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For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy. Long before Alex Haley popularized the idea of "roots," Americans have been concerned with the search for ancestors. The attempt to answer the question, "Who are we? Popular culture has its own answers, and we have, in fact, often witnessed a real tension between popular history and professional history in answering vital questions about who we are and where we came from.
In the s, when race was an overriding concern, our search for self-definition through looking at our roots led to a heated controversy over the real meaning of Abraham Lincoln.
Lincoln was one in a series of American founding fathers, and his views on slavery and race might provide a guide for those troubled days.
The popular view of Lincoln as the Great Emancipator could provide a source for an American commitment to racial justice. In February,a prominent black journalist, Lerone Bennett, Jr. Bennett stated that Lincoln's path was itself deeply flawed; Lincoln was the embodiment of the American racist tradition.
Lincoln, he charged, was no idealist; he was a "cautious politician" who was never committed to abolishing slavery but only to preventing its extension. He was motivated by a concern for the interests of his white constituents, not the needs of the oppressed blacks.
During the celebrated debates with Stephen A. Douglas, Lincoln explicitly supported the doctrine of white supremacy, and he opposed granting civil and political rights to Negroes.
As President, he spent the first eighteen months of his administration "in a desperate and rather pathetic attempt to save slavery"; he moved against it only because of circumstances and the pressure applied by a small band of dedicated radicals. The Emancipation Proclamation was not a great charter of freedom; congressional legislation had already gone further, and the Proclamation applied only in areas where Lincoln could not enforce it.
Moreover, only a few months before his death Lincoln was still equivocating about immediate emancipation. Lincoln, according to Bennett, never did accept the idea that the United States could be a genuinely bi-racial society, and to the very end the President supported a policy of colonization.
Lincoln's reconstruction policies virtually ignored the needs of the blacks. Therefore, Bennett concluded, "Lincoln must be seen as the embodiment, not the transcendence, of the American tradition, which is, as we all know, a racist tradition.
His charges were broadcast on radio and television and were debated in newspapers. The issues he had raised were important. The fact that Bennett was a spokesman for blacks contributed to the article's impact because it had been blacks who had, in large measure, made Lincoln a symbol of liberation in the first place.
Bennett had not only called into question the reputation of a beloved hero, he had challenged the American picture of our history as the story of measured progress toward liberal goals.
Mitgang's article asked, "Was Lincoln Just a Honkie?President Lincoln claimed to be fighting to restore the Union. Both sides began to mobilize men and supplies to the battlefield by the summer of In , Lincoln adopted the radical Republican position that emancipation was a military necessity.
Eventually . To search LTC results database for individual results, enter name below. Note: Database gets updated once per year usually in November. Explain what leadership should look like or what a good relationship might accomplish or how Weather and/or Climate can be important.
School Calendar Lincoln’s volleyball team played Bryant after school today. What a powerhouse of talent and enthusiasm!
They played their hearts out with a lot of positive energy. Draw: Create a separate political cartoon of Lincoln based on each of these excerpts.
Present your political Present your political cartoons to the class. #56 Reconstruction pfmlures.com #50 John Brown pfmlures.com #51 Lincoln and Start of Civil pfmlures.com #51 Lincoln Quotes on pfmlures.com #52 Socratic Civil War pfmlures.com Rough Draft Missouri Compromise Documents Railroad pfmlures.com #54 Civil War Emancipation to pfmlures.com #48 Transportation Revolution Lowell pfmlures.com