David Adler

Lincoln: The Last of the Founders

In many ways, it was left to Lincoln to fulfill the premise and promise of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. As president, Lincoln was faced with unresolved issues from the founding period, including slavery, the principle of equality, and the nature of the union. No other American president so frequently and thoughtfully invoked the aims and purposes of the founders. As president, Lincoln believed that it was his solemn obligation to perpetuate the principles and institutions of the founding, and to achieve the ideals of the Declaration of Independence. It was the responsibility of statesman, he believed, to promote reverence for the Constitution so that in times of crisis, the people would rise to its defense. This lecture undertakes a discussion of Lincoln’s embodiment of the principles of the founding and his status as the last of the Founders.