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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 as an economist and is now an associate professor of American studies at the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle, employs Marxist theory to examine "Lincoln's hatred for manual labor," a hatred "tainted by contempt for the rural masses" (193) and his "aversion toward tilings agricultural" (178). Relying exclusively on published sources, Fraysee correctly emphasizes the intensity of Lincoln's estrangement "from the world of common people from which he had come" (87) but fails to acknowledge how that estrangement reflected his profound aversion to the way his father had treated him. (In discussing Lincoln's youth, Fraysee does not cite John Y Simon's trailblazing study, "House Divided: Lincoln and His Father," nor does he refer to James Hurt's insightful article, "AU the Living and the Dead: Lincoln's Imagery.") Like many an economic determinist, Fraysee underestimates the psychological dimension ofhistory. Once he became a lawyer and moved to Springfield, Lincoln joined forces with "the large landowners with their injustices, the banks with their corruption, the pubUc works entrepreneurs with their swindles" (88) and worked against the interests of the rural poor, according to Fraysee. Noting that, as a state representative, Lincoln voted to raise land taxes in 1839 and 1840 while neglecting to support taxes on lawyers and state legislators, Fraysee acidly remarks, "When one has decided to make poor people pay and to exempt oneself, it is easy to be accused of serving the rich" (83). BOOK REVIEWS25I Lincoln's hostiUty toward the rural poor also reveals itself in the satirical 1842 "Rebecca letters," whose "Anti-Irish racism, shameless demagoguery, and mocking imitation ofthe local speech were combined to makethis series of anonymous letters a veritable manifesto against country people under cover of adenunciation ofJacksonianism" (85). Fraysee's politically correct assessment reveals a misunderstanding of frontier humor. In other ways Fraysee's view of American history is peculiar. He boldly declares tiiat "the three historic results ofthe Lincoln administration" were "the abolition of slavery, die Homestead Act, and the beginning of the 'final solution ' ofthe Indianquestion" (2). Evidently he does notthinkthe preservationof the Union or the vindication ofpopular government truly "historic." Lincoln became reconciled with his rural roots, Fraysee contends, in the years after 1854, when he turned his attention to slavery. He lays special emphasis on Lincoln's 1859 speech in Wisconsin, devoted primarily to agriculture . That speech, Fraysee convincingly argues, was a disguised attack on slavery. Lincoln soft-pedaled homestead legislation, Fraysee suggests, because many of his friends and poUtical alUes were large landowners and speculators. Lincoln , he maintains, "remained absolutely silent" about land speculators (146). But Fraysee fails to note that he denounced gold speculators in 1864 as "a set of sharks" and said, "For my part, I wish every one of them had his devilish head shot off!" As a young lawyer, Lincoln scorned "land sharks," comparing them to "die wretched ghouls of die sea that follow a ship and fatten on its offal." Lincoln, Land, and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 250-251
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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