Cover image for The Lincoln persuasion : remaking American liberalism
The Lincoln persuasion : remaking American liberalism
Greenstone, J. David.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1993.
Physical Description:
xxxiii, 312 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Princeton studies in American politics
Series Title:
Princeton studies in American politics


Material Type
Item Barcode
Call Number
Shelf Location
Item Holds
Book BILKUTUP0150164 E302.1 .G84 1993 Central Campus Library

On Order



In this, his last work, J. David Greenstone provides an important new analysis of American liberalism and of Lincoln's unique contribution to the nation's political life. Greenstone addresses Louis Hartz's well-known claim that a tradition of liberal consensus has characterized American political life from the time of the founders. Although he acknowledges the force of Hartz's thesis, Greenstone nevertheless finds it inadequate for explaining prominent instances of American political discord, most notably the Civil War.

Originally published in 1993.

The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

Table of Contents

List of Charts and Tables
Editor's Note
Introduction to the Book
1 The Lincoln Myth Reconsideredp. 9
Lincoln's Ulterior Motivesp. 12
Lincoln's Devotion to Liberty and Unionp. 16
Lincoln's Principle of Actionp. 18
Lincoln's Motives and Principlep. 21
The Problem of Political Conflict: Lincoln vs. Douglasp. 26
Lincoln's Principle as a Political Solutionp. 31
2 American Political Culture: Liberal Consensus or Liberal Polarity?p. 35
American Exceptionalism: The Consensus Thesisp. 36
A Philosophical Critique: Multiple Meanings and Descriptionsp. 48
The Bipolarity in American Liberalismp. 50
The Liberal Polarity: Conflicting Dispositionsp. 63
3 Adams and Jefferson: A Shared Liberalismp. 71
Friendship, Rivalry, Friendshipp. 71
The Problem of Adams's Liberalismp. 73
The Multiple Declensions of New England Culturep. 76
The Founding Synthesisp. 78
Equality and the Liberal Polarityp. 90
4 Adams, Jefferson, and the Slavery Paradoxp. 95
The Slavery Paradoxp. 96
Liberalism and the Issue of Slaveryp. 105
5 William Leggett: Process, Utility, and Laissez-Fairep. 124
Jacksonian Politics and Humanist Liberal Principlesp. 124
Laissez-Faire: Leggett's Attenuated Republicanismp. 127
Leggett's Humanist Liberalism: Preferences and Processp. 130
Slaveryp. 133
6 Stephen A. Douglas and Popular Sovereigntyp. 140
Jacksonian Politics and Humanist Liberalismp. 141
Douglas's Attenuated Republicanismp. 145
Preference Coordinationp. 148
Slaveryp. 150
7 Martin Van Buren's Humanist Liberal Theory of Partyp. 154
Jacksonian Democrat and Humanist Liberalp. 155
Van Buren's Humanist Liberal Theory of Partyp. 158
Van Buren's Attenuated Republicanismp. 169
Slaveryp. 172
Van Buren's Failure: Slavery and Preference Coordinationp. 179
8 John Quincy Adamsp. 191
Adams's Whiggish Loyaltiesp. 192
Adams and Slaveryp. 196
Adams's Liberalismp. 198
Reform Liberalism and Politicsp. 205
9 Lincoln and the North's Commitment to Liberty and Unionp. 222
Douglas: Negative Liberty and a Quantitative Unionp. 223
Webster: Positive Liberty and a Qualitative Unionp. 226
Lincoln on Liberty and Union: A Conceptual Connectionp. 230
Conclusion: Rule Ambiguity and Liberal Politicsp. 240
10 Lincoln's Political Humanitarianism: Moral Reform and the Covenant Traditionp. 244
Lincoln's Political Ethicp. 245
Lincoln's Protestant Ethicp. 258
Conclusion: Lincoln's Pietyp. 282
Epiloguep. 284
Referencesp. 287
Indexp. 299