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276CIVIL WAR HISTORY Gienapp's "Who Voted for Lincoln?" offers a thoughtfully argued evaluation of the delicately shifting political balance in the North that led to Lincoln's election in 1860. Demonstrating an intelligent respect for the complexity ofthe task he has set for himself, Gienapp denies that Lincoln's triumph was the consequence of Democratic division. Rather, it was the support of non-Catholic immigrants, young voters, and especially former American voters that was responsible for giving Lincoln his margin of victory . Based on prodigious research in both the quantitative and literary sources, Gienapp's conclusions should be studied carefully by all who wish to learn not only about this key political contest, but about the nature ofthe Republican party as well. Such a broad range ofarticles defies generalization, though John Thomas makes a valiant attempt at one in his introduction. This collection is quite obviously diverse in both topic and methodological approach. That is to be expected of any volume of essays on as dominating a historical figure as Abraham Lincoln. One could, however, have hoped for a more successful effort to turn a stimulatingsetoflectures into an effective published work. Stephen E. Maizlish The University ofTexas at Arlington Lincoln's Quest for Union: Public and Private Meanings. By Charles B. Strozier. (New York: Basic Books, 1982. Pp. xxiii, 271. $17.50.) It was inevitable. We have Lincoln and His Generals, Lincoln and the Radicals, Lincoln and the Negro, Lincoln and the War Governors, Lincoln and the Press, Lincoln and Coles County Illinois, Lincoln and His Wife's Home Town—even Lincoln and Liquor. Now Lincoln and his psychoanalysts . One can only wonder why it took so long. But it does come at a rather awkward moment. Psychoanalysis has had a rough time lately; critics have challenged the very basic assumptions of the craft and poor Freud has come off as something of a Viennese quack. Two recent psychoanalytical portraits ofLincoln, for example, have not been received kindly. George B. Forgie's Patricide and the House Divided: A Psychological Interpretation (1979) and Dwight G. Anderson's Abraham Lincoln: The Quest for Immortality (1982) have been dismissed by Stephen Oates, a leading Lincoln scholar, as pretentious nonsense. Nevertheless, historians should not ignore Strozier's controversial but careful and generally cautious analysis of Lincoln's inner life and public career. The author focuses on Lincoln's deep fits of suicidal depression, his sex life, and his complex family relationships, to come to a better understanding of Lincoln's personality and the nature of his political leadership. "I have attempted," the author writes, "to apply concepts from psychoanalytical theory critically and unobtrusively to bring the evidence alive in some new ways" (p. xi). Specifically, Strozier uses the technique known as "self psychology" —a methodology that emphasizes empathy, subjectivity, and BOOK REVIEWS277 gut-level feelings rather than empiricalism. It is a humanistic approach to psychological analysis: "I have analyzed my dreams of him [Lincoln] and noted rather precisely the way he fits into my fantasies. I have tried to gain insight into the point ofconvergence between his life and my own." (Traditional -minded historians must be patient.) Strozier continues: "Such selfexamination is not frivolous self-absorption but an attempt to go beyond mere idealization or debunking to the critical subjectivity that defines die working method ofpsychohistory" (p. xii). Unfortunately, Lincoln's early life is poorly documented and the sources necessary for a full understanding of die man simply do not exist. Conscious ofthis, Strozier relies on Lincoln's own writings found in The Collected Works, an autobiographical sketch sent to John Scripps during the summer of 1860, and on materials collected by William Herndon, Lincoln's law partner. Strozier contends that the Herndon documents have been unfairly denigrated by historians. If used with caution, he states, Herndon provides a wealdi ofvaluable information. In addition, the author draws upon the papers of Robert Todd Lincoln, the self-appointed caretaker of the Lincoln tradition. Lincoln's strained relations widi his father Thomas are well known to those familiar with Lincoln's life. But Strozier believes that he has discovered certain important clues to Lincoln's character brought on by the unhappiness over alienation from his...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 276-278
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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