What do these documents, written from different perspectives, tell us about the changes which comprised the Market Revolution. Of the Great Second Great Awakening?
Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery. One could ferret out modest factual issues simply to justify the function of reviewer, but upon reflection this fine book offers ground for substantive comment.
Surprisingly, few modern works zero in on this central topic, which gives this work its larger importance. In length and sophistication, this book is targeted at the literate general public, rather than just historians.
The author suggests as much on several occasions. The book should be broadly accessible, and one can easily imagine professors assigning it to undergraduates with profit.
The focus and clear writing style make it appropriate for that purpose. Most professional historians will find this emphasis on context congenial, and few will find much to criticize in the book as a whole. Still, they would probably have preferred a more explicit critique of the Lincoln literature, at least in the footnotes, which are notably sparse in editorial commentary.
That said, there are themes in the literature Professor Foner generally downplays. I read this as a contextualized pushback against those who want an uncomplicated, heroic Lincoln. Because scholars often downplay his uncomfortable beliefs, Foner offers up a deromanticized Lincoln.
The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, which depicts Republicans in Congress as relentless opponents of slavery but barely treats discussion of northern attitudes toward race as germane. There are eleven references to the Illinois Black Laws in the index.
Lincoln seldom challenged racism per se, probably because his own views were not that progressive. Lincoln never really spoke much about race except when it endangered his wider political project.
Foner demonstrates how significant an idea it was to Lincoln, both before and during the war. His discussion of the border-state Blair clan in this context is instructive. His closest collaborators in the cabinet, like Seward and Stanton, thought the idea crazy, but Lincoln only gradually backed away from it—and the increasingly unpopular Blairs too.
The implication is that Lincoln genuinely believed that voluntary colonization was a good idea. Before the s, what drove him were political ambition and Whig convictions, along with his overriding belief in the rule of law.
He had few close black contacts.
Occasionally as a successful lawyer he helped masters get their human property back, and he seldom assisted runaway slaves in court.
He repeatedly counseled obedience to the Fugitive Slave statutes. He, like most Americans, never thought the prewar Constitution authorized interference with slavery in the states where it existed. Nor did he place that much emphasis in his speeches on the evils of slavery that many would stress nowadays: Despite all this, Foner admires Lincoln.
On the core issue of the injustice of slavery, Lincoln is rock solid, surprisingly so given his background. The point of slavery was enforced labor, and for Lincoln, nothing could make that right. Everything he wrote in private backs up that conviction, and his distaste for slavery went beyond the territorial expansion issue.
His Whiggish enthusiasm for free enterprise and economic growth was transformed into antislavery zeal.Eric Foner has won a place in the front rank of American historians with books that seem to vacuum up all available sources to produce bold new interpretations of the country’s reckoning with the big questions of slavery and freedom/5(11).
Eric Foner is DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. Foner received his doctoral degree at Columbia under the supervision of Richard Hofstadter.
His publications have concentrated on the history of political ideology and race relations in nineteenth-century America. Voices of Freedom Book by Eric Foner Summaries. 1. From Chapter 9(THE MARKET REVOLUTION, –) in Voices of Freedom, read documents 52, 53, and American freedom became linked with equality, which challenged the fundamental inequality inherent in the colonial social order.
Expanding the Political Nation The democratization of . Eric Foner is the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University. His special area of study has been the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and 19th-century America/5(37). President of the Association, This presidential address was delivered at the th annual meeting of the American Historical Association, held in Boston, January 5,