Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory / Edition 2by Barry Schwartz
Pub. Date: 07/01/2000
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Abraham Lincoln has long dominated the pantheon of American presidents. From his lavish memorial in Washington and immortalization on Mount Rushmore, one might assume he was a national hero rather than a controversial president who came close to losing his 1864 bid for reelection. Drawing on a wide array of materialspainting and sculpture, popular magazines and school textbooks, newspaper accounts and oratoryBarry Schwartz aims at this sort of contradiction in his study of the role Lincoln's reputation and memory has played in American life.
Schwartz explains, for example, how dramatic funeral rites elevated Lincoln's reputation even while funeral eulogists questioned his presidential actions, and how his reputation, over the next four decades, diminished and grew. Schwartz links the vagaries of Lincoln's image to broad transformations of the nation, arguing that Lincoln's life symbolized America's development from a rural republic to an industrial democracy and articulated the roles of economic and political reform, military power, and nationalism in the country's self-conception.
Lincoln's memory assumed a double aspect of "mirror" and "lamp," acting as a reflection of the nation's concerns and an illumination of its ideals, and Schwartz offers a fascinating view of these two functions as they were realized in the commemorative symbols of an ever-widening circle of ethnic, religious, political, and regional communities. The first part of a study that will continue through the present, Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory is the story of how America has shaped its past selectively and imaginatively, but around a real person whose character and achievements symbolized his country's ideals.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Two Faces of Collective Memory
Part One: Nineteenth Century: Symbolizing Nationhood
1: Death and Commemoration
2: Promoting Lincoln in the Late Nineteenth Century: Successes and Failures
Part Two: Twentieth Century: Symbolizing Industrial Democracy
3: Lincoln and the Culture of Progressivism: Democratizing America
4: Lincoln, a Man of the People: Dignifying America
Part Three: Twentieth Century: Symbolizing Unity
5: Lincoln and the Culture of Inclusion: Integrating America
6: Lincoln in World War I: Strengthening America
7: Two Lincolns: Symbolizing America
Conclusion: Two Faces of Collective Memory: Refining the Discussion
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