Assignment: Students were asked to read the chapter on Abraham Lincoln from Hofstadter’s The American Political Tradition. Then formulate a thesis on the perception of him as real or myth in history. I took a second to construct my own thesis to add to our class meeting. What are your thoughts of Lincoln? Do you agree with my thesis of Lincoln?
According to Carson: Abraham Lincoln was a transformative actor shaped by his destiny to will Rousseaus’ notion of the human soul and to eradicate the concept of the noble savage. Set from the mark of statesman, Lincoln was perceived as a paradoxical figure; however, the dichotomy that defined his soul and shaped his politics were clearly antiquated by his fixed keen sense of conclusion: A boy who grew to be a man only to be characterized as a historical figure: A man who saved the union…. Thanks to popular myths designed by romantic historicist who used his achievements to create a national identity, the complex arguments of capitalism are often absent. Note that this identity was shaped more by nationalism and capitalism, and less by moral ism: This particular contention is often noted by some who contend that Lincoln would have left slavery intact if it meant national preservation; however, Richard Hofstadter shaped Lincoln as a man who was destined to complete what Thomas Jefferson did not finish: A nation of enlightened actors who would eradicate the evils of slavery now, not later. Much of my “now argument” was derived from Lincoln’s understanding of the changing economy and America’s world status.
Still, it was clear that Lincoln and many white northerners did not see the Negro as being on equal footing with whites. They feared more than anything the expansion of free Negros to the north, which created a surplus of workers thus bringing about a diminishing number of jobs: This basic conclusion enveloped Lincoln as a systematic capitalists – one who recognized the changing economy but feared the plight of the union under its feudal state. Moreover, understanding the complex relationship between the North and the West, Lincoln saw the constant division of unity – thus he sought to transform the economic plight of a growing industrial age while eradicating the structure of the South’s Third-Estate economy. In doing this, Lincoln’s calculus was one that Thomas Jefferson had yet to understand: Tell the masses what they need to know in order to bring about change socially and morally, but do not permit this.