Abraham Lincoln and White America by Brian R. Dirck

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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 evidence of his essentially racist personality. seen objectively, Lincoln used to be a white man's president through advantage of his personal whiteness and that of the tradition that produced him. in the past, even if, historians have not often explored simply what this implies for our knowing of the guy and his activities.

Writing on the forefront of "whiteness studies," Brian Dirck considers Lincoln as a customary American white guy of his time who bore the a number of assumptions, prejudices, and obstacles of his personal racial id. He indicates us a Lincoln much less prepared or capable of go beyond these obstacles than his extra heroic character may perhaps recommend but in addition contends that Lincoln's knowing 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, in particular that of descending into "white trash," a proposal that gnawed at a guy desirous to distance himself from his personal coarse origins. yet he additionally exhibits that when Lincoln crossed the Rubicon of black emancipation, he persevered to develop past such cultural constraints, as obvious 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 attitude he proposes a brand new realizing of ways Lincoln seen whiteness as a different racial type that motivated his rules. As Dirck ably demonstrates, Lincoln rose a long way sufficient above the confines of his tradition to complete deeds nonetheless precious of our admiration, and he demands a extra significantly knowledgeable admiration of Lincoln that enables us to rejoice his huge accomplishments whereas concurrently spotting his obstacles.

When Douglass saw that Lincoln was once the white man's president, he would possibly not have meant it as a major analytical class. yet, as Dirck indicates, possibly we should always do so—the greater to appreciate not only the Lincoln presidency, however the guy himself.

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