Our Ancient Faith: Lincoln, Democracy, and the American Experiment
By Allen C. Guelzo
Faculty partner Allen C. Guelzo has just released a new book on Abraham Lincoln, Our Ancient Faith: Lincoln, Democracy, and the American Experiment:
An intimate study of Abraham Lincoln’s powerful vision of democracy, which guided him through the Civil War and is still relevant today—by a best-selling historian and three-time winner of the Lincoln Prize.
Abraham Lincoln grappled with the greatest crisis of democracy that has ever confronted the United States. While many books have been written about his temperament, judgment, and steady hand in guiding the country through the Civil War, we know less about Lincoln’s penetrating ideas and beliefs about democracy, which were every bit as important as his character in sustaining him through the crisis.
Allen C. Guelzo, one of America’s foremost experts on Lincoln, captures the president’s firmly held belief that democracy was the greatest political achievement in human history. He shows how Lincoln’s deep commitment to the balance between majority and minority rule enabled him to stand firm against secession while also committing the Union to reconciliation rather than recrimination in the aftermath of war. In bringing his subject to life as a rigorous and visionary thinker, Guelzo assesses Lincoln’s actions on civil liberties and his views on race, and explains why his vision for the role of government would have made him a pivotal president even if there had been no Civil War. Our Ancient Faith gives us a deeper understanding of this endlessly fascinating man and shows how his ideas are still sharp and relevant more than 150 years later.
Allen C. Guelzo is the Director of the James Madison Program Initiative on Politics and Statesmanship and Senior Research Scholar in the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He is an American historian and commentator on public issues and a New York Times best-selling author. is Senior Research Scholar at the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University. He is the author of several books about the Civil War and early-nineteenth-century American history. Professor Guelzo has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, National Affairs, First Things, U.S. News & World Report, The Weekly Standard, Washington Monthly, National Review, the Daily Beast, and the Claremont Review of Books, and has been featured on NPR’s “Weekend Edition Sunday.” In 2010, he was nominated for a Grammy Award along with David Straithern and Richard Dreyfuss for their production of the entirety of The Lincoln-Douglas Debates (BBC Audio). In 2018, he was a winner of the Bradley Prize, along with Jason Riley of The Wall Street Journal and Charles Kesler of the Claremont Institute. He is a recipient of the Guggenheim-Lehrman Prize for Military History and has been awarded the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize three times.
Professor Guelzo is a JMC faculty partner.
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