Westholme Publishing
  HOME
  ABOUT WESTHOLME CONTACT US SEARCH CATALOGUE
 
 
The Role of Religion in the Life of America’s Greatest President

 

Lincoln's Christianity
Michael Burkhimer

$18.95 Paperback


  • 224 pages
  • 6 x 9
  • 6 b/w illus.
  • American History/Religion

About this Book

"Abraham Lincoln's religious beliefs is a controversial subject and not without its pitfalls, but Mr. Burkhimer has succeeded eminently." — Edward Steers, author of Blood on the Moon: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln

 

After listening to Abraham Lincoln's second inaugural address, many in the audience were stunned. Instead of a positive message about the coming Union victory, the president implicated the entire country in the faults and responsibility for slavery. Using Old Testament references, Lincoln explained that God was punishing all Americans for their role in the calamity with a bloody civil war.

These were surprising words from a man who belonged to no church, did not regularly attend services, and was known to have publicly and privately questioned some of Christianity's core beliefs. But Lincoln's life was one with supreme sadness—the death of his first fiancee, the subsequent loss of two of his sons—and these events, along with the chance encounter with a book in Mary Todd's father's library, The Christian's Defense, are all part of the key to understanding Lincoln's Christianity. Biblical quotations soon entered his speeches—a point noted by Stephen Douglas in their debates—but it is unclear whether Lincoln's use of scripture was a signal that American politicians should openly embrace religion in their public lives, or a rhetorical tool to manipulate his audience, or a result of a personal religious transformation. After his death both secular and religious biographers claimed Lincoln as one of their own, touching off a controversy that remains today.

In Lincoln's Christianity, Michael Burkhimer examines the entire history of the president's interaction with religion—accounts from those who knew him, his own letters and writings, the books he read—to reveal a man who did not believe in orthodox Christian precepts (and might have had a hard time getting elected today) yet, by his example, was a person and president who most truly embodied Christian teachings.

“How do we reconcile the young religious skeptic with the mature president who so profoundly invested the Civil War with religious significance? Lincoln’s religious views—difficult to recover, interpret, and disentangle from past and present biases—are the subject of this brief survey.”—Journal of American History

Michael Burkhimer teaches American history in the Haverford Township School District and is author of 100 Essential Lincoln Books.

REVIEWS

  • Publishers Weekly

 

RETURN

   
HOME | ABOUT WESTHOLME | NEW AND FORTHCOMING BOOKS | CATALOGUE | SUBMISSIONS | NEWS | BOOK CLUB | ORDERING INFO | CONTACT US Westholme Publishing is on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter
Contact Webmaster: FZ Media Design © 2014 by Westholme Publishing