Renowned scholar George Anastaplo describes a side of Abraham Lincoln that previous biographers have overlooked: the development and legacy of his legal and constitutional thought. With eloquent insights into Lincoln's intellect and the issues dividing the country he led, Anastaplo describes how the 16th president successfully managed the impossible task of keeping the world's greatest democracy united. Anastaplo also demonstrates Lincoln's continuing and profound influence on modern American society, law, and politics, and he shows readers the lessons this fascinating man can still teach Americans about coping with our own divisive times.
Lincoln grappled with major constitutional issues. It is fascinating to see constitutional scholar George Anastaplo grapple with Lincoln grappling with constitutional issues. -- Paul Simon, director of the Public Policy Institute, Southern Illinois University and former U.S. Senator. This beautifully written book offers the considered judgments of a penetrating, judicious, and temperate mind concerning the American constitutional order and its most far-sighted and deeply prudential defender and representative, Abraham Lincoln. Anastaplo's lucid and perceptive essays, combining philosophical insight and historical sensitivity to the exigencies of political context, encourage in the reader both an awareness of and a disposition toward qualities of moral excellence required in a well ordered republican polity. -- Herman Belz, University of Maryland The writings of George Anastaplo have as one of their main purposes the attempt to teach Americans how to maintain their freedom with justice and moderation. These essays on Lincoln's constitutional thought are among the finest lessons one can have on the art of republican statesmanship. -- Leo Paul S. de Alvarez, University of Dallas The finest scholarly writing on Lincoln's words that I know. My feeling is that Anastaplo must have sat at Lincoln's elbow as he composed the Proclamation of September 1862, and discussed it with him, paragraph by paragraph. As a proof of the possibility that one can understand a great writer as he understood himself, it is the definitive refutation of historicism. -- Harry V. Jaffa, Philosophy Emeritus, Claremont McKenna College and Claremont Graduate School The mature product of a lifetime of reflection on Lincoln, Anastaplo brings to the study of America's deepest president a rare combination of philosophic depth, practical sense, and sensitivity to constitutional issues. Both inclination and study have taught Anastaplo to think like Lincoln. -- Laurence Berns, St. John's College, Annapolis Anastaplo illustrates in this original and stimulating work that Lincoln based his political principles on a deep and abiding faith in popular government. Lincoln scholars, Civil War buffs, and well-informed general readers will find much that is revealing here. -- Jay Freeman Booklist Successfully carves a niche in the crowded collection of Lincolniana. Library Journal The essays reflect the perspectives Anastaplo has gained in the course of a long, distinguished, and highly productive career as a teacher and scholar of the law, political science, and philosophy. They address enduring questions about government, polity, and the challenge of balancing a desire to promote morality and ideals against political realities. Students of philosophy, political science, and the law will indeed find much food for thought here. -- Ethan Rafuse H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online, November 1999 A stimulating examination of principled leadership more edifying than the gladiators currently performing in the Colosseum of American politics. -- Don Erler Fort Worth Star-Telegram A remarkable portrait of Lincoln as a political philosopher whose thinking was always more subtle than his back-country myth implied. Publishers Weekly Anastaplo produced a meditation on American politics, Platonic in its focus virtue, historical in its emphasis on prudence, modern in its suggestion that equality is the major continuing problem in American law and social structures-it is, in short, the product of a life-time's thought about the American polity. Civil War Book Review Anastaplo's reflections pay Lincoln the highest compliment: they show how, by taking Lincoln seriously as a political theorist and practitioner, readers can take their own responsibilites as citizens more seriously. Consistently insightful and thought-provoking, offering sensible interpretations of Lincoln's political craft. The Journal of Southern History Abraham Lincoln examines Lincoln's thought and philosophy through several important texts. Anastaplo's strategy of examining public documents to understand a political figure is a fruitful one. Rhetoric & Public Affairs Anastaplo's collection ... has real value. Most notably, Anastaplo does an excellent job of outlining the rational basis behind several of Lincoln's key ideas. The admiration for Lincoln's prudence and constitutional scruples so apparent in these collected essays, coming as they do from someone who suffered greatly during an era when such values were largely absent, endows this book with a special poignancy. Civil War History This provocative book offers a rich retrospective of the musings of George Anastaplo, one of our foremost political thinkers. Journal of American History