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SocialThoughtStudyGuide1 - 1 LINCOLN AND THE AMERICAN...

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1. LINCOLN AND THE AMERICAN TRADITION Lincoln’s brief second Inaugural address highlights the following points: why his speech is so short—there’s less to say; during his first, he had to outline a course of action, whereas at the time of the second one, they were simply following it the progress of the Civil War—he offers no predictions about when it will end, but says that he is happy with the progress so far: “The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.” why the war happened—no one wanted it, but the South would rather have it than let the nation survive and the North would sooner accept it than “let it perish” slavery—says that it was the real cause of the war; everyone knew it but no one admitted it judgment—he asks that one party not judge the other, and encourages further progress with “malice toward none” 2. VICTORIAN AMERICA AND THE CHALLENGE OF DARWINISM Preface & Intro to AIT: xi-xiv, 3-4 AIT focuses on arguments, particularly the theoretical basis for religious, scientific, artistic, political, social, and economic practice. While works organized around themes, most intellectual works are dynamic and multifaceted. Part One focuses on the emerging secular culture, and the resulting tension between religion and secular concerns. Social science emerges as a potential tool in organizing society. Gray, “Review of Darwin’s Origin of Species” AIT 6-11 (1860) Gray describes the traditional view of species, which is that each specie is traceable back to an independently created “primitive stock” that recreates itself generation to generation. Variations that are observed are “mere oscillations from a normal state”, and do not represent a real break (lineal descent). Darwin, on the other hand, believes that species are not independently created, but have descended from other species; this divergence occurs through natural selection, based on the idea of the “struggle for existence.”
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Gray attempts to reconcile Darwin’s scientific theories with religion. He believes that the how of metamorphosis that both Darwin and Agassiz have proposed do not explain the why . (“As to why it is so, the philosophy of efficient cause, and even the whole argument from design, would stand, upon the admission of such a theory of derivation, precisely where they stand without it. At least there is, or need be, no ground of difference here between Darwin and Agassiz.” (10)) Gray is optimistic about Darwin’s theory gaining more evidence. Gray disagrees that Darwin’s work is atheistical and downplays its revolutionary character. Indeed, he compares natural selection with other theories such as gravity, saying that they are, better stated, “compatible with an atheistic view of the universe” (but, Gray also notes that these latter theories i.e. gravity, nebular hypothesis
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