Debating DiLorenzo: Worshipping Lincoln and American Exceptionalism

In a 2008 interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb, Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo had this to say about why people worship Lincoln:

LAMB: Why, from your perspective, do you think that people are deifying him unnecessarily?

DILORENZO: Well, there’s sort of an interesting history of that. After the war, after Lincoln was assassinated, the New England clergy began with the deification. I have in my files, in my research files, an old magazine article that has a picture of Abe Lincoln with angel’s wings ascending into the sky in an open tomb at the bottom of the picture and this was the sort of thing that went on in the immediate years after the Civil War. Continue reading

Debating DiLorenzo: Peaceful Abolition?

In Debating DiLorenzo, let’s first look at what he says about peaceable abolition and the Union as a voluntary association.

DILORENZO: And, I guess, one of the things that really bothered me when I started looking into this was when I found out that all of the other countries of the world that ended slavery in the 19th century did it peacefully, and that included New England and Ohio and Pennsylvania and Indiana, the northern United States. And as an economist, I started thinking, well why was this not an alternative for America? Why was it only in America where there was a war attached to the ending of slavery? Continue reading

Debating DiLorenzo: A Series

I’ve pondered various ways of offering a constructive and creative way of dealing with some of the comments presented here and elsewhere about the work of Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo.  I took another look at his C-SPAN interview with Brian Lamb, for which there is a transcript.  It occurred to me that one could cut the biographical information and extraneous chatter and use the rest to present several of DiLorenzo’s contentions and then comment on them.  As you have the transcript available, you will be able to see that I’m not trying to distort what he says (indeed, it’s in my interest to have him speak for himself).  So, over the next several days, I’ll offer portions of that transcript, along with my observations.

Debating Lincoln

I see where my posting of a short exchange of views in three part harmony on Fox has sparked a discussion at Kevin Levin’s Civil War Memory over exactly how to engage such folks in debate.  Kevin asserts:

While those of us familiar with this Lincoln scholarship might enjoy a good laugh, we would do well to keep in mind that DiLorenzo and Woods are probably influencing the general public more through their publications and activism than all of the recent scholarly studies combined.

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Greatest Hits from Civil Warriors: The “Politically Correct” Strawman

(this post originally appeared in somewhat different form on Civil Warriors, November 13, 2009; note that the blog in question is a multiauthor or group blog, and I’m replying to one of the bloggers, whose views may or may not be shared by his colleagues)

The blogosphere’s an interesting place.  Really.  Anyone can gain a measure of legitimacy by setting up a blog or posting reviews on Amazon or making comments on websites.  In an age of ever-opening information and access, everyman can be his own historian, as Carl Becker once put it … and everywoman as well.

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