In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEW365 should be sufficiently large and flexible enough to allow refinements such as including index entries for all individual collections listed in Hamer's Guide as well as those in the indices of the numerous local and state institutional guides. Through the use of the computer, the elimination of duplicate information resulting from the various sources used would be a comparatively easy task. If necessary, because of size, the index could be published as a companion volume to the Directory. With the present index, the Directory has but limited usefulness for researchers. Although the volume provides current information and additional references to more detailed guides of a repository's holdings, it nevertheless impedes the process of locating collections. Until a more comprehensive name and subject index to the manuscript and archival holdings of this nation becomes available, researchers will have to rely on traditional approaches for determining where pertinent primary sources can be found. James W. Geary Kent State University Patricide in the House Divided: A Psychological Interpretation of Lincoln ir His Age. By George B. Forgie. (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. 1979. Pp. x, 308. $14.95.) In the debates with Douglas was Lincoln an ambitious demagogue or a moral-political idealist? Was there a real difference ofprinciple between them, or did Lincoln calculatedly make it appear that there was, thus fatally embarrassing Douglas and ensuring the election of a minority candidate in 1860, secession, and civil war? Randall, Hofstadter, Jaffa, Fehrenbacher, and Potter, among others, have attempted to answer these questions. On the assumption, never made clear or justified, that conventional motivations of ideology or interest are inadequate to account for the known variables, this book uses the tools of Freudian psychology to explain the behavior of both Lincoln and his supporters. As members of the "post-heroic" generation that inherited the Union from the Founding Fathers, the glory of establishing independence was foreclosed to those "sons," and there was left to them only the unsatisfactory substitute of preserving and handing on an intact legacy. Lincoln longed for fame, and in his Lyceum speech of 1838 he was "unconsciously" describing himself when he envisioned the coming of an unscrupulous tyrant seeking to overturn the work of the Fathers. As his own resentment of the Fathers was repressed because openly inadmissible, Lincoln projected it onto "the image of the bad son," a rebel who would have to be destroyed in order to preserve the paternal heritage. Through such a triumph Lincoln would be enabled to attain at last that height of glory which the Fathers' achievement had otherwise precluded. And, Forgie asks, "If the tyrant did not spring up from the 366CIVIL WAR HISTORY dynamics of history as Lincoln explained them, would he then not only have to be imagined, but also invented" (p. 87)? Lincoln's opportunity arrived when Douglas's introduction of the Kansas-Nebraska bill raised the standard of revolt against the Fathers, whose work had up to then been preserved by a series of crucial compromises. These compromises were ritual accommodations between the sections that had acted out the sons' natural fratricidal wishes to eliminate each other over the paternal inheritance, while at the same time containing those murderous desires. Now Lincoln, at the head of the good sons, mounted an assault upon bad son Douglas to kill him symbolically by removing him from political power, thus averting the peril to the Union and executing a return to the sheltering world of the Union-creating Fathers. This symbolic fratricide fitted in with the efforts of Edward Everett and others in the 1850's to relax sectional tension by a reassertion of national sentimental unity with the Founders. But such regression to a childhood that "had probably unavoidably been a breeding ground for fratricidal fantasies" meant that "the sentimental flight from the dangerous and fearsome parricidal tendencies they attributed to Young America liberated something that turned out to be much worse: the fratricidal impulses of the post-heroic generation" (p. 198). Thus, jumping from the frying-pan of threatened parricide, they fell into the actual fire of fratricide, fit followers of a leader whose disphced homicidal wishes led him to distort Douglas's...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 365-367
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.