To Finish the Work We are in: Abraham Lincoln's Speeches, from Lawyer's Briefs to Moral Manifesto (Review Essay)
Times Literary Supplement (London), May 23, 2003
7 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2006 Last revised: 6 Jul 2010
This essay from the Times Literary Supplement (23 May 2003) reviews books on Lincoln's speeches and writings, particularly the Second Inaugural Address. It examines the transition from the First Inaugural Address to the Second Inaugural Address, finally focusing on how Lincoln seeks to steer between moral relativism about the war - each side does as it sees right - and moral absolutism. The books under review are: William E. Gienapp, Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography; Daniel Farber, Lincoln's Constitution; Christopher A. Thomas, The Lincoln Memorial and American Life; Ronald C. White, Jr., Lincoln's Greatest Speech: The Second Inaugural Address; and James Tackach, Lincoln's Moral Vision: The Second Inaugural Address.
Keywords: Lincoln, Civil War, slavery, Second Inaugural Address, moral relativism, Lincoln Memorial, Constitution, equality, liberty
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation