Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Emancipation Proclamation

Let me bring to your attention our Book of the Week. It is Allen Guelzo’s Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. It has just been published, in time for Lincoln’s birthday. It is, quite simply put, the best book written on the subject. He writes as a real historian, trying to understand it all as Lincoln understood it. And he does. Guelzo understands that Lincoln’s eyes were fixed on slavery and emancipation from the moment he took office. He worked mightily at getting the Border states to emancipate voluntarily (and slowly), with financial recompense from the Feds. He was conscious of doing anything that the Federal courts could overturn, and he understood even as he was issuing the Proclamation--even though justitified as military necessity--that an amendment would be necessary. Guelzo walks the reader through Lincoln’s prudence and it is impressive. Must read.     

Discussions - 3 Comments

I have not yet read this book - but, it is a book that I’ve been looking forward to read since the summer when I learned that it was forthcoming. I have heard Prof Guelzo speak on the Emancipation Proclamation at the Ashbrook Center and can assure that he is a highly learned man as well as a master rhetorician worthy of Lincoln himself. He acknowledges many of the common arguments criticizing Lincoln on the Proclamation from several different perspectives and then deftly de-bunks them. I encourage all to savor this book and support the Ashbrook Center with its purchase. You will not regret it. Also, check out his other masterful biography of Lincoln, which is worthy to be placed alongside the works of Harry Jaffra on any bookshelf.

I, too, echo Peter’s recommendation of Guelzo’s magisterial history of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. If he does not win his second Lincoln Prize for it, the prize has no meaning. That goes for the Pulitzer, National Book Award, Bancroft, and any other awards that remotely touch on American history.

Of course, all of the readers should know that Prof Morel is also a highly learned scholar who was written an excellent book on Lincoln entitled, "Lincoln’s Sacred Effort" examining Lincoln’s "political religion" of the rule of law, Union, and republican self-government through his excellent speeches. It’s available through Lexington books. I attended the Lincoln seminar at Ashbrook last summer and highly recommend Prof. Morel’s (and Prof. Owens) taped portions elsewhere on the website. Prof. Morel will humbly disavow having his works compared to Prof. Guelzo but don’t listen to him!

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