Friday, May 11, 2007
Forthcoming: The Age of Lincoln
THE AGE OF LINCOLN, Orville Vernon Burton, Hill and Wang Publishers, 432 pp, $27.00, Summer 2007.
(text from the publisher) Stunning in its breadth and conclusions, The Age of Lincoln is a fiercely original history of the five decades that pivoted around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Abolishing slavery, though extraordinary, was not this age’s most profound accomplishment. The enduring legacy of the age was inscribing personal liberty into the nation’s millennial aspirations.
America has always perceived providence in its progress, but in the 1840s and 1850s, a pessimism accompanied a marked extremism. With all sides claiming God’s blessing, irreconcilable freedoms collided; despite historic political compromises, the middle ground collapsed. In a remarkable reappraisal of Lincoln, the distinguished historian Orville Vernon Burton shows how the President’s Southernness empowered him to conduct a civil war that redefined freedom as a personal right protected by the rule of law. In the violent decades that followed, the extent of that freedom would be contested by racism and unregulated capitalism, but not its central place in what defined the country. (text from the publisher) Amazon.com blurbs from McPherson, Donald, Foner, Wyatt-Brown.