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Those who have access to information and know what to do with it are free. Transparency of political and economic processes is the only way to ensure accountability, but we live in a world in which transparency is increasingly a one-way street.The power to drill down into the data, map patterns and see deviations, the ability to see, period, is vested in fewer and fewer people, the Keepers of the Real, those who Know.
In the meantime, though, we’re in for a bumpy ride. Make no mistake, these are perilous times, and the stakes are high.
There are legitimate needs for intelligence and secrecy but that’s not what we’re talking about.
The selections lean heavily to the political, especially in the last two sections, as is perhaps appropriate, but it is illustrative that some of the more self-revelatory writings such as the Springfield Farewell are not included.
Lowenthal here is above all interested in Lincoln’s mind, not in his personality or life.
Before Abraham Lincoln and license plates throughout SEC country made it famous, Jesus said that a house divided against itself will not be able to stand.
He reiterates that point in the context of the Church that will grow out of his ministry in the High Priestly Prayer at the end of John’s Gospel, but this Sunday, we will hear it in the context of Mark’s third chapter, as Jesus is being denounced as “out of his mind” and “Beelzebul.” As Episcopalians, we will hear this text two weeks out from the opening of the 78th General Convention, which is always a time of great contention and consternation, and on the heels of a report (albeit one with an obvious agenda behind it) that The Episcopal Church is set to rack up more than million in legal fees on litigation against former members. And yet, as I begin to research and write my thesis for a Doctor of Ministry degree at Sewanee, I came upon a short book, written by the Rev. William Reed Huntington in 1891 called In that text, he devotes a whole chapter to the argument, prevalent even in 1891 it seems, that The Episcopal Church was a house divided. Huntington’s day and age, the issue was the ongoing debates between the High, Low, and Broad Church parties, but you could easily bring the conversation forward 120 years and exchange it for debates over human sexuality or church structure or whatever.“Why engage in such rank (though well-concealed) hypocrisy?” Apparently to covertly show that freedom would be compromised by eradicating alcohol, while bowing to the popularity of a potentially “dangerous” movement (48).This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 3.0 License. This engaging book presents intelligently chosen examples of Lincoln’s main speeches and writings, each of which is followed by an interpretive essay.Please contact [email protected] use this work in a way not covered by the license. Lowenthal, a professor emeritus of political science at Boston College, is the author of (Cambridge, 1985), both of which in different ways reveal the power of the past, but here he eschews a historical approach.It is useful and refreshing to engage with single texts, but perhaps more sustained attention to these writings, and to the larger themes that link them, might have been even more fruitful.Allen Guelzo’s (Knopf, 2006) provide alternate paths to understanding Lincoln’s mind.For more information, read Michigan Publishing's access and usage policy. Because Lincoln guarded his inner thoughts carefully, “the interpreter of Lincoln is on his own,” Lowenthal argues; “he must do his best with the facts of his speeches as they lie before him.” Those “facts” are almost entirely the words of the speeches, not their circumstances.“Follow the words of the speeches, their implications and internal logic, above all else! This approach attests to Lowenthal’s Straussian sensibilities, which he telegraphs by early and earnest praise for Henry V. Because interpretive sections follow the writing in question, and because Lowenthal’s comments are relatively brief, the book does not so much construct a sustained thesis as present a series of discrete essays.Lowenthal divides the twenty Lincoln texts reprinted here into three parts, “The Early Speeches” to 1852, “Pre–Civil War Speeches” to 1860, and “Civil War Speeches.” This chronological organization might suggest development or evolution, but the essay devoted to each writing dwells not on connections among texts but on the inner logic of the work in question.The texts are taken as fixed, with no consideration of early drafts or of the composition process.