A Just and Generous Nation

A Just and Generous Nation

Abraham Lincoln and the Fight for American Opportunity

Book - 2015
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"In A Just and Generous Nation, the eminent historian Harold Holzer and the noted economist Norton Garfinkle present a groundbreaking new account of the beliefs that inspired our sixteenth president to go to war when the Southern states seceded from the Union. Rather than a commitment to eradicating slavery or a defense of the Union, they argue, Lincoln's guiding principle was the defense of equal economic opportunity. Lincoln firmly believed that the government's primary role was to ensure that all Americans had the opportunity to better their station in life. As president, he worked tirelessly to enshrine this ideal within the federal government. He funded railroads and canals, supported education, and, most importantly, issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which opened the door for former slaves to join white Americans in striving for self-improvement. In our own age of unprecedented inequality, A Just and Generous Nation reestablishes Lincoln's legacy as the protector not just of personal freedom but of the American dream itself"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York : Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2015
ISBN: 9780465028306
Branch Call Number: 973.7 H76
Characteristics: 311 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Garfinkle, Norton 1931-


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Jun 05, 2017

Helped me understand how the Republican Party transformed from Lincoln's aim of using the Federal Government to "clear the path" for a poor man to succeed on his own, to cutting taxes for the already-wealthy "job creators".

Very enjoyable reading. Not dense. Scholarly, but with fresh insight and clever historical selections. It's 2/3 biography (Lincoln and his political aims and methods), but 1/3 analysis of how and why our political philosophies developed.

Dec 12, 2015

Great book explaining Lincoln's careful and well-thought-out approach to the Emancipation Proclamation as a tool to advance his American Dream of equal opportunity to participate in the economy. The South was basically aristocratic, and that in turn was recreating the English system over which the Revolution was fought. Lincoln thought slavery had to stay in its place or be destroyed by war. And that is what the Emancipation Proclamation eventually did. Further the authors do a deft job of equating Lincoln's economic dream of a nation with a strong middle class as its anchor with later actions by TR, Wilson, FDR and Clinton. The war is still not settled as modern aristocratic CEOs and overly aggressive entrepreneurs promote the same limited government approach (with hints of Social Darwinism in it) to suppress unions, voting rights, cut services and wage wars on credit. There's so much more. Highly recommended. Very readable. History coming alive.


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