Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

D’Souza Defends Lincoln from the Right and the Left

In American History magazine (April 2005), Dinesh D’Souza (now residing at the Hoover Institution as their Rishwain Scholar) has written an excellent defense of Lincoln for those unaware of the attacks Lincoln has received recently from the Libertarian and Southern Agrarian Right and the Liberal Left. "Abraham Lincoln as Statesman" argues that Lincoln’s greatness derives from his profound understanding of, and maneuvering within, the American tension between the equality of rights possessed by all human beings and the consent of the governed that produces legitimate political action. Here’s a teaser from the end of the article:

Lincoln was acutely aware that many people in the North were vehemently antiblack and saw themselves as fighting to save their country rather than to free slaves. Lincoln framed the case against the Confederacy in terms of saving the Union in order to maintain his coalition--a coalition whose victory was essential to the antislavery cause. And ultimately it was because of Lincoln that slavery came to an end...

In my view, Lincoln was the true "philosophical statesman," one who was truly good and truly wise. Standing in front of his critics, Lincoln is a colossus, and all of the Lilliputian arrows hurled at him bounce harmlessly to the ground. It is hard to put any other president--not even George Washington--in the same category as Abraham Lincoln. He is simply the greatest practitioner of democratic statesmanship that America and the world have yet produced.

Discussions - 1 Comment

Lucas, thanks for this. What a great article for my students to read as we celebrate Lincoln’s and Washington’s Birthday! I recently heard of a movement to make President’s Day more of a celebration of these two Fathers of Our Country rather than including Chester Arthur, Andrew Johnson, or James Buchanan. What a great idea!

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