Sean Wilentz on Recent Lincoln Books

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May 14, 2008
This leaves me torn.

On one hand, there's a good reason for Lincoln's use of politics (and he should be understood as having done so - the Lincoln as some lofty creature above politics is pure baloney).

On the other hand, the tone of...disrespect is the word coming to my mind - on radical reformers having no clue is grating.

There are a great many things that would happen faster without politics and the game being played not to accomplish things but for the sake of the game, and that cannot be overstated.

Going back to Lincoln, I admire him for two things.

Believing in the right things (at least in the direction of them), and actually getting some done.

Being a master politician in and of itself is no virtue and should be looked upon suspiciously. That Lincoln used such for good ends is good and he should be remembered as such - that is, someone who used his considerable political skills for good ends.

Just some thoughts as a liberal intellectual cynical idealistic admirer of Lincoln and a student of history.

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