Speaker:

David Adler

Lincoln on the Constitution: The Political Religion of the Nation

Lincoln on the Constitution: The Political Religion of the Nation
Lincoln’s bold reactions to the constitutional crisis created by the Civil War defined his presidency. Critics denounced him as a constitutional dictator; others hailed him as a constitutional patriot. Generations of Americans, citizens and scholars alike, have debated the legality of Lincoln’s actions. This lecture examines Lincoln’s understanding of the Constitution, presidential power, civil liberties, the Supreme Court and constitutional interpretation. Lincoln’s absorbing interest in, and passionate commitment to, the Constitution, produced some of the most original and penetrating analyses of constitutional government ever penned by an American statesman. He revered the Constitution and believed it should constitute the “political religion of the nation.” His principles were put to a severe test as he sought to win the Civil War and preserve the Union, as he put it, in the “shortest way under the Constitution.”