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Comments for Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty

Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty: 02/04/14

 cover art

Emancipation Proclamation: Lincoln and the Dawn of Liberty by Tonya Bolden takes a fresh look at the Civil War, the end of slavery, and the immediate aftermath. Included in this examination is a closer, more skeptical look at Lincoln's beliefs and political motivations.

When I was in school in the 1980s, Lincoln, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and Kennedy were the presidents who could do no wrong. They were presented in our history lessons as HEROES, no questions asked. They were above reproach.

Bolden's book, though, doesn't begin with the same assumptions. Lincoln is taken in the context of what his actions meant for African Americans (whether free or enslaved) before and during the Civil War, and the repercussions of those actions. The end of slavery is framed as more a means to an end (a very welcomed end) but not the main purpose of Lincoln's political machinations.

It was refreshing to see Lincoln's political career scrutinized. Certainly he had a ton of influence but no historical figure should be exempted from closer analysis.

Four stars

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