Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slaveryby Richard Striner
Pub. Date: 04/20/2007
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Lincoln is the single most compelling figure in our history, but also one of the most enigmatic. Was he the Great Emancipator, a man of deep convictions who ended slavery in the United States, or simply a reluctant politician compelled by the force of events to free the slaves? In Father Abraham, Richard Striner offers a fresh portrait of Lincoln, one that helps us
Lincoln is the single most compelling figure in our history, but also one of the most enigmatic. Was he the Great Emancipator, a man of deep convictions who ended slavery in the United States, or simply a reluctant politician compelled by the force of events to free the slaves? In Father Abraham, Richard Striner offers a fresh portrait of Lincoln, one that helps us make sense of his many contradictions.
Striner shows first that, if you examine the speeches that Lincoln made in the 1850s, you will have no doubt of his passion to end slavery. These speeches illuminate the anger, vehemence, and sheer brilliance of candidate Lincoln, who worked up crowds with charismatic fervor as he gathered a national following. But if he felt so passionately about abolition, why did he wait so long to release the Emancipation Proclamation? As Striner points out, politics is the art of the possible, and Lincoln was a consummate politician, a shrewd manipulator who cloaked his visionary ethics in the more pragmatic garb of the coalition-builder. He was at bottom a Machiavellian prince for a democratic age. When secession began, Lincoln used the battle cry of saving the Union to build a power base, one that would eventually break the slave-holding states forever.
Striner argues that Lincoln was a rare man indeed: a fervent idealist and a crafty politician with a remarkable gift for strategy. It was the harmonious blend of these two qualities, Striner concludes, that made Lincoln's role in ending slavery so fundamental.
- Oxford University Press, USA
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 9.10(w) x 6.10(h) x 1.00(d)
Table of Contents
Lincoln and Slavery: The Problem 5
Lincoln and Free Soil, 1854-1858 35
Lincoln and Slavery: Containment, 1859-1861 89
Lincoln and Emancipation, 1861-1862 137
Lincoln and the War to the Death, 1863 189
Lincoln and the Worst-Case Future, 1864 217
Lincoln and the Best-Case Future, 1864-1865 241
Select Bibliography 293
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Dr. Striner has proven beyond a doubt that Lincoln was no racist but, as with all politicians, was not above tailoring his message to obscure his personal feelings when his audience was white supremacist. He reveals Lincoln's heart in a way I've not seen, and a common thread of words and actions. I love Lincoln more than ever. This is an under-known and under-appreciated book, but nonetheless significant.