- 8,49 €
In his acclaimed book Lincoln's Virtues, William Lee Miller explored Abraham Lincoln's intellectual and moral development. Now he completes his "ethical biography," showing how the amiable and inexperienced backcountry politician was transformed by constitutional alchemy into an oath-bound head of state. Faced with a radical moral contradiction left by the nation's Founders, Lincoln struggled to find a balance between the universal ideals of Equality and Liberty and the monstrous injustice of human slavery.
With wit and penetrating sensitivity, Miller brings together the great themes that have become Lincoln's legacy—preserving the United States of America while ending the odious institution that corrupted the nation's meaning—and illuminates his remarkable presidential combination: indomitable resolve and supreme magnanimity.
Subtle and nuanced, this study is something of a sequel to Miller's Lincoln's Virtues. Here he examines Honest Abe's moral and intellectual life while in the White House, prosecuting a bloody war. Miller finds that early in his presidency, Lincoln balanced two strong ethical imperatives his duty to preserve the union and his determination not to fire the first shots. Of course, Miller also addresses that other great moral challenge: slavery. In short, says Miller, Lincoln believed slavery was "not only profoundly wrong but profoundly wrong specifically as measured by this nation's moral essence," and he used a terrific amount of political savvy to push through emancipation. But more original is Miller's discussion of what Lincoln thought was at stake in the war. Through a close reading of the president's papers, Miller persuasively argues that Lincoln believed secession would not merely "diminish" or "damage" the United States but would destroy it. That, in turn, was an issue of global import, for if the American experiment failed, free government would not be secure anywhere. Miller has given us one of the most insightful accounts of Lincoln published in recent years.