Eric Foner brings out strongly the history of Abraham Lincoln and the gradual abolition of the dehumanizing act of slavery in the United States of America. Increasing encounters of Lincoln with slaves and the free Black-Americans that were highly disregarded made him establish himself as a strong critic of slavery. This is during this time that profound racial discrimination and slavery had thrived. Lincoln was able to overcome the vibrant politics skillfully; taking precise steps alongside a course forged with radicals in his lobby group. This book gives the reader enormous understanding of a great president of a nation and the dreary issue of slaves in America. The matter of slavery and prejudice is immoral and unfair; this is an act that all societies should highly condemn and support the freedom of each individual no matter what their race or origin is. In this book report, the plot, the character analysis, and the themes will be evaluated referencing to the book (Nelson 124).
The plot of this book is so fascinating because it gives the reader a reasonable logic of the grueling time of slavery and discrimination in America. Foner views Lincoln as relentless towards the issue of slavery, though this makes him discordant and leads to substantial political conflict. He is viewed as a man who for the largest part of his life personified for the inadequate political ideas and discrimination of Americans, particularly those living in the northern part of River Ohio. Rather than driven by greatness, Lincoln is depicted as ambitious, despite the fact that he is a politician and not an active lawyer. He was a man devoted to his values and did put great effort to resolve his honest opposition to slavery, constitutionalism, and societal peace. The dominance of slavery in the nineteenth century and the many impediments that those who were against the act faced is clearly brought out. Slavery was intensely rooted in almost all states of America; from this, we get to see Lincoln’s role that was undisputed: He greatly influenced the nation, an indomitable commander-in-chief, and a leader who transformed major emancipations in any living history and, finally, got to have a multi-racial prospect for America (Foner 42).
The major character in this book is Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln grew up in reserved conditions on a self-reliant farm, as a lawyer. He was self-educated and was to some extent conscious of the prevalent dealings of slavery in the nineteenth century. Foner uses Lincoln to show the injustices of slavery and racism. Lincoln was flexible, and when a strategy did not materialize, he was always ready to change. Various deep-seated republicans, in fact, inclined Lincoln and the activities of the West Indies in Britain that made him revolutionize his conviction towards the issue of slavery in his own country. His intellect, sincerity, and empathy enabled him to develop his career and achieve prominence. Lincoln is depicted as having a steady position; he takes a reasonably firm route in the course of varying state of affairs. This character is portrayed as an ethical man whose intellect was ready for transformation and who later held the thought that an ex- slave could be a complete populace in a reunified state. His firm stand was that the increasing spread of slavery had to come to an end, and he was not ready to negotiate on that matter with the belief that it would bring a dead end of slavery. His relentless inquiry of race, responsibility of the government, task of leadership make him such a hero in the book (Nelson 242).
Foner portrays a character that was not intimidated in his agenda of ending slavery in the United States. However, we see that, in the book, Lincoln got a bit frustrated and finds himself almost without support in his push to end slavery, for example in Columbia. In such way, the writer is trying to bring to the light the challenges that are faced by many human rights activists all over the world. Lincoln in the book is considered strong-minded, enthusiastic, and swift as he did not enfold himself with a miniature range of views and was, therefore, ready to get fresh ideas, which really changed him personally and the United States at large (Foner 98).
The themes of slavery and prejudice have been discussed throughout the book, for instance, the theme of racism is evident. Prior to the civil warfare, people like Lincoln, had no contact with the Blacks like Frederick Douglass, who was a vigorous political activist. The Blacks were highly disregarded and their opinions did not count, though this did not discourage these small groups as they kept pressing on until their pleas started being realized, and this was not until the end of the Civil War when they were actually involved. It was the mixed education, political consciousness, endowment that started broadening the Americans outlook of race. Slavery, on the other hand, was the basis of the social order of almost the entire country, eradicating it meant that there was going to be a new governing system, new work force system, and a new system of ethnic dealings. This would make the Afro-Americans for once be conscious of equality in America. Foner in his book says that Americans had not even glimpsed that equality could ever happen. Most of the Americans were against its abolition of slavery and tribalism, because almost the entire economy relied on the labor provided by the slaves. The slaves lived under abject poverty, it was a complete dehumanizing situation and it was not until people like Lincoln changed their thinking that the plight of the slaves was considered as a serious issue (Guelzo and Lind 77). At some point, Lincoln had a convention with the Blacks organizing in the midst of their own people to depart the country. He just could not conceptualize the idea of America being a bi-racial state of liberated citizens, until much later in his life before his assassination. Black men served up in the union fleet and military and by their participation, they had acquired a right to their citizenship. Lincoln later developed a great affiliation for the slaves and was apprehensive about their destiny. At Lincoln’s subsequent inaugural, it is believed that more than half of the multitude was Black; this may, perhaps, have been entirely impractical before the Civil warfare (Guelzo and Lind 98)
To conclude, Eric Foner has a vivid outlook of Lincoln’s view about slavery that he has brought out in this book so well. Lincoln was a pragmatist and finally realized that colonization was unfair. He was able to grow and change out of his biases and injustices and was even able to realize that the marginalized groups, that is the slaves and the Blacks are indeed human beings who should have their rights just as the White Americans do. Foner shows how Lincoln gradually changes his perspective on the issue of human rights, he is a flexible leader who takes advice from the various people, and this character makes it possible to interact with even the Afro-Americans (Guelzo and Lind100). This book, in addition, won the Bancroft Prize due to its good work on the history of the United States.