Monday, November 28, 2005

Contra Doris Kearns Goodwin, Part Deux: DiLorenzo's Take

Warm greetings! Hope everyone had a safe, enjoyable, and thoroughly gluttonous Thanksgiving. Having digested my fair share of turkey, stuffing, and sweet potatoes, I now have a nice amount of political bile to spew. Yay! On to the divisive historio-political ranting...

As a quick followup to my post about Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book about Abraham Lincoln (and the vigorous debate with Abe that it prompted), check out Thomas DiLorenzo's scathing review of the book on today's LRC:

Although this is supposed to be a book about Lincoln’s "political genius" most of the means by which Lincoln eventually grabbed on to dictatorial powers are not mentioned. There is no mention of his long career of writing anonymous letters to the editor smearing his political opponents, for example. There is no mention that he was a wealthy and politically-connected railroad industry lobbyist. In discussing the Lincoln presidency Goodwin makes no mention whatsoever of the fact that literally tens of thousands of northern political dissenters were imprisoned without due process, that hundreds of opposition newspapers were shut down, that elections were rigged, that West Virginia was illegally separated from the rest of the state, that all telegraph communication was censored, private firearms were confiscated in violation of the Second Amendment, habeas corpus was illegally suspended, and that for these reasons, among others, generations of scholars have written of "the Lincoln dictatorship." She doesn’t even cite the two pro-Lincoln books that catalogue all of this – Constitutional Problems under Lincoln by James Randall and Fate of Liberty by Mark Neely – despite all her boasts of having spent ten years researching and writing the book (which has several thousand footnotes).

Good times! This heroic article is lengthy (nearly 5400 words strong) but well worth the effort.

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