While pursuing office, Lincoln drew strength from public opinion and from the machinery of his party. As a wartime president, he recognized the limits as well as the possibilities of power. In his struggle to end slavery, he found allies in the churches, their humanitarian agencies, and the volunteer Union Army.
Carwardine illuminates the political talents that went hand in hand with a large and serious moral purpose in this important portrait of the incomparable Abraham Lincoln.
©2006 Richard Carwardine; (P)2009 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Carwardine's Lincoln Prize-winning study is not only analytical and smart, it's also delightfully readable - and it will surely emerge as one of the most important Lincoln books to be published this decade." (Publishers Weekly)
"An outstanding, detailed coverage which will prove a 'must' for any researching Lincoln's life or times." (California Bookwatch)
Unlike other books I have read on Lincoln, this book focuses on his political and Presidential talents, activities and strategies during a pivotal period in the history of our country. It is an in-depth exploration of why he was a successful political leader and why he ranks as a great President. It shows that the Republican Party was born of widespread indignation over the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, which opened up the possibility that slavery could expand into the Northern territories if approved by a vote by the territorial settlers. Lincoln, a recognized political leader because of his active campaigning for previous Whig Presidential candidates, strongly opposed any such expansion of slavery. This became the prime issue in the famous debates of 1858 between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas.
The issue facing the Nation in the 1860 Presidential election and at the onset of the Civil War was a moral one: would the Nation permit the further expansion of slavery into the new territories? Most in the North said ???no??? because they viewed slavery as a moral evil. The leaders in the South said ???yes??? because they viewed slavery as an indispensable part of their social fabric and felt expansion was necessary to preserve their political influence.
The book does an excellent job of portraying Lincoln???s great character and talents in fashioning and leading a political consensus behind his war aims???preserving the Union at all costs???and how that consensus evolved over time from restoring the pre-War Union to refashioning a stronger Union through the prohibition of slavery.
I was very impressed with the aim of this book to present President Lincoln as a political leader and force in our nation. I always had doubts about this leader and his autocratic and violent choices and paths taken. It was amazing to me to see the origins of the Republican party as such a "God - centered" party, parlaying the righteous cause of anti-slavery into the right of a President to take over the country with autocratic, unconstitutional powers, arresting thousands of dissidents, destroying people, homes and property, torturing, all without congressional approval. It makes me think of the past eight years and gives me questions about why the present president finds this man such a model.
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