On Hallowed Ground by Professor John Patrick Diggins
Abraham Lincoln and the Foundations of American History

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In this provocative book, John Patrick Diggins, hailed by Alan Ryan in the New York Times as "one of the liveliest and most interesting of contemporary intellectual historians", offers a sweeping reassessment of American history, emphasizing the foundational role of Abraham Lincoln's moral and political theory. Distressed by the divisive impact of modern identity politics, Diggins argues persuasively that in the central tenets of Lincoln's political faith -- the redeeming value of labor and the rights to property and self-determination -- we find the purest expression of the values that have united Americans and guided American history.

With his characteristic breadth, Diggins ranges from James Madison to W. E. B. Du Bois to the movie Good Will Hunting in his examination of the often ambivalent ways in which Americans have imagined themselves and their nation. Convinced that contemporary historians have done America a grave disservice by emphasizing political divisions along the lines of class, race, and gender, Diggins points out that throughout American history there has been more that unites the American people than divides them.


About Professor John Patrick Diggins

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Intellectual historian John P. Diggins was born in San Francisco. He received a bachelor's degree from the University of California, Berkeley in 1957, a master's degree at San Francisco State College, and a doctorate at the University of Southern California in 1964. Before accepting a job at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 1990, he taught intellectual history at San Francisco State College and the University of California, Irvine. He wrote numerous books during his lifetime including Mussolini and Fascism (1972), On Hallowed Ground (2000), Eugene O'Neill's America: Desire under Democracy (2007), and Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom and the Making of History (2007). He died due to complications of colon cancer on January 28, 2009 at the age of 73.
Published August 11, 2000 by Yale University Press. 352 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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so minimized the importance of the western Enlightenment and replaced political knowledge about human nature with cultural mystiques about races and racial heritages.” This is a provocative statement, but unfortunately, it goes mostly unsupported by any kind of coherent argument.

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Examining one by one the three core pillars of Lincoln's political philosophy--the need for Emersonian self-reliance, the sanctity of private property and the necessity for self-determination--Diggins (Max Weber: Politics and the Spirit of Tragedy), a professor of history at CUNY, explains their ...

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