Abraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory

TitleAbraham Lincoln and the Forge of National Memory
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2000
AuthorsSchwartz, Barry
Number of Pages382
PublisherUniversity of Chicago Press

Abraham Lincoln has long dominated the pantheon of American presidents. This book explores the contested collective memories if Lincoln by drawing on a wide array of materials--painting and sculpture, popular magazines and school textbooks, newspapers and oratory. The aim is to examine the role that Lincoln's memory has played in American life. The study links transformations of Lincoln's image to changes in the society. Commemorating Lincoln helped Americans to think about their country's development from a rural republic to an industrial democracy and to articulate the way economic and political reform, military power, ethnic and race relations, and nationalism enhanced their conception of themselves as one people. Lincoln's memory assumed a double aspect of "mirror" and "lamp," acting at once as a reflection of the nation's concerns and an illumination of its ideals.

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