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From the category archives:

Abraham Lincoln

Jefferson Davis' Speech at Macon, Georgia, September 23, 1864: Worst Speech Ever?

April 17, 2012

Jefferson Davis' speech of September 23, 1864, was so bad that Americans North and South speculated that it was a spoof or a satire – but it was real and sincere. In this speech Davis greatly discouraged his own troops and vastly raised morale in the North; unpersuasively justified his removal of a popular, effective […]

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My Research Projects

February 13, 2012

I am working on three major research projects: one short-term, and two others longer term.

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Same-Sex Marriage After New York

June 26, 2011

Now that New York has legalized same-sex marriage for residents and non-residents alike, the political and legal landscape for same-sex marriage has been dramatically altered.

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Ezra Klein's Gaffe: Belittling the Constititution by Considering Only the Text

January 1, 2011

     Ezra Klein, a columnist for Newsweek and the Washington Post, put his foot in it on national television two days ago when he said that the Constitution was "written more than 100 years ago" and "confusing," implying that it is irrelevant to today's society.  Breaking news, Ezra: the Constitution is the foundation for all of […]

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Obama, McChrystal, Lincoln, and Key

June 24, 2010

     Columnists have compared President's Obama's dismissal of General Stanley McChrystal to Truman's dismissal of Douglas MacArthur.  I have another analogy: Lincoln's dismissal of Major John Key.

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Libertarianism: (Part 3) Negative Liberty and Positive Liberty in the Constitution

May 25, 2010

     In his masterful book Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution James M. McPherson draws the distinction between "negative liberty" and "positive liberty."  Negative liberty is the right to be free from laws regulating our conduct.  Positive liberty is the enactment of laws protecting our rights.  Libertarians in general and Republican senatorial nominee Rand Paul […]

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Libertarianism: (Part 2) Lincoln on Liberty

May 24, 2010

     Republican senate nominee Rand Paul has consistently opposed civil rights laws that prohibit individuals and private businesses from discriminating on the basis of race.  Paul takes the position that these laws interfere with the "liberty" and "property" rights of persons and institutions that choose to discriminate.  This is not a new argument.

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Virginia Governor McDonnell Apologizes for Omitting Reference to Slavery in Declaring Confederate History Month

April 8, 2010

     The Washington Post reports that Governor Bob McDonnell has issued an apology for neglecting to mention slavery in his declaration of Confederate History Month.

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Abraham Lincoln and the Fourth of July

July 3, 2009

     Lincoln revered the Declaration of Independence, and several of his most significant utterances were made on or about the Fourth of July. 

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Lincoln and the Constitutionality of Emancipation

February 17, 2009

     Abraham Lincoln opposed slavery as strongly as any abolitionist: he said, "If slavery is not wrong, then nothing is wrong."  But did he possess the power to end slavery?

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Lincoln: The Gettysburg Address

February 10, 2009

    The Gettysburg Address is widely considered to be the greatest speech in American history.  In this essay both the style and the substance of the Address are analyzed.

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Lincoln and Secession: Address of July 4, 1861

February 6, 2009

     The essay posted Tuesday described the arguments that Abraham Lincoln made against secession in his First Inaugural Address of March 4, 1861.  Four months later on Independence Day, 1861, Lincoln returned to this subject and expanded upon his position in a special address to Congress.

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