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Abraham Lincoln

Richard N. Current, the author of Speaking of Abraham Lincoln: The Man and His Meaning for Our Times, has captured the complexity of the controversial image of Lincoln. An eminent historian and a Harmsworth Professor of History at Oxford University and Fulbright Professor at the universities of Munich and Santiago, Current has written four books on the subject of Lincoln, including Lincoln the President: Last Full Measure ("Note on the Author"). This book consists of a chronological arrangement of eleven lectures Current delivered over 25 years ("Preface"). In this work, Current examines the diversity of literature on Lincoln in order to dispel the misinformation about him. Specifically, Current explores Lincoln's stance towards slavery and the Civil War, which also reveals Lincoln's underlying character. Current's intention is to present a balanced perspective of Lincoln who was neither a Radical abolitionist nor a pro-slavery president. To Current, Lincoln was an astute politician who was willing to manipulate the situation in order to achieve his objective of saving the Union.

Unlike many of Lincoln's admirers who celebrate him as the Emancipator of slaves, Current believes that Lincoln prioritized the Union of the country over the welfare of the slaves. In the second essay in the book, "Friend of Freedom," Current describes the fact that at the beginning of the war, Lincoln was unwilling to act against slavery because he did not want to antagonize the border states (Current 22). Against the feelings of his party in favor of emancipation, Lincoln proposed a plan that involved:

reimbursing the slave owners for the loss of slaves; 2) delaying the actual freeing of the slaves until 1900 at the whim of the slave owners; and 3) the shipping of the freed Negroes abroad (Current 23). Current's inclusion of Lincoln's comment to Horace Greeley at the New York Tribune in 1862 best encapsulates his perspective of Lincoln's position to...

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Abraham Lincoln. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:06, May 26, 2020, from