Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lincoln the Liberator

Over at First Things Allen C. Guelzo has written a very nice piece correcting some misunderstandings about our 16th president. Check it out.

The apparent determination to understand Lincoln chiefly as the equivalent of some 20th-century civil rights champion ignores a distinction that used to be obvious. Always remember that Lincoln's moniker was "The Great Emancipator", as in emancipation, as in liberty. That title and what it implied about Lincoln positions him safely within the main currents of the 18th- and 19th-century American political tradition, that is to say, the founding tradition. The increased, and increasing emphasis on equality is a European import that gained purchase mostly in the 20th Century and has been working its mischief on the American body politic ever since.

Happy one-day-late Birthday Abe!

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