Saturday, October 30, 2010

Lincoln and context and reading history forward

Very interesting review in the San Francisco Chronicle of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery by Eric Foner, distinguished historian of the Reconstruction. In the reviewer's words, Foner's main point is that "We should not understand Lincoln from the myth-glazed outcome reading backward, but from the beginning, through one transformative event after another, looking forward. This is a historian's book, a lesson in context, but one hopes it will be widely read." It's not that Lincoln was consistent, or politically correct by our standards, but that he never stopped learning and growing. Hat tip to Legal History Blog.

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