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Lincoln and the American Founding

Lincoln and the American Founding

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Lucas E. Morel

$24.95

E-book (Other formats: Hardcover)
978-0-8093-3786-6

06/09/2020

Concise Lincoln Library

 

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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About the Book

In this persuasive work of intellectual history, Lucas E. Morel argues that the most important influence on Abraham Lincoln’s political thought and practice was what he learned from the leading figures of and documents from the birth of the United States. In this systematic account of those principles, Morel compellingly demonstrates that to know Lincoln well is to understand thoroughly the founding of America.
 
With each chapter describing a particular influence, Morel leads readers from the Founding Father, George Washington; to the founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and Constitution; to the founding compromise over slavery; and finally to a consideration of how the original intentions of the Founding Fathers should be respected in light of experience, progress, and improvements over time. Within these key discussions, Morel shows that without the ideals of the American Revolution, Lincoln’s most famous speeches would be unrecognizable, and the character of the nation would have lost its foundation on the universal principles of human equality, individual liberty, and government by the consent of the governed.
Lincoln thought that the principles of human equality and individual rights could provide common ground for a diverse people to live as one nation and that some old things, such as the political ideals of the American founding, were worth preserving. He urged Americans to be vigilant in maintaining the institutions of self-government and to exercise and safeguard the benefits of freedom for future generations. Morel posits that adopting the way of thinking and speaking Lincoln advocated, based on the country’s founding, could help mend our current polarized discourse and direct the American people to employ their common government on behalf of a truly common good.
 

Authors/Editors

Lucas E. Morel is Professor of Politics and Head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University, and Honored Visiting Graduate Professor in the Master of Arts program in American History and Government at Ashland University in Ohio. His previous publications include Lincoln and Liberty: Wisdom for the Ages and Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government. He is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, former president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute, and member of the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan activities to commemorate in 2026 the founding of the United States of America.
 
 

Reviews

“Out of collapse, renewal: Lucas E. Morel shows how, in our darkest hour, Abraham Lincoln drew on our previous darkest hour for inspiration and wisdom.”—Richard Brookhiser, author of Give Me Liberty: A History of America’s Exceptional Idea
 
“With admirable clarity and conciseness, Morel explores Lincoln's political philosophy and its roots in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. The discussion of how Lincoln used these iconic documents in his treatment of the issue of slavery is particularly incisive and valuable. This is an important contribution to the literature on the sixteenth president.”—James M. McPherson, author of The War That Forged a Nation: Why the Civil War Still Matters
 
“It is instructive to be reminded that Abraham Lincoln thought Constitutional restraints were to be taken seriously, political decisions were to be made by officials accountable to those whose lives are affected by those decisions (i.e., voters), and mob rule posed a grave threat to American freedom. Morel’s thoughtful, convincing book shows how profoundly Lincoln’s political thought was rooted in his reverence for the wisdom of the Founders as embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.”—Michael Burlingame, editor of Sixteenth President-in-Waiting: Abraham Lincoln and the Springfield Dispatches of Henry Villard, 1860–1861