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

BOOK REVIEWS249 Abraham Lincoln: Sources and Style ofLeadership. Edited by Frank J. Williams , William D. Pederson, and Vincent J. Marsala. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1994. Pp. xiv, 191. $55.00.) Here is a collection ofessays that came out of a conference in September 1992 on the Louisiana State University campus at Shreveport. Three things are especially noteworthy about this conference: it was die first symposium on a Lincoln theme ever held in die Deep South; it was hosted by a university that began under the land-grant measure President Lincoln had signed into law; and it took place in die state on which Lincoln had devoted die most attention in regardtothe plight offreedmen andquestions ofReconstruction. Theleadeditor is familiar to Lincoln scholars as the former president of die Abraham Lincoln Association and a leading authority on the bibliography of the Civil War president. The two other editors hold positions at LSU—William Pederson as professor of political science and Vincent Marsala as dean. The introductory chapter by WiUiams and Pederson and the conclusion by Williams skilfully summarize common elements in the other seven essays of the volume. Lincoln, in this view, brought to the task of leadership the disposition to be an energetic executive, a vision based at last on what he took to be die fundamental principles of the nation, and a pragmatic capacity to match principles to circumstances in the ever-shifting realities ofthe Civil War. Neither a moral ideaUst nor a political opportunist, he pursued a course of principled pragmatism, evincing what Williams calls an "active-flexible" style. In contrast to other world leaders at the time, whoever inclined toward Machiavellian tactics of manipulation, Lincoln engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the people and their representatives over the ends and means for national survival. Readers of die volume will also be interested in die particular emphases found in die different essays. One of die contributors saw in Lincoln's activeflexible style a pattern of leadership within die Aristotelian tradition of"classical prudence." Two other essays stress the great influence of the Founding Fathers on Lincoln and the essential continuity of his outlook with theirs. Here they support Lincoln's view, which such conservative revisionists as Willmoore Kendall and Garry Wills have challenged, that die Declaration ofIndependence was a "founding covenant" of die nation and that its central idea of equality is ideologically at one with the Constitution. Based on a close analysis of Lincoln 's efforts at writing poetry, another contributor suggests that diese efforts contributed a good deal to die cadence and clarity ofLincoln's later prose style. Three other essays focus on different aspects of presidential leadership duringdie war. Anticipating the appearance ofhis book-length work, TheJewel of Liberty (1994), David Long demonstrates Lincoln's unwavering commitment to emancipation during the shift and swirl ofevents afterthe proclamation was issued and stresses die central importance of his reelection in 1864 to the cause ofUberty. Brooks Simpson convincingly refutes earlier interpretations of 250CIVIL WAR HISTORY the Lincoln-Grant relationship in which the president supposedly spotted Grant's potential early on, brought him along under executive favor, and then gave the general a free hand during the last phase of the war. The contingency of events, battlefield performance, and the pressure of poUtical decisions rendered the relationship much looser than once supposed. On the other side, moreover, Grant's keen appreciation of the president's poUtical problems contributed a good deal to the development of their closer relationship. FinaUy, William Harris documents more fully the view that Lincoln leaned heavily on the support of the southern Unionists and looked to their leadership in the process of Reconstruction. While much of this material is familiar to Lincoln scholars, the volume does a nice job of drawing it together. The volume wiU also be of value to the interested general reader and to students ofthe American presidency. Major L. Wilson University of Memphis Lincoln, Land, and Labor: 1809-60. By OUver Fraysee. Translated by Sylvia Neely. (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1994. Pp. 249. $29.95.) Originally pubUshed in France in 1988, this brief volume portrays Lincoln as a conservative capitalist deeply estranged from his agrarian roots. Fraysee, who was trained...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 249-250
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.