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The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics Paperback – January 17, 2008
"The Black Presidency"
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Oakes reminds the reader of how much Lincoln and Douglass originally shared. Lincoln and Douglass were self-made, self-educated, and ambitious, and each rose to success from humble backgrounds. Douglass, of course, was an escaped slave. Douglass certainly and Lincoln most likely detested slavery from his youngest days. But Lincoln from his young manhood was a consummate politican devoted to compromise, consensus-building, moderation and indirection. Douglass was a reformer who spoke and wrote eloquently and with passion for the abolition of slavery and for equal rights for African Americans.
Much of Oakes's book explores the difficult subject of Lincoln's attitude towards civil rights -- as opposed simply to the ending of slavery -- and of how Lincoln's views developed during the Civil War. Oakes uses Douglass as a foil for Lincoln beginning with the Lincoln -- Stephen Douglas debates in Illinois in 1858. Steven Douglas tried hard to link Lincoln to Frederick Douglass and to abolitionism. He claimed that Lincoln favored equal rights for Negroes and raised the spectre of intermarriage between white women and black men.Read more ›
Oakes gives us a quick glance at his hypothesis within the subtitle of his book: the triumph of antislavery politics. As he explains, this doesn't apply to Lincoln. Lincoln was always an anti-slavery politician, although his thinking on how and how fast slavery should be destroyed changed over time. But with regards to the use of politics as the means to abolish slavery, the man whose thinking moved more was Frederick Douglass. And although the two men share the billing in Oakes' title, this is far more a book about Douglass than Lincoln. It is a book about the evolution of the reasoning of Frederick Douglass.
That evolution, as Oakes paints it, began for Douglass from the belief that the issue of slavery transcended politics and the compromises that came with it. Oakes traces how Douglass the reformer began to be drawn into the political arena, alienating the abolitionists who had first supported his career. But still he carried with him that insistence on absolutism. He brooked no delays, no strategic maneuverings. Lincoln and the Republicans were gradualists, and therefore were deemed irresolute and untrustworthy.
After the Civil War began, Douglass found even more reasons for outrage. Lincoln refused to immediately emancipate the slaves. The President even countermanded the Union generals who issued proclamations freeing the slaves in the territories they conquered.Read more ›
The "Radical" in the title is another great American, Frederick Douglass.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard of this book from "The War that Forged a Nation", so I decided to read it. I had heard about the criticisms that Frederick Douglass had leveled against President... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
The issues of race and politics today have a long history and James Oakes has given us a great source on this history in "The Radical and the Republican. Read morePublished 9 months ago by David B Richman
I was required to read this book for my history class. At first I did not want to like every other college student. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Zmc12
I'm not a history buff! As a matter of fact, my grades were terrible in school, so when this was picked as the selection for our book club, I wasn't very excited at all. Read morePublished on October 15, 2013 by Jeremy
I was always aware that Lincoln publicly claimed not to care much about slavery. He once said that in order to keep the Union together, he would abolish slavery if it would do the... Read morePublished on July 9, 2013 by Amazon Customer
This is a good book to get if you are interested in the political side of Lincoln's presidency, but want something that reads more like a novel. Read morePublished on May 17, 2013 by Nikki
Very interesting, it goes along with an other text that I'm reading so it is a good complement ( a people's history of the unites states) ...Published on March 17, 2013 by Natan Martinez