Download Abraham Lincoln and White America by Brian R. Dirck PDF

By Brian R. Dirck

As "Savior of the Union" and the "Great Emancipator," Abraham Lincoln has been lauded for his braveness, knowledge, and ethical fiber. but Frederick Douglass's statement that Lincoln was once the "white man's president" has been utilized by a few detractors as facts of his essentially racist personality. seen objectively, Lincoln was once a white man's president by means of advantage of his personal whiteness and that of the tradition that produced him. before, although, historians have not often explored simply what this suggests for our figuring out of the guy and his activities.

Writing on the leading edge of "whiteness studies," Brian Dirck considers Lincoln as a regular American white guy of his time who bore the a number of assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries of his personal racial identification. He exhibits us a Lincoln much less keen or in a position to go beyond these boundaries than his extra heroic character may recommend but in addition contends that Lincoln's figuring out and method of racial bigotry was once extra enlightened than these of so much of his white contemporaries.

Blazing a brand new path in Lincoln reviews, Dirck finds that Lincoln used to be good conscious of and sympathetic to white fears, specially that of descending into "white trash," a suggestion that gnawed at a guy wanting to distance himself from his personal coarse origins. yet he additionally exhibits that once Lincoln crossed the Rubicon of black emancipation, he persisted to develop past such cultural constraints, as visible in his seven recorded encounters with nonwhites.

Dirck probes extra deeply into what "white" intended in Lincoln's time and what it intended to Lincoln himself, and from this angle he proposes a brand new knowing of ways Lincoln considered whiteness as a different racial type that encouraged his regulations. As Dirck ably demonstrates, Lincoln rose some distance sufficient above the confines of his tradition to complete deeds nonetheless important of our admiration, and he demands a extra severely trained admiration of Lincoln that enables us to have fun his huge accomplishments whereas at the same time spotting his boundaries.

When Douglass saw that Lincoln used to be the white man's president, he would possibly not have meant it as a significant analytical type. yet, as Dirck indicates, maybe we must always do so—the larger to appreciate not only the Lincoln presidency, however the guy himself.

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