Lincoln and the Moral Imagination.

Discussion in 'History' started by Mindful, Feb 21, 2018.

  1. Mindful
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    In September 1862, Otto von Bismarck, the new prime minister of Prussia, went to the Prussian Chamber of Deputies to confront the Budget Committee. His face still sunburned from a trip to the south of France, he urged the lawmakers not to waste time in political debate while Germany remained ununited. “It is not to Prussia’s liberalism that Germany looks,” he said, “but to its power. . . . It is not by means of speeches and majority resolutions that the great issues of the day will be decided—that was the great mistake of 1848 and 1849—but by Eisen und Blut” (iron and blood).

    Across the Atlantic, Abraham Lincoln reached a similar conclusion—or so Edmund Wilson argued in his 1962 book Patriotic Gore. In Wilson’s reading, Lincoln, too, had used “iron and blood” to achieve his goals: both he and Bismarck had “established a strong central government over hitherto loosely coordinated peoples. Lincoln kept the Union together by subordinating the South to the North; Bismarck imposed on the German states the cohesive hegemony of Prussia.” Other scholars have made the same argument more recently.

    Was Wilson right to find a similarity of method and purpose in the two greatest statesmen of their age?

    Lincoln and the Moral Imagination
     
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  2. TNHarley
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    TNHarley Diamond Member

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    A great statesmen?
    Well, that is certainly one way to label a tyrant :/
     
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  3. Mindful
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    Mindful Platinum Member

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    Which one? Or both of them?
     
  4. TNHarley
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    TNHarley Diamond Member

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    Lincoln. I dont know much about otto.
     
  5. Mindful
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    Do you think American political thinking was influenced by Europe at that time?
     
  6. Mindful
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    I've seen Lincoln's hat. His actual hat!
     
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  7. TNHarley
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    TNHarley Diamond Member

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    Oh yes. And it continued way beyond that.
     
  8. Mindful
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    Why was Lincoln a tyrant?
     
  9. TNHarley
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    He threw people in jail for having an opinion different from his. He sent his thugs out on a "scorched earth" policy that killed, raped and stole from innocent women and children. He suspended habeas corpus while also ignoring the Supreme Court.
     
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  10. Mindful
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    Mindful Platinum Member

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    I've checked him out, after you told me that. Hadn't paid much attention to him, apart from walking to the Memorial from Foggy Bottom. And I read about his assassination. (Not Bill O'Reilly)

    There is divided opinion on Bismark.

    I'm wondering where the "statesman" comes in.
     
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