On Lincoln ... sort of

Growing up, I was taught that Abraham Lincoln was a Great President. Throughout grammar and middle school, I wasn't even aware that Lincoln's greatness was a question. There was no "Lincoln debate" in my world. Then I made friends with a bunch of people from the south and became aware of people who didn't think so highly of Honest Abe. To be honest, I mostly put it down to lingering bitterness over losing the war. I was in high school.

Then I moved up to Moscow, ID and ran into a crowd of people who honestly believe that Lincoln was a terrible man and a terrible president. I even had a student in my Civics class nearly refuse to take part in a debate on the question "Resolved: That Abraham Lincoln was a good president" because she was assigned the affirmative. And so I find myself in an awkward spot: almost everything I know on the question is culturally conditioned. My upbringing pulls me one direction, my current community pulls another, and I couldn't give an answer for what I think even if I knew what it is that I think in the first place.

This summer, then, my project is to read a couple books from either side of the Lincoln question and let you know my conclusion. If I come to a conclusion. I'm definitely planning on reading DiLorenzo's The Real Lincoln; I've heard that Vindicating Lincoln by Thomas Krannawitter is a good counterpoint. One popular title in my goodreads feed is Shattering The Truth: The Slandering Of Abraham Lincoln by Dennis W. Brandt, but reviews make it seem less like an even-keeled look at Lincoln and more like a diatribe against DiLorenzo (who may deserve it, but that doesn't mean the book will help me out any). I'm hoping to read at least two books from each side, but that will depend on library availability and how much time I actually set aside for reading.

Do you have any suggestions for me? Then leave a note in the comments.

1 comment:

Lauryl said...

Great idea! I definitely want to hear what you come up with. Have you seen this article?
and this book: