This course is an absorbing opportunity to increase your knowledge of a man whose words and life embodied the nature of democracy.
Abraham Lincoln understood and envisioned the U.S. as a nation of self-governing equals who were wise enough to be guided not just by self-interest or popular enthusiasm, but by an abiding sense of right and wrong. Ultimately, he gave that nation, in his words, "a new birth of freedom."
Five days after Abraham Lincoln was buried in Springfield, Illinois, John Locke Scripps, who had convinced Lincoln to write his first campaign autobiography, wrote: "In certain showy, and what is said to be, most desirable endowments, how many Americans have surpassed him! Yet how he looms above them now!"
The nation's 16th president, Scripps asserted, had become "the Great American Man—the grand central figure in American (perhaps the World's) History."
Historians still find it hard to quibble with Scripps's opinion of Lincoln's place in the story of America. Lincoln was the central figure in the nation's greatest crisis, the Civil War. His achievements in office make as good a case as any that he was the greatest president in U.S. history.
What made Lincoln great? What was it about him that struck those who knew him? This course explores those questions with the help of an authority who, in his own words, has "spent many years trying to get to know this man from afar," and in doing so has become one of the country's most distinguished Lincoln scholars and an award-winning author for his books about Lincoln.
Professor Allen C. Guelzo will lead you on "a great adventure," a tour of Lincoln's life, from his forebears' arrival in America through an evaluation of how his legacy lives on for us today. You will come to know Lincoln through the eyes of those who knew, lived with, and worked with him.
For Lincoln buffs and those simply wishing to know him much better, this course opens a compelling view into his thinking and career.