We Cannot Escape History: Lincoln and the Last Best Hope of Earth
James M. McPherson
University of Illinois Press, 2001 - Biography & Autobiography - 176 pages
In "We Cannot Escape History" a remarkable group of top Lincoln and Civil War scholars come together to explore the meaning of Lincoln for the destiny of the United States. They focus on Lincoln's view of American history and on his legacy - for Americans and for the world. In the process they deepen the reader's understanding of and appreciation for the complexity of the problems Lincoln faced and for the genius of his leadership, which surmounted these obstacles and preserved the United States as one nation indivisible while purging it of slavery, which had marred the democratic and egalitarian promise of America from the beginning. The contributors develop themes including Lincoln's conception of the United States as the last best hope for the preservation of democratic government and a republican polity, his view of American history and its meaning, his international impact, Lincoln and slavery, Lincoln and the uses of political power, and Lincoln as commander-in-chief in time of war.
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Page 2 - Fellow-citizens, we cannot escape history. We of this Congress and this Administration will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance or insignificance can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.