gov lecture 10_26_Notes

gov lecture 10_26_Notes - Lincoln and Slavery: I. Mythic...

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Lincoln and Slavery: I. “Mythic” Lincoln 2 basic components: · Democratic Myth: stands as rep of common man. Emerges as quintessential American common man. In many ways in late 19th century what Franklin was in early 19th century. Embodies ideal of self-made man. Born in a log cabin, self educated, honest, humility, plain, lacking in grace, physically awkward. (He exploited all of this in his political career, he was very shrewd). o “I was born and have ever remained in the most humble walks of life. I have always walked in the humble walks of life.” o “I presume you all know who I am, I am humble Abe Lincoln. If elected I should be thankful, if not it should be all the same.” o “Poor lean lank face.” Capitalized on physical attributes. · Christian: stands as representative of Christian drama of compassion pity martyrdom and redemption. Takes on his shoulders the torment and the moral burden of a sinful people. He suffers for them because they have had slaves and slavery. He redeems these people with his Christian virtue, the virtue of Christ. Malice toward none and charity for all (2nd inaggural 685). He is then destroyed, killed at the height of his success. And through his death, America is vicariously atoned and redeemed for its sins. Has about him a Christ- like persona. A look that almost says “forgive them for they know not what they do and have done.” Suffering slaves should be emancipated in middle of war so they could help in Union forces. Compassion and pity for Americans who have enslaved them is really at heart of Lincoln Myth. · Disentangle Lincoln from myth, see him as politician that he was. He was called from anonymity to become savior of America. But in fact, he was a career politician (from 23 on). 1830s and 40s, he was in Illinois politics. 50s 60s US congressional politics. Was not a demigod, he was a professional politician. · II. Lincoln’s Anti-Slavery views · From 1854 on Lincoln publicly attacked slavery as morally repugnant. 650, (1854) “I hate it because…” · Fundamental argument 1854 “threat of institituoin of slavery to all its aspects moral social and political. Violated fundamental Lockean ideals of individual independence and economy, 652. These lockean ideals enshrined in declaration of independence is the basis of america’s republic from where it draws its true meaning an significance, not the constitution. Constitution not source of
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American ideals and values. Constitution acknowledges and legitimizes slavery. Shifts fundamental doctrine of stating American ideals to the revolutionary idealism of declaration of independence. Slavery represents violation for all men to govern themselves, a right that established by delcation of independence. Turning away from constitution, as the charter of American freedom. “I never had a feeling that sprung from Declaration of Independence.” The doctrine of inalienable rights, “an abstract truth applicable to all men at all times.” Unique reading of declaration of Independence. Especially
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This note was uploaded on 02/20/2009 for the course GOVT 3665 taught by Professor Kramnick, i during the Fall '08 term at Cornell.

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gov lecture 10_26_Notes - Lincoln and Slavery: I. Mythic...

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