Skinner, David, Humanities
The Lincoln scholar Harry V. Jaffa tells the story of happening on a paperback volume of the Lincoln-Douglas debates in a Fourth Avenue bookstore in Manhattan over half a century ago. Other than that serendipitous discovery, he could find little scholarship on Abraham Lincoln's great contest of words and ideas with his rival, Stephen A. Douglas. And what historiographical notice the debates had garnered was almost entirely dismissive.
Today, the debates are well-remembered and their importance undoubted. One, of course, has to scour the record to discover any aspect of Lincoln's life that has not been turned into a book, and yet our enthusiasm also has its discerning side. We're more ready these days to credit the moral vision of a great individual like the sixteenth president, and this must be counted as a beneficent development in the evolution of our historical memory.
One person who exemplifies this corrective tendency is Lewis E. Lehrman, another nonprofessional doing his part to strengthen the historical record of America's great narrative. Lehrman is the copilot steering the Gilder Lehrman Collection and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, whose aim has been to restore key documents and artifacts of American history to public notice. He is also the author of a book …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Recovering History. Contributors: Skinner, David - Author. Magazine title: Humanities. Volume: 29. Issue: 4 Publication date: July/August 2008. Page number: 2. © Superintendent of Documents Jan/Feb 2009. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.