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This book examines the Lincoln presidency in relation to the notion of democracy. It reexamines the role of the sixteenth president of the United States. Here, he is shown as a largely autocratic savior of a failing democracy and virtually bankrupt political system, not the vindicator of a fundamentally sound democratic political regime, but one who was simply tossed around by historical circumstances. It also attempts to put Lincoln into political perspective with some leaders and situations of the twentieth century to which the Lincoln experience of 1861-1865 seems especially relevant. As president, Lincoln had resorted to measures which-myth notwithstanding-cannot be fully reconciled with any intellectually honest notion of democratic rule. Assessing this experience, we need to keep in mind the ever-present pathological potential of 'democracies,' both in the United States and elsewhere, as well as the singular genius of Lincoln's contribution to the survival and greatness of the American Republic.
Alexander J. Groth is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Davis.
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- ID: 9780761804789
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