As many of you already know, the late Phillip Shaw Paludan was one of the finest Lincoln scholars of the era. When he passed away last year, he was working on a collection of essays caleld Lincoln's Legacy: Ethics and Politics.
The University of Illinois Press is preparing to publish the volume sometime in 2008. I am not sure of the exact date, but I will pass that along as soon as I am able. However, the press has released the cover image (pictured above), as well as a synopsis of the book, along with author endorsements.
It looks like the book will be very short: just four essays totaling 112 pages. Nonetheless, I suspect that each of these essays will give us plenty to think about.
The collection begins with an essay by Paludan titled “Lincoln and Democracy.” I believe that I heard him deliver a version of this essay during the Lincoln Symposium a few years ago in Springfield. If the polished essay follows his presentation, readers won’t be disappointed. Paludan challenges many of the assumptions we have of Lincoln as a traditional democrat (note the "lower-case d").
The second essay in this collection comes from William Lee Miller, the author of the recent Lincoln’s Virtues. His essay is titled, “The Exacting Legacy of a Virtuous President.”
Mark W. Summers, a professor at the University of Kentucky and author of such books as The Plundering Generation: Corruption and the Crisis of the Union, 1848-1861 and The Era of Good Stealings, contributes the third essay, which is titled “Lincoln Spoils the War.” I suspect that this essay will examine the issue of patronage and corruption in the Civil War.
The final essay in this volume comes from Pulitzer Prize winning historian Mark E. Neely, Jr. His essay, “‘Seeking a Cause of Difficulty with the Government’: Reconsidering Freedom of Speech and Judicial Conflict under Lincoln,” will no doubt center on the controversial issue of civil liberties during the Civil War, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, and Lincoln’s interpretation of the constitution.
The following synopsis, explaining the significance of this volume, comes directly from the publisher:
On the eve of the bicentennial celebration of Lincoln's birth, Lincoln's Legacy highlights his relevance to contemporary issues of law, politics, equality, the rule of law, and political and constitutional leadership. Among the problems he encountered were corruption in government ranks, political disagreements rooted in regionalism, wartime quarrels with the judiciary and legislative branches, and disputes concerning moral obligations. Although Lincoln would be unlikely to recognize many aspects of modern America, a surprising number of issues that he faced during his tumultuous presidency still resonate in twenty-first century politics.
But don’t take the publisher’s word for it. Two of my favorite Lincoln scholars are weighing in on this collection:
"Lincoln's Legacy includes essays by four renowned scholars of Lincoln and the Civil War. The essays are each outstanding in their own right and offer fresh new perspectives on Lincoln's leadership, the role of patronage and spoils, Lincoln's ideas on democracy, and the role of freedom of speech and the judiciary in the Civil War." -- Ronald C. White Jr., author of The Eloquent President: A Portrait of Lincoln Through His Words
"Readers who may be wary of books about Lincoln's 'legacy,' which often feature an overdose of apologetics and adulation, will be agreeably surprised and much enlightened by these authoritative and highly readable essays." --Douglas L. Wilson, codirector of the Lincoln Studies Center, Knox College, and author of Lincoln's Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words