Lincoln was probably the person with the greatest grasp of the interrelation of the various movements discussed in chapter three. Like Edwards a century earlier, he is concerned to examine what will replace the energy behind a vision of virtuous citizenship now that the memory of the Revolution has faded. What can serve as a “living history?” He first finds a basis in the self-controlled self-responsible man – such men are equal to each other regardless of color. In this vision, he gives priority to the Declaration of Independence over the Constitution as the founding document of being American -- this is the basis of his position in the debates with Stephen Douglas. With the passing of the Kansas-Nebraska bill in 1854, Lincoln sees that civil war is inevitable. The war will become in his eyes the necessary cleansing experience that might permit a refounding of America.
Keywords: Abraham Lincoln, ‘living history’, temperance and citizenship, Declaration of Independence, Kansas-Nebraska Bill, Second Inaugural Address, Civil War, Horace Greeley, Lincoln as pharmakos, Fourteenth Amendment
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