“In this thorough examination of Abraham Lincoln's ideology, Jayne argues that Lincoln's greatest accomplishments — including his Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address — were heavily influenced by his unbending belief in the Declaration of Independence's primacy among the trappings of United States democracy....This volume will appeal as much to Civil War history buffs as to those who simply admire Lincoln as a singular leader and thinker.”
- Publishers Weekly
“Jayne's singular contributions are his grounding of Lincoln's thought and purpose in Enlightenment concepts and deism and his insistence that Lincoln was antislavery in philosophy and principles because he rooted his thinking in the Declaration of Independence....his insistence that we look to Lincoln's profound sense of moral obligations and his fealty to basic principles of respecting human decency and working toward human rights will evoke hearty 'Amens!' from readers worried about the misuses of Lincoln by people intolerant of reasoned arguments and eager to claim the U.S. President as a tribal religious totem.”
- Library Journal
In this compelling study of the moral principles that most influenced the thinking of Abraham Lincoln, historian Allen Jayne argues persuasively that Lincoln regarded the Declaration of Independence, above all other documents, as the most important embodiment of American principles. This “American manifesto,” as Jayne calls it, with its eloquent expression of the ideals of individual liberty and government created to protect and preserve that liberty, was the script that Lincoln followed in his struggle to preserve the Union and extend individual liberties to African Americans. Moreover, Jayne demonstrates that Lincoln’s philosophy was rooted, not in a Bible-based evangelical Christian perspective, but in the European Enlightenment and deism, which so profoundly influenced the thinking of Thomas Jefferson and other Founding Fathers.
Jayne begins with a chapter devoted to the influence of deism on Jefferson’s formulation of the Declaration of Independence. Next, he discusses Lincoln’s adoption of the deistic perspective and the crucial role that the Declaration played in his thoughts and actions. He also considers Lincoln’s moral sense, based on deism’s tolerance of different belief systems and universal moral idealism. Finally, he describes Lincoln’s role as chief advocate for the Declaration’s principles and how the Gettysburg Address and his Second Inaugural Address reflect this underlying philosophy.
This insightful look into the thinking of one of our nation’s greatest presidents during a time of crisis is highly relevant in today’s climate of religious extremism and debates over the balance between individual liberty and national security.
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 2lbs
Allen Jayne (Santa Monica, CA) holds a Ph.D. from Cambridge University and is the author of Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence and The Religious and Moral Wisdom of Thomas Jefferson.
Read selections from Lincoln and the American Manifesto by clicking here.