Monthly Archives: February 2012
Aaron David Miller, in an interesting editorial, identifies five factors that make it difficult for modern presidents to achieve greatness. Noting that most “great” presidents are the ones who held office during periods of crisis, he argues that modern crises have not created opportunities for politicians to shine. America has had its share of tough spots in recent years, “but none that have been inescapable, relentless, and nation-encumbering,” like that faced by Lincoln.
Harold Holzer, one of America’s most prolific Lincoln scholars, has written a new book on some of the issues surrounding the Emancipation Proclamation. The book, Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory, is published by Harvard University Press.
Earlier this month the Chicago Tribune ran a story on Lincoln with some interesting input from prize-winning scholar Michael Burlingame. Burlingame discussed Lincoln as a political campaigner, and also offered some reflections on Lincoln’s attitudes about race and slavery. You can read this piece by clicking here.
Congratulations to William C. Harris and Elizabeth Leonard, co-winners of the 2012 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize awarded by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. These two distinguished scholars will share the prize for two works published last year, Lincoln and the Border States: Preserving the Union by Harris and Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky by Leonard.
For more information about the prize and this year’s recipients, click here.
Christopher Farnsworth has written a short essay for the Los Angeles Times, noting some of Lincoln’s appearances in comic books, science fiction movies, and other aspects of popular culture and considering what the popularity of his image reflects about our collective desire for heroes.
Douglas Wilson reflects on Lincoln as a lover and reader of Shakespeare in an interesting piece at The American Scholar, which you can read by clicking here.
Here are a few links to enjoy as you celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 203rd birthday.
- Here’s an interesting piece on Lincoln’s changing image in popular culture.
- Contrary to widespread belief, Lincoln’s birthday is not commemorated in any official national holiday. The Christian Science Monitor explains why.
- Does the GOP still wear the mantle of its first president? The chairman of Delaware’s Republican State Committee says yes, while Jackie Hogan argues that Lincoln would be a hard sell among today’s Republicans.
- California kindergarten students find memorizing the Gettysburg Address to be nothing they can’t handle.
- A supposed portrait of Mary Todd Lincoln that one adorned the governor’s mansion in Springfield, IL was, as it turns out, created to defraud Lincoln’s descendants.
- Finally, here’s a report on the new Center for Education and Leadership, which opens this month as the latest addition to Ford’s Theatre.
According to a recent post at The Heritage Foundation’s blog, the answer is no. Citing scholars such as Allen Guelzo and Ralph Lerner, Julia Shaw notes that while the government grew considerably due to the exigencies of the Civil War, it quickly contracted once the war was over. Our modern form of “big government” with its enormous budget and extensive staff, she argues, owes its origin not to the 1860′s but to the Progressives of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and to the New Deal. You can read the entire piece by clicking here.
Barry Landau, the presidential collector and author accused of stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of material from various archival repositories (including documents signed by Abraham Lincoln), pleaded guilty earlier this week. He now faces up to ten years in prison. The Associated Press has the details.
To read an earlier post about the Landau scandal, click here.