The Writings of Abraham Lincoln


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Edited and with an Introduction by Steven B. Smith; with essays by Danilo Petranovich, Ralph Lerner, Benjamin Kleinerman, Steven B. Smith

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Abraham Lincoln never wrote a book: his ideas are contained in speeches, letters, and occasional writings. By bringing these works together into a single anthology, this book shows that Lincoln deserves to be counted among the great political philosophers.

In addition to many examples of Lincoln’s writings, this volume includes four interpretive essays that will provide an intellectual feast for any reader exploring his complex legacy. Danilo Petranovich looks at Lincoln’s conception of the Union and its radically new focus on purging the nation of the problem of slavery. Ralph Lerner reconsiders Lincoln’s relation to the American framers and in particular his effort to put the Declaration of Independence on a new foundation. Benjamin Kleinerman examines Lincoln’s always controversial views on the scope of executive power during war. And Steven Smith considers the place of religion in Lincoln’s political thought through a close reading of his Second Inaugural Address.

Steven B. Smith is Alfred Cowles Professor of Political Science and Master of Branford College at Yale University. He lives in New Haven.

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"Lincoln is our most unsettling president. This selection invites us to wrestle with him—and with our own, and God's actions in the world."—Richard Brookhiser, author of James Madison

"A handsome collection of Lincoln's finest utterances.  The appended essays are broadly critical, but they rightly conclude that Lincoln's thought is more than a match for ours."—Harvey Mansfield, Professor at Harvard University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, author of Manliness

“The selection of Lincoln writings is first-rate, and the secondary essays are original and thought-provoking. Citizens and students will long note what is published here, and will be grateful to Yale University Press, the editors—and to Lincoln!—for this volume.”—William Kristol, Editor, The Weekly Standard
ISBN: 9780300165104
Publication Date: May 29, 2012
544 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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