Origins[ edit ] State Representative John W. Butlera Tennessee farmer and head of the World Christian Fundamentals Associationlobbied state legislatures to pass anti-evolution laws.
Synopsis[ edit ] In the preface to The Fiery Trial, Eric Foner states his intention to trace "the evolution of Lincoln's ideas and policies about slavery from his early life through his career in the Illinois legislature in the s, his term in Congress in the s, his emergence as a leader of the new Republican party in the s, and his presidency during the Civil War".
He occasionally dealt with issues of slavery in his law practice in Illinois. The book also discusses Lincoln's position on slavery in the context of his political career. Lincoln was a moderate, attempting to bridge the gap between the abolitionist Radical Republicans and conservative Democratsincluding those in the slave-holding states, whom he hoped would choose preserving the Union over steadfastly defending slavery.
In the epilogue, Foner praises Lincoln's "capacity for growth, the essence of [his] greatness", and speculates that had he not been assassinated, he could have helped to prevent the disenfranchisement and segregation of blacks that followed emancipation.
I think we have reason to thank God for Abraham Lincoln With all his deficiencies, it must be admitted that he has grown continuously; and considering how slavery had weakened and perverted the moral sense of the whole country, it was great good luck to have the people elect a man who was willing to grow.
Foner's book Reconstruction: Foner began the book because he believed "that it was still possible to say something new, despite the voluminous literature that's out there.
The book's title is a quotation from Lincoln's December 1, State of the Union addressin which he said of the Civil War: We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.
Reynoldsreviewing for The New York Timesdescribed the book as a "political biography of Lincoln", and concluded that "More cogently than any previous historian, Foner examines the political events that shaped Lincoln and ultimately brought out his true greatness. McPhersona previous winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History, stated of the book that "No one else has written about [Lincoln's] trajectory of change with such balance, fairness, depth of analysis, and lucid precision of language.
Shribman, writing in The Boston Globe, called Foner "perhaps the preeminent historian of the Civil War era" and the book "a masterwork that examines Lincoln's passage to Gettysburg and beyond".
Blight called The Fiery Trial "a distinctive and valuable book, showing persuasively that we should not understand Lincoln from the myth-glazed outcome reading backward, but from the beginning, through one transformative event after another, looking forward. Even seasoned scholars will find facts in this volume that are new to them and fresh insights that they will want to consider.
Though Kaplan stated that the "comprehensive review of mostly familiar material" would make The Fiery Trial "the book of first convenience to go to on the subject", he also argued that in contrast to Foner's thesis of growth, "a stronger argument can be made that Lincoln hardly 'grew' at all on the issue of slavery, that he responded to changing circumstances that he did not create".“A masterwork [by] the preeminent historian of the Civil War era.”—Boston Globe.
Selected as a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times Book Review, this landmark work gives us a definitive account of Lincoln's lifelong engagement with the nation's critical issue: American slavery/5(15).
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In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication.
If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that. Dr Sebastian Page, review of The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery, (review no. ) Date accessed: 11 November, I suspect that, at some level, Eric Foner was always going to write this book.
He openly acknowledges in The Fiery Trial . Oct 03, · A picture caption on Oct. 3 with a review about “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery,” by Eric Foner, included an erroneous date and description of .