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History a the wish fulfillment of abolitionists.

The most important thing to remember is that Douglass was a newspaper editor and Lincoln was a politician. It is a safe bet that whatever their true feeling  they were never less than effusive with each other when it suited their purposes. From a wide variety of public statements the Kendricks have assembled a history that does not even entertain the racists comments and actions of Lincoln nor the revolutionary comments and actions of Douglass. Whatever else it may be this is in no way history.

Douglass and Lincoln : how a revolutionary black leader and a reluctant liberator struggled to end slavery and save the union    New York : Walker & Co, 2008  Paul Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. x, 306 p. : ill., ports. ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln had only three meetings, but their exchanges profoundly influenced the course of slavery and the outcome of the Civil War. Although Abraham Lincoln deeply opposed the institution of slavery, he saw the Civil War at its onset as being primarily about preserving the Union. Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave, by contrast saw the War’s mission to be the total and permanent abolition of slavery. And yet, these giants of the nineteenth century, despite their different outlooks, found common ground, in large part through their three historic meetings.

Lincoln first invited Douglass to the White House in August 1862. Well-known for his speeches and his internationally read abolitionist newspaper, Douglass laid out for the president his concerns about how the Union army was discriminating against black soldiers. Douglass, often critical of the president in his speeches and articles, was impressed by Lincoln’s response.

The following summer when the war was going poorly, the president summoned Douglass to the White House. Fearing that he might not be reelected, Lincoln showed Douglass a letter he had prepared stating his openness to negotiating a settlement to end the Civil War – and leave slavery intact in the South. Douglass strongly advised Lincoln against making the letter public. Lincoln never did; Atlanta fell and he was reelected.

Their final meeting was at the White House reception following Lincoln’s second inaugural address, where Lincoln told Douglass there was no man in the country whose opinion he valued more and Douglass called the president’s inaugural address “sacred.” In elegant prose and with unusual insights, Paul and Stephen Kendrick chronicle the parallel lives of Douglass and Lincoln as a means of presenting a fresh, unique picture of two men who, in their differences, eventually challenged each other to greatness and altered the course of the nation.

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