Mr. Lincoln: The Life of Abraham Lincoln by Allen C. Guelzo

Filed under:History — posted by Randolph on August 15, 2019 @ 8:12 pm

The series follows the life of Abraham Lincoln starting with his father and grandfather to build a picture of the family and of Lincoln’s childhood, then going through his death.

The story is told in three parts. The early history and his family relationships. Then his political career, telling of his leaving the family, his successful command during the Blackhawk War and finding his place in the world through several failures, gaining success in a law and his joining the new Whig party. And following his career in politics and how he left the Whigs for the new Republican Party and, by a small chance, gained the opportunity to run in the 1860 presidential election. Much of the last section deals with the Civil War, and how he managed to make the issue of slavery a crucial part of the war in spite of the resistance of slave-holding states still part of the union.

The lectures paint a much more complex image of Lincoln than we usually receive. Although a stanch abolitionist, he believed slavery would die out on his own and would be willing to compromise his position for the sake of the union. Yet in the end, he still managed to make his goals a reality.

The lecture series is interesting and well worth the little time commitment to listen to. The accompanying book doesn’t add much, but provides an outline to the lectures with a couple of questions to highlight key points.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace