Abraham Lincoln never wrote a book: his ideas are contained in speeches, letters, and various 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.