Item description for Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Library of Religious Biography) by Allen C. Guelzo...
Overview A unique "intellectual biography" of America's most celebrated president. Despite tremendous interest in Abraham Lincoln and his place in one of America's most tumultuous historical periods, little has been written about his religious life. This truly fresh look at the nation's sixteenth president relates the outward events of Lincoln's life to his inner spiritual struggles and sets them both against the intellectual backdrop of his age.
Publishers Description An enlightening "intellectual biography" of Lincoln, Allen Guelzo's peerless account of America's most celebrated president explores the role of ideas in Lincoln's life, treating him as a serious thinker deeply involved in the nineteenth-century debates over politics, religion, and culture. Written with passion and dramatic impact, Guelzo's masterful study offers a revealing new perspective on a man whose life was in many ways a paradox. Since its original publication in 1999, Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President has garnered numerous accolades, not least the prestigious 2000 Lincoln Prize. As journalist Richard N. Ostling has noted, "Much has been written about Lincoln's belief and disbelief," but Guelzo's extraordinary account "goes deeper."
Citations And Professional Reviews Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Library of Religious Biography) by Allen C. Guelzo has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Atlantic Monthly - 06/01/2003 page 88
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Studio: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.14" Width: 6.28" Height: 1.16" Weight: 1.52 lbs.
Release Date Apr 1, 2003
Publisher Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Series Library Of Religious Biography
ISBN 0802842933 ISBN13 9780802842930
Availability 0 units.
More About Allen C. Guelzo
Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Lincoln s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America and Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, both winners of the Lincoln Prize. Guelzo s essays, reviews, and articles have appeared in publications ranging from TheAmerican Historical Review and The Wilson Quarterly to newspapers such as ThePhiladelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal."
Allen C. Guelzo has an academic affiliation as follows - Gettysburg College.
Reviews - What do customers think about Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (Library of Religious Biography)?
Must read Mar 24, 2006
This is fine biography traces Lincoln's philosphical and theological development and in so doing helps us understand the secret to Lincoln's greatness, which was his ability to make sense of the Civil War. If you ever wondered where the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln's Second Innaugral came from, this book will show you. This remains one the most interesting and compelling biographies I have ever read.
Raymond R. Roberts Ph.D.
Inspiring Feb 12, 2006
A breath-taking account of the life of one of America's greatest leaders. Lincoln's though and personality are an inspiration and a challenge to any thoughtful person. This book inspired me to a greater study of American history.
An Intellectual and Religious Biography of Lincoln Sep 11, 2003
Biographies of Abraham Lincoln have tended to fall into two broad categories. The first category consists of biographies of the "subjective" Lincoln. These biographies are based largely on the many anecdotes and stories people told about Lincoln's life, typically during the early years in Illinois and concentrate on trying to explore Lincoln as a man (He remains an enigma.)The second category of Lincoln biography is the political. This biography focuses on Lincoln's public actions, typically during or shortly before his Presidency and draws on the lengthy public record available during the Civil War years. This type of biographical approach tends to give short shrift to the personal approach.
In his "Abraham Lincoln, Redeemer President" Allen Guelzo points out these two approaches to Lincoln studies (p.472) and says that his book is an attempt to combine the personal and public approaches to Lincoln. Professor Guelzo, Dean of Templeton Honors Colledge and Professor of History at Eastern Universtiy, writes a primarily intellectual biography; but he tries to explore the degree to which Lincoln's thought formed his political actions.
Professor Guelzo devotes a great deal of attention to establishing Lincoln's political identity as a whig -- an admirer of both Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. From his early days in public life, Lincoln was interested in promoting economic opportunity by encouraging the free market. He supported ambitious programs of public works and public education, to develop transportation infrastructure, (canals, roads, and railroads) and to promote the growth of industry and of a middle class. The whig approach emphasized public virtue, public morality, the value of hard work, and a unified United States. Guelzo effectively contrasts Lincoln's Whiggish beliefs with the agrarian beliefs of the Jefferson-Jacksonian democrats with their commitment to a nation of agrarian, self-sufficient yeomen and farmers. (Lincoln's father was such a yeoman, and Lincoln wanted none of it for himself.)
Professor Guelzo traces the beginnings of Lincoln's opposition to the expansion of slavery, in the early 1850's. to his desire to promote the development of upwardly mobile capitalist workers. He tended to see agrarianism as slavery slightly disguised. Lincoln never lost his whig commitments, according to Professor Guelzo, even after the party disbanded and Lincoln became a leader of the Republican party.
Professor Guelzo also studies the nature of Lincoln's religious beliefs and the importance Lincoln gave to religous questions. As is the case with Lincoln's economic rebellion against his father, Professor Guelzo finds the beginnings of Lincoln's religious thought in a youthful rebellion against the Calvinism and predestinarian beliefs of his father. Lincoln found he could not believe in the revealed God of the Bible, although he knew the Bible well. He could not accept the doctrine of predestination, but he came close to it in a secular way. During most of his life, Lincoln was a determinist who believed that people had little independent choice in what they did but acted in response to outside factors which they did not control.
According to Professor Guelzo, Lincoln also tended towards the englightenment of John Locke and towards the utilitarianism of Mill and Bentham. His politics and Presidency, of course, have distincly pragmatic characters. Throughout his life, Lincoln remained outside the fold of organized religion.
According to Professor Guelzo, Lincoln's thought developed as Lincoln confronted at deepening levels the difficulty of the Civil War. The beginning of this development was the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates where Lincoln vigourously attacked the morality of holding slaves. Lincoln's thoughts on providence, for Professor Guelzo, were instrumental in Lincoln's decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation. Lincoln told his cabinet he had made a promise "to his maker" to issue the Proclamation and that he could not do otherwise. (pp 341-42.) Guelzo continues his treatment of providential themes in Lincoln with his discussion of the Gettysburg Address and the Second Inaugural Address.
There is also a great deal in the book that discusses Lincoln's handling of the War, the border states, his generals, and the Army. Professor Guelzo's intellectual and religous themes sometimes get lost in these discussions, and we are reminded that Lincoln was a pragmatist, a leader and a consummate politician.
The picture of Lincoln's religiosity that emerges from Professor Guelzo's study has a distinctly modern flavor. (Professor Guelzo sees it as high Victorian.) Lincoln was a person who sought religous belief but could not find his way to an organized religion of his day. He was not, in his mid and late life, content simply with materialism and skepticism but rather developed his own religious thought based upon a rather loosely defined notion of providence and redemption. As personal as his thought was, it helped shape our nation. Lincoln's life, as Professor Guelzo presents it, seems to be a paradigm of many people today who reject organized religion in favor of a search for what many call spirituality.
On a political level, Guelzo's account of Lincoln stresses that the United States is and has become a unified Nation and that Americans should see themselves, for all their diversity and differences as part of a unified people. I also see the book as a reminder of the value of hard work and economic effort.
Professor Guelzo has written a thoughtful, provocative study of Lincoln the man, the thinker, and the President.
Lincoln the Whig Jun 5, 2003
Like a typical biography, Redeemer President goes through its subject's life. But unlike most biographies, Redeemer President centers on the maturation of its subject's thinking. Guelzo shows how some of Lincoln's most famous ideas, such as his reliance on "the proposition that all men are created equal," was part of Whig orthodoxy. To trace Lincoln's development takes nothing away from his genius, of course.
This was one of the most enjoyable biographies I have read on Lincoln. One might begin with Oates' With Malice Toward None for Lincoln's life as a great story. Then go to Donald's Lincoln for a more modern biography -- lots and lots of facts, but with little attempt to see Lincoln as a product of his own time. Both are very well written, but I prefer Guelzo's over either of them.
If you like Guelzo's book on Lincoln's thought, you'll like A New Birth of Freedom by Harry V. Jaffa, which Guelzo calls "the greatest book on Lincoln's politics for another generation."
Where is the Real Lincoln? Dec 7, 2002
Eerdmans should stick to theological tomes, rather than embarassing themselves with yet another propaganda piece for the Yankee cause. Guelzo fails to mention how Lincoln trampled upon the Constitution (Illegal arrests, Intimidation of duly elected leaders (e.g. Maryland State Legislature), and making war upon peaceful states which legally withdrew from the voluntary Union). A Government for the people, by the people vanished [Jeffersonian Constitutional Republic replaced with Consolidated Absolutism] with Lincoln's insistence that the Federal government existed before the States. The right of secession in America, beginning with the Declaration of Independence, was taught for decades until Sen. Sumner thundered from the Senate floor that this was a perpetual Union (Lincoln decided to carry this torch at the expense of 600,000 innocents). Lincoln's Emancipation proclamation was none other than a war measure (slaves were being used to build the capital and slaves were only declared free in Confederate held territory)encouraging slaves to revolt: this did not happen. Guelzo also fails to mention that slavery in the South was dying out and that roughly 10% of her people ever owned slaves. Guelzo failed to point out that the Emancipation Proclamation was illegal since it would have to take a Constitutional amendment to change the Constitution. Furthermore, his book fails to point out that the Emancipation had no jurisdiction in the Confederate States of America since the Southern states were no longer a member of the Union. I'm amazed at how people continue to admire a man who waged war on people who decided to follow in the footsteps of their fathers: Revolutionary War Heroes. The South was right, and the Northern propaganda machine is still filling the public mind with lies. If Abraham Lincoln embodies what a Christian is, then I'm not one, and evangelicals fascination with a man who was not converted until after Gettyburg is dangerous. Furthermore, I have no respect for a man who waged war on my native state: North Carolina.