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Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President

Abraham Lincoln by Allen C. Guelzo

Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President by Allen C. Guelzo

I enjoyed Guelzo's biography even more than Donald and Carwardine.  In Guelzo's account we find the tension in Lincoln's mind of a war that in governed by the control of God's providential oversight.  Yet, this kind of view partly taken from his hard shell Baptist upbringing does not bring much solace for Lincoln.  Guelzo does well to bring out the Whig political struggles and the political setbacks that Lincoln faced on a continual basis.

We also get personal insight from Lincoln's friends and public reporters on the background of his marriage to Mar Todd, her mental unhinging and the emotional toll Lincoln felt trying to care for her and their many devastating family experiences. Guelzo even brings out the ugly side of Lincoln, the side of him that is so concerned about political matters that he seems more interested in elections than his family.  We get a sense that Lincoln is much more human than many commentators make him out to be, he carried with him in his being the same internal and external struggles that many people face.

While Carwardine does a good job on evangelicalism and antebellum politics and Donald goes into details about the political races, the great strength of Guelzo is his insistence on the moral character of Lincoln's views on slavery, his development in understanding providence and seeking to get inside the emotional turmoil inside of Lincoln because of the war and his family life.

Of particular note is his alignment of Lincoln and the Princeton professor Charles Hodge concerning their similar viewpoints, both politically and on theology. (See page 418).

This book was a real gem in studies on Lincoln, but not an easy read.


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