Publisher description for The age of Lincoln / by Orville Vernon Burton.


Bibliographic record and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


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A Sweeping Retelling of Secession, Civil War, and Reconstruction

Stunning in its breadth and conclusions, The Age of Lincoln is a fiercely original history of the five decades that pivoted around the presidency of Abraham Lincoln. Abolishing slavery, the age’s most extraordinary accomplishment, was not its most profound. The enduring legacy of the age was inscribing personal liberty into the nation’s millennial aspirations.

America has always perceived providence in its progress, but in the 1840s and 1850s a pessimism accompanied a marked extremism. With all sides claiming God’s blessing, irreconcilable freedoms collided; despite historic political compromises the middle ground collapsed. In a remarkable reappraisal of Lincoln, the distinguished historian Orville Vernon Burton shows how the president’s Southernness empowered him to conduct a civil war that redefined freedom as a personal right protected by the rule of law. In the violent decades that followed, the extent of that freedom would be contested by racism and unregulated capitalism, but not its central place in what defined the country.

Presenting a fresh conceptualization of the opening decades of modern America, The Age of Lincoln is narrative history of the highest order.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
United States -- History -- 19th century.
United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865.
Lincoln, Abraham, -- 1809-1865.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)