The Age of Lincoln / Edition 1by Orville Vernon Burton
Pub. Date: 06/12/2007
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Stunning in its breadth and conclusions, The Age of Lincoln is a fiercely original history of the five decades that pivoted around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Abolishing slavery, the age's most extraordinary accomplishment, was not its most profound. The enduring legacy of the age of Lincoln was inscribing personal liberty into the nation's millennial/i>
Stunning in its breadth and conclusions, The Age of Lincoln is a fiercely original history of the five decades that pivoted around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Abolishing slavery, the age's most extraordinary accomplishment, was not its most profound. The enduring legacy of the age of Lincoln was inscribing personal liberty into the nation's millennial aspirations.
America has always perceived providence in its progress, but in the 1840s and 1850s pessimism accompanied marked extremism, as Millerites predicted the Second Coming, utopianists planned perfection, Southerners made slavery an inviolable honor, and Northerners conflated Manifest Destiny with free-market opportunity. Even amid historic political compromises the middle ground collapsed. In a remarkable reappraisal of Lincoln, the distinguished historian Orville Vernon Burton shows how the president's authentic Southernness empowered him to conduct a civil war that redefined freedom as a personal right to be expanded to all Americans. In the violent decades to follow, the extent of that freedom would be contested but not its central place in what defined the country.
Presenting a fresh conceptualization of the defining decades of modern America, The Age of Lincoln is narrative history of the highest order.
- Farrar, Straus and Giroux
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- First Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.64(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.36(d)
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This a great book about the legacy of Lincoln and how his attitude of abolishing slavery affected the entire 19th century. Some of the same set up details can be found in James McPerson's 'The Battle Cry of Freedom,' but this book goes much further than just a rehash of the American Civil War. I may not agree with Burton's thesis that the transgression of Charles Sumner by Southerner Preston Brooks is 'the single incident that did more to disrupt sectional harmony and propel the nation toward civil war,' page 52, but his theory is discussion worthy. I would argue the Harper's Ferry raid by John Brown and the enactment of the Fugitive Slave Law, but I'm only a history major, so what do I know. Neverhtheless, 'The Age of Lincoln' is a great book. It is captivating and very well written. Some historians simply cannot write well, but this book will keep you captivated. Highly recommended.
The author has taken a very complex and schism time in American history and tries to examine it from all sides (360 degrees). With an understanding that both North and South (all parties ¿most individuals, church, state and federal governments) could not claim to be innocent regarding slavery in American history. A wrong that took a civil war to change and we are still trying to right. Another issue the author, I think is trying to convert is: What would Lincoln done without his Southern heritage and also if not assassinated what would Reconstruction been. An excellent book and should be a requirement for all high school students. For American historians or those who are trying to understand the Civil War and Reconstruction, the author gives insight to a period in history (the Age of Lincoln). This saga has been written about many times ¿ sad to say most books on the Civil War and Reconstruction comes with a pro North or pro South position or mostly focus on the battles and generals.
The prevailing wisdom is that Mr. Lincoln kept the Union together, but that was his only accomplishment. From the stale pages of elementary textbooks comes a more complex, profound leader of moderation who defined personal liberty at a time when America truly needed it. This is a book of winners and losers, told in a narrative similar to Hackett Fisher's Albion's Seed or Philip's Cousin's Wars in which they describe they political, social, and racial conflagration of America's beginnings. The winners being the Anglo-Saxons, Scots Irish, Scots and the politically well aligned and well bred. The losers are very well defined: African Americans, Irish, Germans (the anathema to the British elite), Native Americans (who suffered a genocide, in my view), women, and the lower classes. What this book uncommonly does is sheds a light on the uniquely American pursuit of religion and its partaking of redemption and millenial concern. He lists Nat Turner as an example for black suffrage, as well as Mr. John Brown as a loyal abolitionist. Insane as he was, he was also a manipulator of blacks and whites alike for personal monetary fortune, so don't bother about thinking about John Brown. He deserved his death. I don't think a violent 'insurrectionist' as the author called Turner does right by what Turner. Turner was not a liberator or Lourverture, he was simply a murderer. His assertions that a biracial democracy was taking hold in the South I find are flimsy, in Mississippi, of all places. His contention is that it was class. The whites down there have always had an animus towards blacks, and the violence and racism is in your face. His contention that the North held more progressive views on race are the false aroma of modern academia, if I ever heard them. In the 1920's, when the Great Migration from the South of blacks to the North occurred, riots happened daily. They are hardly any more virtuous on the subject of race than the South.