The Fiery Trial

The Fiery Trial

Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

Book - 2010
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In this landmark work of deep scholarship and insight, Eric Foner gives us the definitive history of Lincoln and the end of slavery in America. Foner begins with Lincoln's youth in Indiana and Illinois and follows the trajectory of his career across an increasingly tense and shifting political terrain from Illinois to Washington, D.C. Although "naturally anti-slavery" for as long as he can remember, Lincoln scrupulously holds to the position that the Constitution protects the institution in the original slave states. But the political landscape is transformed in 1854 when the Kansas-Nebraska Act makes the expansion of slavery a national issue.

A man of considered words and deliberate actions, Lincoln navigates the dynamic politics deftly, taking measured steps, often along a path forged by abolitionists and radicals in his party. Lincoln rises to leadership in the new Republican Party by calibrating his politics to the broadest possible antislavery coalition. As president of a divided nation and commander in chief at war, displaying a similar compound of pragmatism and principle, Lincoln finally embraces what he calls the Civil War's "fundamental and astounding" result: the immediate, uncompensated abolition of slavery and recognition of blacks as American citizens.

Foner's Lincoln emerges as a leader, one whose greatness lies in his capacity for moral and political growth through real engagement with allies and critics alike. This powerful work will transform our understanding of the nation's greatest president and the issue that mattered most.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Co., c2010
Edition: 1st ed. --
ISBN: 9780393066180
Branch Call Number: 973.7092 Linco 3564
Characteristics: xxi, 426 p. :,ill., maps


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Vincent T Lombardo Jul 02, 2015

Outstanding! This book outlines the evolution of Lincoln's views on slavery, emancipation, and full rights for Blacks. To some degree, it is almost like an intellectual biography, focussing on Lincoln's speeches, writings, and statements as well as his actions. It is a remarkable work of scholarship, but well-organized, lucid and highly readable.

May 10, 2015

This rigorous academic work explores the political, religious, and public attitudes about race and slavery and how it affected Lincoln’s ideas during his entire adult life. During his life, the vast majority of white Americans, both in the north and in the south, were highly racist and highly ignorant of the lives of Black people, whether they were slaves or freedmen. While Lincoln abhorred slavery, he did believe that states had the rights to allow slavery and for much of his life, he believed that eventually slavery should end and that Blacks should be shipped out of the country and sent to colonies in Central America or Africa. As Lincoln feared, once slavery was ended, the southern whites soon took governance over their territory and they set about exploiting the cheap labor of freedmen as much as the laws would allow. At the same time, the North discriminated over the Black populace as much as their customs would allow.

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