The most important influence on Abraham Lincoln’s political thought and practice was what he learned from the leading figures and especially founding documents of the birth of the United States.
From George Washington to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, Lincoln learned about the promise and challenges of American self-government.
He also drew from the Founding Fathers’ compromise over slavery to address the growing political divide of his time over the future of slavery in the United States.
Without the ideals of the American Revolution, Lincoln’s most famous speeches would be unrecognizable, and the character of the nation would have lost its foundation on the universal principles of human equality, individual rights, and government by the consent of the governed.
In understanding Lincoln, we understand the essential principles and structures of American self-government, as well as what is required of a free people to maintain their republican way of life. By reminding the nation of its noblest ideals, Lincoln hoped that “the better angels of our nature’ would heal the divided country and preserve “the last best hope of earth.”
The New York State Library will host historian Lucas Morel on Thursday, February 15, 2024 from 12 until 1 pm, EST, for a virtual talk entitled “Lincoln, the Founding, and an America Worth Saving.”
Lucas Morel is the John K. Boardman, Jr. Professor of Politics and Head of the Politics Department at Washington and Lee University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Claremont Graduate University. He is a former president of the Abraham Lincoln Institute; a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance; a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society; a consultant for the Library of Congress and National Archives; and currently serves on the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, which will plan activities to commemorate the founding of the United States of America.
You can register for the event here.
Illustration: Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (Library of Congress).