Lincoln and the Abolitionists: John Quincy Adams, Slavery, and the Civil War

Fred Kaplan. Harper, $28.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-244000-6
In this elegantly written and thoroughly researched book, Kaplan (John Quincy Adams: American Visionary), professor emeritus of English at Queens College, relates how two presidents, Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams, thought about and dealt with slavery and race. Lincoln believed that African-Americans should emigrate to Africa or another homeland. Adams, meanwhile, was an ardent abolitionist who foresaw the eventual rise of a multicultural America. Kaplan contrasts their views and discusses the people and events that shaped their intellectual, political, and moral development. Among these figures is Dorcas Allen, an enslaved woman who killed her two children and whose trial ignited Adams’s passion against the peculiar institution, which reached its apotheosis in the famous Amistad trial of 1841. The murder of the impassioned antislavery preacher Elijah Lovejoy in 1837 in Alton, Ill., was influential in forming Lincoln’s opinions about African-Americans, slavery, and the law. The procolonization ideas of Sen. Henry Clay, Thomas Jefferson’s dour views on black intellectual capacity, and Frederick Douglass’s opposition to colonization also come under consideration. Kaplan presents a more complex Lincoln who “presided over the creation of a new reality that neither he nor anyone could fully embrace, or embrace in a way that would eliminate racial conflict.” Agent: Georges Borchardt, Georges Borchardt Inc. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/24/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
Ebook - 416 pages - 978-0-06-244001-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5127-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-5384-5126-7
MP3 CD - 978-1-5384-5128-1
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