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 via advantage of his personal whiteness and that of the tradition that produced him. before, although, historians have not often explored simply what this suggests for our knowing of the fellow and his activities.

Writing on the leading edge of "whiteness studies," Brian Dirck considers Lincoln as a standard American white guy of his time who bore the a number of assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries of his personal racial id. He exhibits us a Lincoln much less prepared or in a position to go beyond these obstacles than his extra heroic character may well recommend but in addition contends that Lincoln's figuring out and method of racial bigotry used to be extra enlightened than these of such a lot of his white contemporaries.

Blazing a brand new path in Lincoln reviews, Dirck finds that Lincoln was once good conscious of and sympathetic to white fears, in particular that of descending into "white trash," a inspiration that gnawed at a guy wanting to distance himself from his personal coarse origins. yet he additionally exhibits that once Lincoln crossed the Rubicon of black emancipation, he persisted to develop past such cultural constraints, as noticeable 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 angle he proposes a brand new figuring out of the way Lincoln seen whiteness as a unique racial class that prompted 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 seriously proficient admiration of Lincoln that permits us to have a good time his substantial accomplishments whereas concurrently spotting his boundaries.

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

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Abraham Lincoln and White America by Brian R. Dirck


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