Providentialism and Politics: The Second Inaugural and the Problem of Democracy

Streaming Media

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Video File


1 hour 23 minutes 10 seconds

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American Politics | Political History | United States History


It has been suggested that the distinctive feature of the American political tradition is the forging during the founding era of a unique “amalgam” of what elsewhere were competing political traditions. The amalgam as so compiled contained a number of elements, but particularly important was the fusion or mutual assimilation of Protestant Christian and Enlightenment political thought. Through the 19th century, this dimension of the amalgam remained central to the American political culture. It is often thought that Lincoln stands as the greatest, deepest, and most resonant expression of that amalgam in all of American history. In this lecture, Michael Zuckert proposes to look at Lincoln with an eye to explicating that aspect of the amalgam in his thinking and rhetoric. Zuckert focuses on Lincoln's writings after he became president, with special attention given to the second inaugural address.


Lecturer: Michael Zuckert; Discussant: David Gutterman.

This lecture was part of the conference The Political Thought of Abraham Lincoln, which took place May 8-10, 2014 at Linfield College.

Sponsored by the Linfield College Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, & Justice, the Jereld R. Nicholson Library, and the Linfield College Office of Academic Affairs.