Thursday, July 9, 2020

Booknotes: Lincoln and the American Founding

New Arrival:
Lincoln and the American Founding by Lucas E. Morel (SIU Press, 2020).

From the information available on the publisher's website, it looks like the Concise Lincoln Library series is now approaching thirty volumes with no slowing in sight. The newest entry, Lucas Morel's Lincoln and the American Founding, "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."

Morel's study of Lincoln's relationship with the Founders and founding documents is presented in five main parts, "(w)ith 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."

In sum, "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."

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