Recommending Lewis Lehrman’s Lincoln at Peoria for Honest Abe’s 201st

On this 201st anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, no lengthy tributes are needed — I don’t even have time to replicate the modest one I wrote last year for the bicentennial. I did, however, want to take the occasion to recommend a book to you that was recommended to me by fellow RMA blogger Don Johnson about Christmastime.

Lincoln at Peoria by Lewis Lehrman highlights the great turning point in Abraham Lincoln’s political career, the awakening that resulted from the Kansas-Nebraska Act and his powerful October 1854 speech at Peoria, Illinois, which sharpened the distinctly antislavery focus that led to his key role in forming the Republican Party, debating Stephen Douglas in 1858 and ultimately serving as President during our nation’s most trying time. I recommend Lincoln at Peoria among the essential Lincoln books.

But don’t take my word for it. Of Lehrman’s book, Harry Jaffa, the dean of Lincoln scholars, writes:

The Peoria speech was what Socrates would call his “second sailing,” Lincoln’s re-entry into political life, to rescue the principles of the Declaration from the reproach of hypocrisy, to complete the work of the American Founders, and to make possible a new birth of freedom. Lincoln at Peoria laid the foundation for the greatest statesmanship the world has ever seen. We are greatly indebted to Lewis Lehrman’s superb book for helping us to understand why no list, however short, of the greatest speeches of all time could omit Lincoln at Peoria.

Thanks, Don, for the recommendation. Now I pass the recommendation on to all my readers as well.


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