Abraham Lincoln, Philosopher Statesman by Joseph R. Fornieri

By Joseph R. Fornieri

ISBN-13: 9780809333295 (hardback)
ISBN-10: 0809333295 (cloth)
ISBN-13: 9780809333301 (ebook)

E457.2.F729 2014
973.7092—dc23 [B]
LCCN: 2013035557

What constitutes Lincoln’s political greatness as a statesman? As an exceptional chief, he stored the Union, presided over the tip of slavery, and helped to pave the way in which for an interracial democracy. His nice speeches supply enduring knowledge approximately human equality, democracy, loose exertions, and unfastened society. Joseph R. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s political genius is better understood when it comes to a philosophical statesmanship that united greatness of proposal and motion, person who mixed concept and perform. This philosophical statesmanship, Fornieri argues, can most sensible be understood by way of six dimensions of political management: knowledge, prudence, accountability, magnanimity, rhetoric, and patriotism. Drawing on insights from historical past, politics, and philosophy, Fornieri tackles the query of the way Lincoln’s statesmanship displayed every one of those an important elements.

Providing an available framework for figuring out Lincoln’s statesmanship, this considerate examine examines the 16th president’s political management by way of the conventional ethical imaginative and prescient of statecraft as understood via epic political philosophers resembling Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. Fornieri contends that Lincoln’s personality is healthier understood when it comes to Aquinas’s realizing of magnanimity or greatness of soul, the crowning advantage of statesmanship. precise political greatness, as embodied via Lincoln, includes either humility and sacrificial carrier for the typical reliable. the iconic knowledge and undying teachings of those nice thinkers, Fornieri exhibits, may end up in a deeper appreciation of statesmanship and of its embodiment in Abraham Lincoln.

With the good philosophers and books of western civilization as his advisor, Fornieri demonstrates the real contribution of normative political philosophy to an knowing of our 16th president. educated by means of political concept that attracts at the classics in revealing the timelessness of Lincoln’s instance, his interdisciplinary examine bargains profound insights for an individual drawn to the character of management, statesmanship, political philosophy, political ethics, political historical past, and constitutional law.

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To recognize that statesmanship involves the wielding of state power is not to embrace the doctrine of realpolitik—the belief that considerations of success and power are all that really matter in politics, a view that owes much to Machiavelli’s legacy. ”31 Indeed, ancient political philosophers like Plato and Aristotle and the medieval theologian St. Thomas Aquinas envisioned statesmanship as a moral enterprise concerned with the common good of the regime. So understood, the common good was more than the summation of selfish interests; it corresponded to an overarching moral end or purpose based on an objective standard of human flourishing.

They were placed in the service of an honorable ambition that ministered to the common good. Lincoln was a supreme autodidact. With less than a year of formal schooling, he taught himself how to read and write. 2 He became adept at reducing a case in terms of its core principle and of persuading juries through tersely reasoned arguments, talents that would serve him well in mobilizing support for the Union cause. Lincoln provided a telling description of his own philosophical cast of mind in a childhood recollection to a Connecticut clergyman in 1860: “I remember how, when a mere child, I used to get irritated when anybody talked to me in a way I could not understand.

74 INTRODUCTION 25 As noted, progress in this sense is not a matter of historical inevitability that supersedes the principles of the founding, but of prudent deliberation that recurs to fixed principles and extends them under new circumstances in a manner that accords with their inner logic and dictates. ”75 The Founders work was noble, yet unfinished. Quoting Henry Clay, his “beau ideal of a statesman,” Lincoln thus explained: “I desire no concealment of my opinions in regard to the institution of slavery.

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