Wednesday, February 22, 2017

In Search of the Real Abe Lincoln

No one interested in American history can escape Abraham Lincoln. Over the years the outpouring of books, articles, essays, and poems has been enormous, so much so that this form of activity is sometimes referred to as “the Lincoln industry.” With all of this attention devoted to one man, how can there be a “Lincoln puzzle”? Surely all Americans know him — walking for miles to borrow (or return) books, reading by firelight, splitting fence rails, wrestling with the boys (always winning) — this simple, rugged, honest son of the frontier, a man of the people, called by them to save the Union and free the slaves, presiding with melancholy anguish over a long and bloody war, comforting Mrs. Bixby for the loss of her sons. Is this not what they see when they go to the Lincoln Memorial and look up at that brooding giant whose somber gaze seems to penetrate the very meaning of life? Where is the puzzle?


  1. The defence of Lincoln seems to be the claim that at heart Lincoln wanted integration. He simply had to speak against it in public in order to maintain popularity, is the claim.

    One of the interesting things I've seen over the years is how Lincoln was researching where he could resettle freed blacks. So, he clearly did consider expulsion. And many Northerners of course wanted expulsion. They hated slavery, because they didn't want blacks anywhere in the US.

    We also expelled relatively smaller numbers of Amerindians, so I'm not suggesting we were somehow "enlightened" with regard to diversity.

  2. resettle freed blacks

    Yes and some went to Liberia.