspects of the war. The old one will continue with emphasis on Illinois, NC and anything I find interesting.