What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President

What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President

by Michael Lind


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What Lincoln Believed: The Values and Convictions of America's Greatest President by Michael Lind

Michael Lind, well known for his controversial writings, shatters the stereotypes and the almost instinctive veneration that mark most biographies of Lincoln, shedding new light on the president's motivations and conduct. This provocative, intellectual biography uncovers the heart of Lincoln's public philosophy and places his ideals and presidential decisions within the context of his times. He asserts that Lincoln fought the Civil War not to free the slaves, or even to preserve the Constitution, but to ensure the survival of democracy. With the failure of numerous liberal revolutions throughout Europe in 1848 heightening the possibility that democracy itself would be deemed a noble but failed experiment, Lincoln realized that the stakes in the Civil War were nothing less than the future freedom and prosperity of all mankind. It was this conviction that determined his policies and compelled him to wage the war to the bitter end.

WHAT LINCOLN BELIEVED dispels the popular image of Lincoln as a self-made man and a naive, inspired genius, and shows that the president, who laid the foundation for the America of today, was very much a product of his time and place, influenced by the pragmatism of his fellow Kentuckian Henry Clay, and by Enlightenment thinking. In a strikingly original portrait, Lind reveals that Lincoln's fervent Unionism and economic nationalism can be traced directly to Clay; that Lincoln was not a Christian, but a deist who believed in the abstract deity posited by Enlightenment philosophers; and that although Lincoln believed slavery was evil, he opposed the idea of a multiracial country and supported the relocation of black Americans abroad.

Afascinating re-interpretation of Lincoln's role in history, WHAT LINCOLN BELIEVED brilliantly illuminates how this great president kept the flame of democracy alive at home and throughout the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780385507394
Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/17/2005
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Michael Lind is the best-selling author of a number of books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, including The Next American Nation (1995) and Hamilton’s Republic: Readings in American Democratic Nationalism (1997). A former editor or writer for Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker and the New Republic, Lind is the Whitehead Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.

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