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The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War [Hardcover]

by Thomas DiLorenzo
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)


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Book Description

March 26, 2002 0761536418 978-0761536413 0
A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
Most Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books, a national holiday, and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. But what if most everything you knew about Lincoln were false? What if, instead of an American hero who sought to free the slaves, Lincoln were in fact a calculating politician who waged the bloodiest war in american history in order to build an empire that rivaled Great Britain's? In The Real Lincoln, author Thomas J. DiLorenzo uncovers a side of Lincoln not told in many history books and overshadowed by the immense Lincoln legend.
Through extensive research and meticulous documentation, DiLorenzo portrays the sixteenth president as a man who devoted his political career to revolutionizing the American form of government from one that was very limited in scope and highly decentralized—as the Founding Fathers intended—to a highly centralized, activist state. Standing in his way, however, was the South, with its independent states, its resistance to the national government, and its reliance on unfettered free trade. To accomplish his goals, Lincoln subverted the Constitution, trampled states' rights, and launched a devastating Civil War, whose wounds haunt us still. According to this provacative book, 600,000 American soldiers did not die for the honorable cause of ending slavery but for the dubious agenda of sacrificing the independence of the states to the supremacy of the federal government, which has been tightening its vise grip on our republic to this very day.
You will discover a side of Lincoln that you were probably never taught in school—a side that calls into question the very myths that surround him and helps explain the true origins of a bloody, and perhaps, unnecessary war.

"A devastating critique of America's most famous president."
Joseph Sobran, commentator and nationally syndicated columnist

"Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thomas J. DiLorenzo gives an account of How this come about in The Real Lincoln."
Walter E. Williams, from the foreword

"A peacefully negotiated secession was the best way to handle all the problems facing Americans in 1860. A war of coercion was Lincoln's creation. It sometimes takes a century or more to bring an important historical event into perspective. This study does just that and leaves the reader asking, 'Why didn't we know this before?'"
Donald Livingston, professor of philosophy, Emory University

"Professor DiLorenzo has penetrated to the very heart and core of American history with a laser beam of fact and analysis."
Clyde Wilson, professor of history, University of South Carolina, and editor, The John C. Calhoun Papers


Editorial Reviews

Review

"A devastating critique of America's most famous president."
—Joseph Sobran, commentator and nationally syndicated columnist

"Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thomas J. DiLorenzo gives an account of how this came about in The Real Lincoln."
—Walter E. Williams, from the foreword

"A peacefully negotiated secession was the best way to handle all the problems facing America in 1860. A war of coercion was Lincoln's creation. It sometimes takes a century of more to bring an important historical event into perspective. This study does just that and leaves the reader asking, 'Why didn't we know this before?' "
—Donald Livingston, professor of philosophy, Emory University

"Professor DiLorenzo has penetrated to the very heart and core of American history with a laser beam of fact and analysis."
—Clyde Wilson, professor of history, University of South Carolina, and editor, The John C. Calhoun Papers

From the Inside Flap

A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War
Most Americans consider Abraham Lincoln to be the greatest president in history. His legend as the Great Emancipator has grown to mythic proportions as hundreds of books, a national holiday, and a monument in Washington, D.C., extol his heroism and martyrdom. But what if most everything you knew about Lincoln were false? What if, instead of an American hero who sought to free the slaves, Lincoln were in fact a calculating politician who waged the bloodiest war in american history in order to build an empire that rivaled Great Britain's? In The Real Lincoln, author Thomas J. DiLorenzo uncovers a side of Lincoln not told in many history books and overshadowed by the immense Lincoln legend.
Through extensive research and meticulous documentation, DiLorenzo portrays the sixteenth president as a man who devoted his political career to revolutionizing the American form of government from one that was very limited in scope and highly decentralized?as the Founding Fathers intended?to a highly centralized, activist state. Standing in his way, however, was the South, with its independent states, its resistance to the national government, and its reliance on unfettered free trade. To accomplish his goals, Lincoln subverted the Constitution, trampled states' rights, and launched a devastating Civil War, whose wounds haunt us still. According to this provacative book, 600,000 American soldiers did not die for the honorable cause of ending slavery but for the dubious agenda of sacrificing the independence of the states to the supremacy of the federal government, which has been tightening its vise grip on our republic to this very day.
You will discover a side of Lincoln that you were probably never taught in school?a side that calls into question the very myths that surround him and helps explain the true origins of a bloody, and perhaps, unnecessary war.

"A devastating critique of America's most famous president."
?Joseph Sobran, commentator and nationally syndicated columnist

"Today's federal government is considerably at odds with that envisioned by the framers of the Constitution. Thomas J. DiLorenzo gives an account of How this come about in The Real Lincoln."
?Walter E. Williams, from the foreword

"A peacefully negotiated secession was the best way to handle all the problems facing Americans in 1860. A war of coercion was Lincoln's creation. It sometimes takes a century or more to bring an important historical event into perspective. This study does just that and leaves the reader asking, 'Why didn't we know this before?'"
?Donald Livingston, professor of philosophy, Emory University

"Professor DiLorenzo has penetrated to the very heart and core of American history with a laser beam of fact and analysis."
?Clyde Wilson, professor of history, University of South Carolina, and editor, The John C. Calhoun Papers

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 333 pages
  • Publisher: Prima (March 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761536418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761536413
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (482 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #427,747 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas J. DiLorenzo is the author of The Real Lincoln and How Capitalism Saved America. A professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and a senior fellow at the Ludwig von Mises Institute, he has written for the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Washington Post, Reader's Digest, Barron's, and many other publications. He lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
554 of 664 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A hackle-raiser for sure! March 26, 2002
Format:Hardcover
If there are any sacred cows in America, the one at the head of the herd has got to be Abraham Lincoln. Our culture gleefully villifies almost everyone. Psycho-biographies, in which the darkest interior rooms of the subject are exposed to light, are the rage these days. But somehow Lincoln for the most part has managed to escape all this. He's still the great American hero, venerated by layperson and scholar alike, sometimes to the point of embarrassing hagiography. (I once knew a history professor, for example, who insisted that students refer to Lincoln, both in class discussions and in term papers, as "MR. Lincoln." His class could just as well have been offered by the theology department.)
Thomas DiLorenzo refuses to genuflect before Lincoln's altar. In *The Real Lincoln*, a book that's guaranteed to infuriate a wide audience, ranging from Civil War buffs to Lincoln scholars to African-Americans to political liberals to history traditionalists, DiLorenzo claims that Lincoln's real historical legacy is the strong centralized state that characterizes the American political system today. From first to last, claims DiLorenzo, Lincoln's political vision was the creation of a Whiggish empire of protectionist tariffs, government subsidized railroads, and nationalization of the money supply. In the first year and a half of his administration, he pushed through much of this agenda. The average tariff rate tripled, railroads began raking in government money (a "war necessity"), and the National Currency Acts monopolized the money supply.
So far none of this is terribly alarming. Even admirers of Lincoln will admit much of what DiLorenzo says about Lincoln's economic dream and Whig leanings.
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417 of 520 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars When a book is controversial - check its critics October 16, 2006
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
DiLorenzo's book challenged virtually everything I thought I knew about Lincoln, so I did the logical thing - I looked into what points his critics cited in panning his book. I was surprised by what I found. Most critics challenged his "right" to be a historian, slamming him for citing the wrong edition of a book (right page, wrong edition), or citing to the wrong page of a book. Other criticisms were conclusory and not fact-based. When the smoke had cleared, it seemed that the major criticisms were nits picked by those adored Lincoln. None confronted DiLorenzo's facts. (This is a far cry from, for example, the Michael A. Bellesiles book, "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture", whose critics shredded the book on a factual basis.)

So I read the book.

And was blown away.

Here is the explanation for how America went from the land of the free to the land of the government-dominated. Here is a thorough explanation how the Federal Government went from a minimalist government with scant intrusion into the lives of its people, to the modern day Leviathan which consumes 1/3 of every dollar we earn and gives us endless regulation and grief. Here is the seed of the welfare state, the precursor to Roosevelt's "New Deal" and Johnson's "Great Society" - and the beginning of the end of the Constitution.

Lincoln locked up thousands of those who disagreed with him. He cared not at all about slavery as a moral issue. He created the sort of Federal spending on programs that were previously successful private ventures, and which, as government programs, have put us trillions of dollars in debt.
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381 of 488 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blowing away the fog of myth and lies March 29, 2002
Format:Hardcover
William Manchester used the phrase 'American Caesar' to describe General Douglas MacArthur, but it applies much more fittingly to Abraham Lincoln, America's first (and God willing only) full-fledged military dictator. The gravedigger of the U.S. Constitution, Lincoln buried the founders' Union as completely as Lenin buried the Romanovs. And like Lenin, Lincoln built an empire on bayonets, brutality, and centralized power. As historian Richard Bensel (quoted by Thomas DiLorenzo in the introduction to this book) wrote, any student of the American state should begin his reading with 1865. Whatever happened before then no longer has any relevance.
DiLorenzo's little book began rocking conservative and libertarian circles even before its publication, proving what someone once said, that the way to tell the difference between the two schools of thought is to ask them what they think about Lincoln. To the outrage of the fans of centralized government, DiLorenzo is not only an excellent writer but a skilled researcher too. Votaries of Saint Abraham's iconic image have an awful lot of 'splainin' to do. In fact, as DiLorenzo notes, much of the writing on Lincoln over the decades has been exactly this: historians rationalizing Lincoln's decidedly un-godlike words and deeds. Whether a reader is willing to see through this fog depends on how open she is to challenging established 'truths.'
Lincoln's defenders often employ the slander that criticizing the Great Emancipator is the moral equivalent of defending slavery.
But history shows that slavery ended around the world during that era, and no place required the bloody war Lincoln waged.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This book sheds years of official Father Abraham, Honest Abe...
This should be required reading for high school students and even older retired folk like myself. Years of popular deification of Father Abraham, has made it almost impossible up... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Thorgrun Odden
5.0 out of 5 stars bye bye myths
This book (and author) are amazing. Makes you wonder what other myths we were taught in school! Mr. Read more
Published 8 days ago by Nancy Svacha
4.0 out of 5 stars You will be surprised, perhaps sickened
This was a complete turnaround in the reputation of a man who has always been taught to have been our best president. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Lovell K. Henson
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating examination of the 18th & 19th centuries that explains...
To date 478 reviews have been filed of which 103 (24%) have been one-star. Because of these negative reviews I avoided reading this contentious book X 4 years. I then heard Dr. Read more
Published 19 days ago by John Bell
3.0 out of 5 stars A Flawed Argument
Thomas DiLorenzo's "The Real Lincoln" is a provocative book that will challenge the critical thinking skills of students of American history. Read more
Published 21 days ago by James Norwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest Abe should of been the give away! No politicians are honest,...
It just goes to show that the empire is built on lies, deception, false history, and a good dose of dumbed down government brain washing in our k-12 school system. Read more
Published 22 days ago by Diana K Grauer
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding must read for any serious Lincoln historian
Outstanding read of the facts instead of the myth. Lincoln saved the country, but at the loss of the Jeffersonian ideal of a republic. Read more
Published 27 days ago by gumby
5.0 out of 5 stars bebunks several myths
few people know the real Lincoln--this book does a fascinating job of enlightening us, and showing how he led us further down the road to big government. A MUST READ.
Published 1 month ago by Bruce R. Machol
5.0 out of 5 stars So Much For Honest Abe
What a disappointment that our government has to lie to the people. Our children get brainwashed into believing these lies. Read more
Published 1 month ago by NoBS
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended!!
I have owned six or seven of these books, and I've given all away (except one for myself)/

It is extremely well written, well researched, and full of information I never... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Len Clark
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