Throughout the past centuries thousands of books were written about Abraham Lincoln, the man who is considered to be one of the most prominent politicians in the American history. That is why most of the readers are skeptical towards the books that promise “the real view” on this person. Nevertheless, Tomas DiLorenzo, who is an economist at Baltimore’s Loyola College with 11 books and over 70 articles in academic journals, proposed a new look on this historical figure, ruining the myth about the Great Emancipator, and the greatest president in U.S. history.
He charges Lincoln of several things, such as centralizing the constitutional order, racism, destroying American liberties etc. In his view, Abraham Lincoln is a war criminal, a person who is in charge of the America’s most bloody war. All of those accusations sound appalling for most of the American citizens, who were told from the early childhood about the positive role of this person in our history, but DiLorenzo proves his viewpoint with valid arguments. In ten chapters he describes Lincoln’s views on the racial issues, his rewriting of the history of founding of the U.S, he tells about Lincoln’s ambitions for economical nationalism, and he describes the great president’s attitude towards the lives of the citizens of his country.
The author of “The Real Lincoln” accused this political figure of unleashing one of the greatest wars in the American history just to advance to power of his party, his constitution, and his personal power. DiLorenzo demolishes the arguments of the most prominent U.S historians who claim that this war was necessary to preserve the Union or free the slaves, claiming that Lincoln chased his own goals.
The history books that high schoolers read are usually silent about Lincoln’s personal views on racial equality. Citing Lincoln himself, his contemporaries and some other historians, DiLorenzo proves that the president’s views were typical for his times, as he never saw the blacks as equals to the white citizens of his country. His views were that the blacks should be deported to their own countries, giving the Westerners the perspectives to colonize them freely.
Citing historical documents the author of the alternative Lincoln’s biography reveals that the liberation of the slaves was one of the least important goals of the War Between the States. This leader’s primary goals were to protect the Union, and to advance the political status of his party. DiLorenzo adds that for the president freeing the slaves was a pragmatic war measure, citing his famed 1862 letter to Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune on his war aims: “If I could save the Union without freeing a slave I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that.”
The author of “The Real Lincoln” also accuses this historical person of the intention to build an American empire, where power is centralized, and draining civil power from the states that were the parts of the Union. He sees Lincoln as a murderer of some constitutional protections and state’s rights, who exploited the war as an opportunity to wield unconstitutional power. DiLorenzo proves that Lincoln’s initiatives, like the Reconstruction, the War between States, the Indian wars on the frontier, his abuse of power and illegibility in methods of gaining it, cost the American nation a lot.
DiLorenzo’s book about Abraham Lincoln, the greatest American president, motivates the contemporary readers to make a deeper research about the role of this person in the American culture. In the same time, due to numerous careless errors of facts and dates, and faulty documentation, this source cannot be considered a valuable historical work. The author misuses the sources often; he draws the citations from their context, and even fabricates the facts.
“The Real Lincoln” is the alternative handing of the role of Abraham Lincoln in the American history. It is worth to read just to have a fuller view on this issue, but, as there are many erroneous facts and dates there, any controversial information, found in this book, should be double-checked.
- DiLorenzo, Thomas J. The Real Lincoln: a New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2002