By Brian R. Dirck

As "Savior of the Union" and the "Great Emancipator," Abraham Lincoln has been lauded for his braveness, knowledge, and ethical fiber. but Frederick Douglass's statement that Lincoln used to be the "white man's president" has been utilized by a few detractors as facts of his essentially racist personality. seen objectively, Lincoln used to be a white man's president through advantage of his personal whiteness and that of the tradition that produced him. in the past, even though, historians have not often explored simply what this implies for our figuring out of the fellow and his activities.

Writing on the leading edge of "whiteness studies," Brian Dirck considers Lincoln as a standard American white guy of his time who bore the a number of assumptions, prejudices, and boundaries of his personal racial id. He exhibits us a Lincoln much less prepared or in a position to go beyond these barriers than his extra heroic personality may recommend but in addition contends that Lincoln's figuring out and method of racial bigotry was once extra enlightened than these of so much of his white contemporaries.

Blazing a brand new path in Lincoln reports, Dirck unearths that Lincoln used to be good conscious of and sympathetic to white fears, specially that of descending into "white trash," a thought that gnawed at a guy desirous to distance himself from his personal coarse origins. yet he additionally indicates that once Lincoln crossed the Rubicon of black emancipation, he persevered to develop past such cultural constraints, as visible in his seven recorded encounters with nonwhites.

Dirck probes extra deeply into what "white" intended in Lincoln's time and what it intended to Lincoln himself, and from this angle he proposes a brand new figuring out of the way Lincoln seen whiteness as a unique racial type that encouraged his regulations. As Dirck ably demonstrates, Lincoln rose some distance sufficient above the confines of his tradition to complete deeds nonetheless worthwhile of our admiration, and he demands a extra seriously educated admiration of Lincoln that permits us to have a good time his massive accomplishments whereas at the same time spotting his obstacles.

When Douglass saw that Lincoln was once the white man's president, he would possibly not have meant it as a major analytical classification. yet, as Dirck indicates, probably we must always do so—the higher to appreciate not only the Lincoln presidency, however the guy himself.

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Abraham Lincoln and White America by Brian R. Dirck

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