Matt May, our frequent contributor, has posted to his website a highly interesting commentary on Lincoln, based on his review of Doris Kearns Goodwin's new book, Team of Rivals. The obvious parallels between our times and Lincoln's presidency shine through.
In the immediate aftermath of Lincoln's nomination as the Republican Party candidate for the Presidency, Ms. Goodwin notes that the New York Herald commented: 'The conduct of the republican party in this nomination is a remarkable indication of small intellect, growing smaller. They pass over...statesmen and able men, and they take up a fourth rate lecturer, who cannot speak good grammar.'
Of particular interest to present—day events, Ms. Goodwin details the myriad of instances when politicians and media alike accused President Lincoln of being too feeble—minded and inexperienced to run the show himself and come to his own conclusions as to the course of his presidency. Secretary of State William Seward — not the President — was the true power in the administration said such critics, pulling the strings and sending out his puppet to do his public bidding while conniving behind the scenes.
There are many other parallels as well. Matt notes that Lincoln is not exactly lacking in previously—published biographies. Nevertheless, he piques my interest in reading Goodwin's new book. That is much less a tribute to Goodwin than Lincoln.
Thomas Lifson 12 06 05