Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

Most of the essays collected here were presented at a conference I hosted titled “The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln” at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon. The chief sponsor of the conference was the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice, a program I direct at Linfield. The forum’s activities are made possible by the generosity...

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Introduction

Nicholas Buccola

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pp. 1-10

Abraham Lincoln was not a systematic political philosopher, but he did— through word and deed—grapple with several ultimate questions in politics. What is the moral basis of popular sovereignty? What are the proper limits on the will of the majority? When and why should we revere the law? How does our conception...

Part I. Lincoln and Democracy

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1. Prosperity and Tyranny in Lincoln’s Lyceum Address

John Burt

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pp. 13-43

Lincoln’s 1838 address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois, “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions,” was not his first political speech, but it was the first articulation of many themes that would become prominent in his more mature oratory. Among these was the claim that stable political institutions...

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2. Providentialism and Politics: Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address and the Problem of Democracy

Michael Zuckert

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pp. 44-70

Lincoln’s Second Inaugural address is usually seen as the culminating document in his extraordinary career as a public rhetorician. A recent book on the address is titled Lincoln’s Greatest Speech, and there are few who disagree with that judgment. That book—and most of the others that pay special attention to the Second Inaugural—focuses on the manifest theological content...

Part II. Lincoln and Liberty

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3. Lincoln and the Ethics of Emancipation: Universalism, Nationalism, Exceptionalism

Dorothy Ross

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pp. 73-109

In the history of emancipation, the ethical dimension of the story is always prominent, and since the 1960s, it has been influentially portrayed as the gradual, halting, but growing triumph of universalist liberal and Christian principles, a key moment in a progressive national narrative of growing freedom. The abolitionists...

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4. What If Honest Abe Was Telling the Truth? Natural Rights, Race, and Legalism in the Political Thought of Lincoln

Nicholas Buccola

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pp. 110-136

On August 21, 1858, Abraham Lincoln and Senator Stephen A. Douglas met in Ottawa, Illinois, to participate in the first of seven debates prior to the midterm election in November. In his opening speech at the debate, Lincoln declared that he had “no purpose directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution...

Part III. Lincoln and Equality

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5. “The Vital Element of the Republican Party”: Antislavery, Nativism, and Lincoln

Bruce Levine

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pp. 139-163

Abraham Lincoln’s election to the presidency urgently posed a series of questions about both the man and his young party. Just who was Abraham Lincoln politically? Precisely what did he and his allies truly stand for? What could be expected from the new administration? And, since elections not only decide the identity...

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6. Lincoln’s Competing Political Loyalties: Antislavery, Union, and the Constitution

Manisha Sinha

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pp. 164-192

Shortly before the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln wrote, “I have always hated slavery, I think, as much as any abolitionist.” Lincoln, of course, was no abolitionist. Indeed, among Lincoln’s many virtues lauded by historians are his moderation, pragmatism, political acumen, and philosophical temperament, a “blend of political...

Part IV. Lincoln as a Liberal Democratic Statesman

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7. Four Roads to Emancipation: Lincoln, the Law, and the Proclamation

Allen Guelzo

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pp. 195-215

To stand in the presence of Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation is to be in the company of the single most sweeping presidential action in American history—greater in its impact on the lives of more people in one generation than any before it, and still alive with consequence for every generation after...

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8. Abraham Lincoln’s Kantian Republic

Steven B. Smith

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pp. 216-238

Abraham Lincoln represents the high-water mark of the American Enlightenment.1 He both completes and perfects many of the essential themes of early modernity. To say this, however, is already to stake a claim. Frequently, Lincoln is regarded as a shrewdly pragmatic politician, a pure Machiavellian cleverly tacking...

List of Contributors

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pp. 239-240

Index

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pp. 241-248

Back Cover

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