“A gem: powerfully argued, beautifully written, and both politically and historically illuminating. Lowry makes an impassioned case for a contemporary Republican renewal on truly Lincolnian lines.” (Charles Krauthammer, nationally syndicated columnist and Fox News contributor)
“In this important book, Rich Lowry explains how the president’s opposition to slavery was closely intertwined with his belief in economic freedom. Lowry’s book reminds us that the ultimate basis for economic freedom is moral: It honors the dignity owed to every person, regardless of skin color or social condition.” (Paul Ryan)
“We live today, Rich Lowry writes, in a ‘Lincolnian republic.’ Lowry explains what that means through a fascinating exploration of some of the less well known aspects of LIncoln’s life and thought. In recapturing the ‘essential Lincoln,’ Lowry helps us think about what’s essential to the promise of America.” (William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard)
“In this briskly written, persuasive study, Rich Lowry rescues Lincoln from misguided attempts to portray him as a proto-progressive.” (Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life)
A quick, smoothly readable account of Lincoln the political striver, the embodiment of the Declaration’s ’central idea…that every man can make himself.’” (Kirkus Reviews)
“This book is essential for understanding why Lincoln’s convictions and ambitions are vitally relevant for conservatives today.” (Bill Bennett, author of America: The Last Best Hope)
From the Back Cover
In this thoughtful mix of history and politics, the New York Times bestselling author and editor of National Review—the conservative bible founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.—traces Abraham Lincoln's ambitious climb from provincial upstart to political powerhouse and calls for a renewal of the Lincoln ethic of relentless striving.
Revered today across the political spectrum, Abraham Lincoln believed in a small but active government in a nation defined by aspiration. Fired by an indomitable ambition from a young age, the man who would be immortalized as the "railsplitter" never wanted to earn his living with an ax. He educated himself in a frontier environment characterized by mind-numbing labor and then turned his back on that world. All his life, he preached a gospel of work and discipline toward the all-important ends of self-improvement and individual advancement. As a Whig and then a Republican, he worked to smash the rural backwardness in which he was raised and the Southern plantation economy that depended on human bondage.
Both were unacceptably stultifying of human potential. In short, Lincoln lived the American Dream and succeeded in opening a way to it for others. He saw in the nation's founding documents the unchanging foundation of an endlessly dynamic society. He embraced the market and the amazing transportation and communications revolutions beginning to take hold. He helped give birth to the modern industrial economy that arose before the Civil War and that took off after it.
His vision of an upwardly mobile society that rewards and supports individual striving was wondrously realized. Now it is under threat. Economic stagnation and social breakdown are undermining mobility and the American way. To meet these challenges, Rich Lowry draws us back to the lessons of Lincoln. It is imperative, he argues, to preserve a fluid economy and the bourgeois virtues that make it possible for individuals to thrive within it.