Lincoln's Dilemma: Blair, Sumner, and the Republican Struggle over Racism and Equality in the Civil War Era - A Nation Divided: Studies in the Civil War Era (Hardback)Paul D. Escott (author)
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Lincoln's fellow Republicans Charles Sumner and Montgomery Blair played crucial roles in the shaping of their party. While both Sumner and Blair were opposed to slavery, their motivations reflected profoundly different approaches to the issue. Blair's antislavery stance stemmed from a racist dedication to remove African Americans from the country altogether. Sumner, in contrast, opposed slavery as a crusader for racial equality and a passionate abolitionist. Lincoln maintained close personal relationships with both men as he wrestled with the slavery question. In addition to these antislavery voices, Escott also weaves into his narrative the other extreme, of which Lincoln was politically aware: the virulent racism and hierarchical values that motivated not only the Confederates but surprisingly many Northerners and which were embodied by the president's eventual assassin, John Wilkes Booth.
Sumner, Blair, and violent racists like Booth each represent forces with which Lincoln had to contend as he presided over a brutal civil war and faced the issues of slavery and equality lying at its root. Other books and films have provided glimpses of the atmosphere in which the president created his Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln's Dilemma evokes more fully and brings to life the men Lincoln worked with, and against, as he moved racial equality forward.
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
This really is a new perspective on the period and on the men. Lincoln, among his other attributes, was a consummate politician, which this book demonstrates. Many Americans saw that attribute in the film Lincoln, but it's clear that the president exercised his leadership abilities long before the debate over the Thirteenth Amendment.--David Goldfield, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, author of America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation
Paul D. Escott has written about an important topic that Americans prefer not to acknowledge or address. His careful research and new analysis will prompt both scholars and general readers to rethink their understanding of Abraham Lincoln and American race relations.--Gordon McKinney, Berea College, author of Henry W. Blair's Campaign to Reform America: From the Civil War to the U.S. Senate
Among white northerners generally, far more opposed emancipation, even at war's end, than supported black equality. Paul Escott places Lincoln squarely in that world, shows how he moved along the spectrum of racial views, and how he struggled, inside and out, at every step along the way. This book, together with his previous work, establishes Escott as this generation's leading scholar on Lincoln and the problem of racism in Civil War America.--H. David Williams, Valdosta State University, author of I Freed Myself: African American Self-Emancipation in the Civil War Era
Usually politicians 'evolve' in a change of tactics, not of heart. In Lincoln's Dilemma Escott paints subtle portraits of the evolution in three men's hearts on the great question of their age (and ours)--that of race and racism. The result is a magnificent taxonomy of the nineteenth-century white racial mind--Stephen Berry, University of Georgia, author of House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, a Family Divided by War
A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2014
Escott has numerous publications on the Civil War era (e.g., The Confederacy, CH, Nov'10, 48-1661), and it shows in this book. The research is thorough, the text is meticulously organized and presented, and the conclusions are reasoned and sound.--S. J. Ramold, Eastern Michigan University, Choice
"Escott's well-reasoned book is a worthy addition to the sizable literature on Lincoln and race. Drawing on mostly synthetic research, he provides a valuable context for and somewhat original take on our greatest president's evolving racial views and policies. It is yet another fine book by a superb historian."--Michael Thomas Smith, McNeese State Univeristy "The Journal of Southern History "
In this lively political history, Paul Escott utilizes the philosophical tension between twoimportant branches of the Republican coalition to explain Lincoln's progressiontoward emancipation and his sometimes conflicted vision of race in a postwar society.... The result is a compelling political narrative.--North Carolina Historical Review