To begin with, Father Abraham as he is named is Abraham Lincoln who happens to be one of the presidents in the US who brought about the end of slavery. There happens to be many of the writings and materials that have been provided in history to provide for his history. Many historians have portrayed a picture of Abraham Lincoln as a racist and who was in actual sense a politician compelled by the nature of events to set slaves free. Having been pointed out as a figure of great compulsion in the history, there are quiet many issues about him that have not been well understood.
In this connection, a critical analysis of Richard Striner's Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery will be brought into view. So to speak, Richard Striner has given a new portrait of this man as a leader who possessed great morals and again a great emancipator. From this point, it is important to bring into view the fact that there will be a great exploration as well as analysis of Striner's writing concerning Lincoln. In the same line of thought, the central argument of the book will be discussed in detail together with the reasoning and the evidence that the writer gives in order for his argument to stick. In this regard, the central argument in this book is that Abraham was a great emancipator and a man who was in possession of deep convictions.
Also, he was the man who led to the end of slavery in the United States. In collaboration to this, the larger historiographical debate that the book is addressing along with the book's scholarly context will be brought into view. So to speak, there shall be made a proviso of the primary and/ or secondary sources that the author has used in the book in order to support his argument.
Having stated the content of the analysis of Richard Striner's Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery, the central argument or rather thesis of the book is that ,Lincoln was a great emancipator, committed to anti-slavery and who in actual sense brought slavery to an end(1). Though he has not been credited so much for it, Striner's augment provides a compelling evidence and reasoning for this kind of portrait. The author has made this possible by making a close examination of the speeches that he made as well as the historical writings and records that were made concerning Lincoln. Provided in the book is the examination of the speeches that Lincoln made in the 1850s.
From this point of view, there is no doubt that he was ardently committed to fight slavery. In this sense, the speeches are elucidated by an immense anger, enthusiasm and absolute character of Lincoln who influenced crowds by means of his compelling vehemence leading to national approval. Since Lincoln took long to release the emancipation proclamation, some have mistaken the delay for political interests(2). However, Striner's augment is that politics is an art of possible. As a result, Lincoln was a manipulative politician, insightful, skilled and one who possessed the ability to conceal his visionary principles in a more realistic array of the union builder.
Following this point, he was able to make use of the battle cry in salvage of the union in order to build a base for making it possible for the States that held slaves to bring it to an end. In accordance to Striner's argument, the character of Lincoln was a rare one in the sense that he was a relentless idealist and with a lot of craftiness in politics.
Equally, he had excellent skills and remarkable in strategies. A combination of these character traits became a driving force and fundamentally established Lincoln as an individual who played a great role in abolishing slavery in US(3). Historians have pointed out that Lincoln was moderate and pragmatist in the eradication of slavery.
Despite their point and line of thought, Striner's in his arguments refutes this with reasons and evidence well given. For instance, Lincoln rejected the Crittenden compromise of which it would have prevented the abolition of slavery. Also, he made the emancipation proclamation and made it a central issue carried out by the civil war. He also led in the fight for the thirteenth amendment that would lead to the freedom of slaves. Therefore, from the evidence provided by the deeds of Lincoln he was in actuality fighting to end slavery. He refused to bow to the advice of many who sought to make him to give room for slavery to expand. In the Douglas intention of compromise in order to continue slavery, Lincoln rejected it. When he was elected as a president and the southern secession escalating crisis began, he refused to compromise(4).
However much he wanted to save the Union, he did it with the sole aim of ensuring that it would maintain its principle of freeing the Slaves. He held to the fact that justice and equality was for all. Again, he viewed every person as equal to the other without terming the blacks as beasts and enslaving them. He sought to deliver the southerners and the northerners alike from the evil of slavery and ensuring that malice was shown to none but charity was mandated to all(5). This was according to the speech that he gave.
Given that he was a man who was skilled in language, he would say something that if taken on the surface without a close examination of the same, meanings would differ. As a result, many people misinterpreted what he said and did and thus they term him as a conservative racism. In reality, from his deeds and speeches he was determined to fight against slavery in a strategic manner. The larger historiographical debate that the book is addressing along with the book's scholarly context is the fact that history has portrayed Lincoln as an individual who was a pragmatist and conservative racist who fought for selfish political gains and interests, However, Striner's argument has addressed this kind of mentality that has been carried through by historians who never sought to understand the underlying reasons behind the deeds and speeches of Lincoln(6).
There are several primary and/ or secondary sources that the author has used in the book in order to support his argument. They range from the speeches that Lincoln made to other written materials by other different authors. Though he refutes the account of others, he has credited some. He has made an extensive use of the scholars like Lawanda Cox, James McPherson, William Lee Miller and Harry Jaffa. In the same way, he has made use of the Baler's collected works concerning Lincoln(7). These are some of primary and/or secondary reference sources that the author has used to come up with the argument that Lincoln fought and struggled endlessly to see slavery done away with.
There is no doubt that the argument is so much compelling and bears a content that should be considered and made use in the literature of Lincoln. Richard Striner's Father Abraham: Lincoln's Relentless Struggle to End Slavery is a book that is worth to read and a recommendation for anyone interested in politics.
(1) Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2006), 137.
(2) Phebe Hanaford, Abraham Lincoln: his life and public services (Massachusetts: B.B. Russell, 2005), 46.
(3) Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2006), 67.
(4) Lord Charnwood, Abraham Lincoln (New York: Kessinger Publishing, 2005), 69.
(5) Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2006), 68.
(6) Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2006), 241.
(7) Richard Striner, Father Abraham: Lincoln's relentless struggle to end slavery, (New York: Oxford University Press US, 2006), 293.