Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Review of Foner's "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery"

I know what some of you are thinking!  Another book on Lincoln?  This one is well worth it!  There are lots of Linclon haters out there,  It traces the development of Lincoln's attitude toward slavery and legal responses to it.  Lincoln was swayed by a variety of factors, including his philosophical dislike of slavery, the need to keep a basically racist Union together, placing the crucial borders states, keeping Congress happy, keeping the voters happy, loose cannon generals and cabinet members, etc.  At least before the war, he also saw no constitutional way to free the slaves. The book provides lots of historical detail and insight.  The only thing I can complain about is not enough about Lincoln's suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and other arguably questionable interferences with civil rights.   But rather than re-invent the wheel, I have included a link to a very good review. 

With regard to the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, I include the following links from Wickipedia;
See also


  1. There's a strong parallel between Lincoln's and Kennedy's attitudes toward slavery and civil rights, respectively. Their administrations were driven by the escalation of human events. Neither man was given a choice on the path they followed in support of black Americans. The time had come to end America's preposterous racial caste systems.

  2. 44: Agreed. Thanks for the comment.