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Lincoln by David Herbert Donald

In the book Lincoln, D. H. Donald proposes readers a unique account of merits and contributions of the 18th President of the USA. The book consists of 21 chapters devoted to different periods of life and political career of Abraham Lincoln. From the beginning of the book, the author claims that political changes influenced social, political and economic life of the nation transforming its old institutions and brining novelty to social life. The 19th century was often seen as the age of transformations changing cultural orientations, mores, and norms, political activity of the society. The book includes four maps and notes which help the reader to understand the main points and issues discussed by the author.

Donald wrote this book because he wanted to create a strong portrait of Abraham Lincoln as a political leader but preserve personal traits and human values of this President. The author tries to speak about human and moral values of Lincoln and persuade readers in his great contribution to social reforms and development of national ethical and religious values (Donald, 1996).  With the help of theoretical materials and knowledge of the basis of rhetoric the author is able to critically assess different issues and to consider their validity and rationale. Moreover, he teaches us the ability to create discourses and to expose our opinions adequately. Abraham Lincoln is considered a great emancipator who abolished slavery and gave freedom for black population (Chambers 1961).

Book is based on a liberal ideology. Lincoln’s politics and reforms changed modes of production and political systems of the USA and changed ruling to democratic structure of society.  As a strong political leader, he transformed not just the actors and institutions of political systems but also social norms and mores (Donald, 1996). Contested histories allow researchers to rewrite literature and political sciences as they place events and facts in a historical continuum shaped by certain ideology and social principles. It is possible to say that we interpret social and political processes, works of literature and pedagogical issues through lens of historical environment and its meaning for the populace. Scientific data are not the only well-ascertained data. Donald omitted feminist and Marxist viewpoints ( Carwardine, 2007; Corlett 1983).

The author’s arguments are believable because he uses a lot of secondary sources and supports his statement by primary and secondary sources. The book constructs Lincoln’s identity defining it through the prism of historical significance and insignificance of certain events and processes.  Readers perceive history as truth based on facts and scientific interpretations of data. The book shapes our values and views, principles and national ideals. The author uses two types of arguments deductive and inductive. He supplies readers with materials and arguments for thought. Then people see that these facts involve some comprehensible need founded in the nature of things and providing people with a reason. Facts and historical interpretations are linked in order to have the objective content of history

This book proposes a deep analysis of the secondary sources published at the beginning of 20th century and primary documents of the era.  The book proves that people understand themselves and the others learning and interpreting historical events of the past. On the one hand people have an awareness of dignity and of the self-respect of the human person, a desire for freedom and friendship, a recognition of the law: government of the people, for the society and by the people, a growing importance for civil liberties and for justice, an declaration of power over nature. The notes refer readers to primary and secondary sources and help to remember the main historical events of the period. The book helps readers to understand and construct bodily identity studying descriptions of Americans and social values of different historical periods. Thus the life of society advances and progresses so the psychical identity changes over time. In sum, the book is amazing so I would recommend it everyone interested in history of the USA and its great personalities.