The Civil War is a defining event in American history and Abraham Lincoln is the central figure of both the Civil War and American history. In his struggle to preserve the Union and redeem the nation from the original sin of slavery, Abraham Lincoln provided the most compelling expression of the American Dream and the preeminent justification of the American regime. Indeed, at Gettysburg he distilled the very essence of the nation's political creed. His political thought and leadership are of enduring significance to democracy at home and abroad. To further appreciate and perpetuate Lincoln's legacy, The Language of Liberty offers the definitive one-volume collection of the Sixteenth President's speeches and writings. Unlike so many other collections, in which Lincoln's speeches and writings have been substantially edited, this volume provides a comprehensive selection of the Sixteenth President's most important speeches and writings in their entirety. The volume is conveniently divided both chronologically and thematically into five periods/chapters from 1832?1865. A final chapter offers a compilation of Lincoln's speeches and writings on the theme of religion and politics. Each speech is preceded by an informative head-note, which places Lincoln's words in context for the reader. In addition, each period/chapter includes a concise historical, political, and biographical overview of the major events in Lincoln's life and the life of the nation, thereby providing an even wider context for understanding the Sixteenth President's language of liberty. To assist the reader, crucial terms, dates, events and issues of the Civil War have been defined. Also unique to this volume is the final section on Lincoln's Political Faith, which includes an offering of his public and private utterances on religion, and a definition of this political faith based upon the first principles of the Declaration of Independence. A selected bibliography of secondary sources has been included for further reading on various topics related to the Sixteenth President. Finally, the volume includes an extensive introduction on Lincoln's Prudent Leadership and his application of the natural law to the circumstances of the Civil War Era. Indeed, this introduction provides a crucial understanding of the relationship between Lincoln's political thought and political action, between the world of theory and practice.
In sum, The Language of Liberty provides an indispensable guide to the lay reader, the Lincoln aficionado, and the scholar. All now have access to a single volume collection of his great political speeches and writings with unedited versions, concise historical overviews, and scholarly reflections on the enduring significance of Lincoln's political philosophy.