Lincoln's Defense of Politics: The Public Man and His Opponents in the Crisis over Slavery

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2006 Hardcover Edition Unstated New Condition Book is still in Shrink Wrap! ! ! 240 pp. Quantity Available: 1. Shipped Weight: Under 500 grams. Category: History; ISBN: ... 0826216064. ISBN/EAN: 9780826216069. Inventory No: 1561005798. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Abraham Lincoln is chiefly remembered for two historic achievements: he freed the slaves, and he saved the Union. That Lincoln did these things is not controversial. What is controversial is the connection between the moral and constitutional aspects of these achievements. Lincoln refused to see pro-Union and antislavery principles as exclusive, and thus he would not uphold one set of principles to the exclusion of the other or allow one to serve in the other’s place.

Lincoln’s opponents of the time denied these connections. They felt obliged to take sides and to choose between morality and the law. In Lincoln’s Defense of Politics, Thomas E. Schneider examines six key figures from among the two groups that were Lincoln’s opponents: the states’ rights constitutionalists—Alexander H. Stephens, John C. Calhoun, and George Fitzhugh—and the abolitionists—Henry David Thoreau, William Lloyd Garrison, and Frederick Douglass.

Lincoln differed from both groups in his political attitude toward the question of slavery. He made it clear that he regarded his own approach as more comprehensive than the more narrowly focused constitutional and moral ones favored by his opponents. Schneider uses the men from each of these groups to illustrate the broad significance of the slavery question and to shed light upon the importance of political considerations in public decision making.

Secession and war deprived Abraham Lincoln of the opportunity to demonstrate to the South that while he was opposed to any further extension of slavery, he bore no feelings of ill will toward the southern people. Lincoln did not expect southerners to concur with his party’s view of slavery as morally wrong, but he called on them as “national men” to consider whether sectional harmony was likely to be restored on any basis other than the one proposed by the Republicans. Slavery, he believed, was the only thing that could threaten the integrity of the nation.

Lincoln’s Defense of Politics is not primarily a work of history but a consideration of historical alternatives on their merits. It addresses itself to a question of perennial interest and significance: what is the nature and value of politics? Political theorists as well as students and scholars of American political thought will find this work of particular importance.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826216069
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/2005
  • Series: Shades of Blue and Gray Series
  • Edition description: bibliography, index
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas E. Schneider is Research Associate at the Editorial Institute, Boston University, where he is coediting a volume in the selected works of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen.

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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Abbreviations xi
Part I Introduction: Lincoln's Opponents
Chapter 1 A Divided Lincoln? 1
Chapter 2 Stephen A. Douglas: The Missing Constitutional Basis 13
Part II The Defense of Slavery: Constitutional Justice and Its Limits
Chapter 3 Alexander H. Stephens: Slavery, Secession, and the Higher Law 25
Chapter 4 John C. Calhoun: The Politics of Interest 36
Chapter 5 George Fitzhugh: The Turn to History 54
Chapter 6 The Attack on Locke 73
Part III Abolitionism: Natural Justice and Its Limits
Chapter 7 Henry David Thoreau: The Question of Political Engagement 87
Chapter 8 William Lloyd Garrison: From Disunionist to Lincoln Emancipationist 105
Chapter 9 Frederick Douglass: Antislavery Constitutionalism and the Problem of Consent 125
Part IV Conclusion: The Case for Politics
Chapter 10 Freedom, Political and Economic 147
Chapter 11 Between Legalism and the Higher Law 155
Chapter 12 Lincoln's Defense of Politics 162
Epilogue 179
Notes 185
Works Cited 205
Index 215
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