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Big Enough to Be Inconsistent: Abraham Lincoln Confronts Slavery and Race (The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures) Hardcover – March 29, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
In his Big Enough to Be Inconsistent, veteran Civil War scholar George Frederickson defends an interpretation of Lincoln's views on slavery and race that seeks a "middle ground" between the hagiographers who see the president as a proto-civil liberties advocate and the debunkers who see him as a hypocritical racist. Frederickson argues that Lincoln's views on both the institution of slavery and racial inequality changed over time, and that their fluidity suggests a position that's much more complex and ambiguous than hagiographers and debunkers allow. Like most of us, Lincoln's position on race wasn't entirely consistent. Moreover, Lincoln's ambivalence is complicated by the fact that he was a politician, and sometimes said things for public consumption that were more expedient than genuinely believed.
One thing is certain. Lincoln was never ambivalent in his moral opposition to slavery. But the racist assumptions he absorbed from his virulently Negrophobic home state of Illinois clustered to form views in the pre-war Lincoln that Frederickson doesn't hesitate to characterize as white supremicist, albeit a "relatively passive or reactive" sort (p. 84). Lincoln advocated a minimalist bestowal of free trade rights on blacks, but balked at defending full civil and moral equality.Read more ›
Unless you are a fan of George Fredrickson, an avid student of Lincoln's thoughts, and interested in projecting a true picture of 19th century America--I am guilty of all counts--you may hesitate to purchase this 126 page (text pages only) large print and small page book even for the fair price Amazon lists. Be assure, this book is valuable enough to make it worth more than the publisher's price. When we are faced with a barrage of anti-Lincoln literature compensated for by an equal barrage of myth making of our sixteenth president, an open, well researched, thoughtful book that does neither is of real value. Particularly now. The political threat to Lincoln's presidency was not whether he favored free choice on abortion, but something a bit more urgent to living individuals and those to be born--should slavery cease to exist through the mandate of government. Had Lincoln been faced with Roe v Wade he, like any other thinking person, probably would change his mind a few times before settling on a "final" stand.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was looking for a book that would give me the facts, as best they can be determined, about Lincoln's views and attitudes on slavery and race, without bias either way. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Kent Stafford
Great was perfect just in time for my second class! Didn't miss a beat, and the product was in perfect condition!Published on July 4, 2011 by jkjkhardcore