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Upon the subject of education, not presuming to dictate any plan or system respecting it, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people can be engaged in. That every man may receive at least, a moderate education, and thereby be enabled to read the histories of his own and other countries, by which he may duly appreciate the value of our free institutions, appears to be an object of vital importance, even on this account alone, to say nothing of the advantages and satisfaction to be derived from all being able to read the scriptures and other works, both of a religious and moral nature, for themselves. For my part, I desire to see the time when education, and by its means, morality, sobriety, enterprise and industry, shall become much more general than at present, and should be gratified to have it in my power to contribute something to the advancement of any measure which might have a tendency to accelerate the happy period.
--March 9, 1832 - First Political Announcement

Politics 360 — Lincoln’s Statesmanship

Fall 2013 Washington and Lee University

Huntley Hall, Room 321 MWF 11:15 am-12:10 p.m.

Lucas Morel, Ph.D. Office Phone: 458-8161 Email: morell@wlu.edu

Williams School of Commerce

Office Hours, Huntley Hall, Room 120: Mornings MWF 10:00-11:00 a.m., Afternoons Tue/Thu 2-3 p.m.

Course Description (Am I in the right class?)



Lincoln, Cooper Institute Address, February 27, 1860

This course examines the statesmanship of Abraham Lincoln through a close reading of his writings and consideration of

his deeds. We will explore many important features of his political philosophy and practice: for example, why he

considered himself anti-slavery but not an abolitionist; why he believed in the right of revolution but not secession or

nullification; why he thought a war to defend the Union from internal disruption was preferable to a peaceful separation;

and why the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and the structures of the Constitution were so central to his

political mindset.

Course Objectives (What will we learn?)

To understand Lincoln’s contribution to the preservation of American self-government by examining his understanding of

the following key concepts, theories, and public figures:

 the connection between equal rights and government by the consent of the governed

 the distinction between anti-slavery and abolitionist thought and practice

 the progress of constitutional emancipation

 the significance of the rule of law for the perpetuation of free government

 the role of public opinion in a republic, esp. in light of existing racial prejudices

 the proper relationship between religion and government

 the challenge of public figures like Stephen Douglas, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison

 the cause and meaning of the American Civil War

Course Materials (What will we look at?)

1. Books required for purchase:

The Writings of Abraham Lincoln, ed. Steven B. Smith

Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America: A Biography, William E. Gienapp

Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865, James Oakes

Students must purchase their own copy of these books because each student will need to refer to passages from the

reading in order to follow and participate in class discussion. Nota bene: The bookstore returns unsold books to the

publisher a few weeks into the term, so purchase all of the books at the beginning of the term to secure a personal copy.

2. Selected web-based readings emailed to students will need to be printed out to supplement the books required for

purchase. Unless otherwise noted, always bring these to the relevant class session.

Course Methodology (How will we learn?)

sem • i • nar n. 1. A small group of advanced students engaged in original research or intensive study. 2. A conference.

As a seminar, this course offers students the opportunity to study an American statesman through close reading and

informed discussion of primary texts, scholarly commentary, and historical narratives. To quote Professor Kingsfield

(from The Paper Chase), “We use the Socratic method here: I ask you a question and you answer it. Why don’t I just give

you a lecture? Because through my questions you learn to teach yourselves.” In short, memorizing only enables you to

begin to think about a subject.

Therefore, most of the class period involves a discussion of the reading, not a recitation of what the instructor thought

were the “five main points” of the previous night’s reading. Expect to spend most of the time searching through your book

for answers in response to questions posed by the instructor and classmates. In other words,

• DO NOT EXPECT A LECTURE. Instead, the instructor will ask you questions about what you have read.

• DO NOT WAIT FOR SOMETHING TO BE WRITTEN ON THE BOARD. The majority of your in-class notes

should reflect the gems uncovered and polished by class discussion of the reading.

What will this require? Students must come to class prepared. Students are required to bring the relevant reading

material, and will be dismissed from the class session if they are found without them. Materials for taking notes,

though not required, are strongly recommended. The lack of taking notes will be detrimental to the student’s

comprehension and retention of course material. Students are responsible for assigned readings, in-class discussion, hand-

outs, essays, examinations, and any changes made to the syllabus as the term progresses.

Attendance (When will we learn?)

With classes meeting only twice a week, students are allowed NO UNEXCUSED ABSENCES. The instructor expects

students to attend every class session. Experience has shown that frequent absences greatly hinder comprehension of

course topics and materials. Please be prompt, as tardy attendance disrupts class decorum.

PENALTY: For each unexcused absence, your final point total will be reduced by 30 points (maximum penalty is one

letter grade, e.g., “A” to “B”).

Treat a legitimate absence from class as if you were skipping a day of work: inform the instructor prior to or the day of the

missed class session. The instructor will only record the absence as excused if the student notified the instructor the same

day of the absence (or earlier).

In addition, there will be additional lectures requiring student attendance.

Washington and Lee University makes reasonable academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. All

undergraduate accommodations must be approved through the Office of the Dean of the College. Students requesting

accommodations for this course should present an official accommodation letter within the first two weeks of the term and

schedule a meeting outside of class time to discuss accommodations. It is the student’s responsibility to present this

paperwork in a timely fashion and to follow up about accommodation arrangements. Accommodations for test-taking

should be arranged at least a week before the date of the test or exam.

Grading (Have we met our objectives? Am I learning anything, yet?)

Students will be required periodically to show formal evidence that they understand course topics. That evidence will take

the following form:

1. 20% — Class Participation (200 points). Students are expected to talk—and not just attend—every class session,

offering critical discussion of the readings. Criteria:

a. Comprehension—student makes thoughtful contribution to class discussion; comments reflect careful reading and

understanding of the assignment;

b. Consistency—student participates in class discussion on a regular basis;

c. Initiative—student is a self-starter, discussing course readings and responding to in-class comments of others

without being asked directly by the instructor; student responds earnestly to questions posed by the instructor and

others, not giving up if an answer does not immediately come to mind.

2. 5% — “One-Hour” Essay (50 points). A two-page (500 words +/- 50 words) essay will answer a question posed about

a recently assigned reading; spend no more than an hour in composing and writing the brief essay.

3. 15% — Interpretive Essay (150 points). A five-page (1,250-1,500 words) interpretive essay will explicate a speech by

Lincoln not already assigned for this course.

4. 15% — Midterm Examination (150 points). A midterm examination will test comprehension of course readings.

Bring an examination blue book with you to the examination period.

5. 25% — Term Paper (250 points). A 15-page essay (3,750 words minimum) will explore a significant idea or policy of

Lincoln’s statesmanship.

6. 20% — Final Examination (200 points). An examination comprising essay questions will test comprehension of

course readings and class discussion of material assigned since the midterm. Bring an examination blue book.

Grade/Final %

Superior A+ = 97-100 Good B+ = 87-89 Fair C+ = 76-79 Marginal D = 56-63

A = 93-96 B = 83-86 C = 70-75

A- = 90-92 B- = 80-82 C- = 64-69 Failure F = 0-55

Class Schedule

Smith, Writings of Abraham Lincoln = WAL

Week #1

9/6 Christopher Flannery, “O Captain! My Captain!” Claremont Review of Books:

Fri. http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/article_print.asp?articleid=1600

Walt Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!”: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/174742

Week #2

9/9 Christopher Flannery, “O Captain! My Captain!” Claremont Review of Books:

Mon. http://www.claremont.org/publications/crb/article_print.asp?articleid=1600

Declaration of Independence (July 4, 1776):


Declaration of Independence draft, 1 st paragraph (Jefferson’s headnote: “Congress proceeded the same . . .”) and

the deleted paragraph on the slave trade, which begins, “He has waged cruel war”:


9/11 Thomas Jefferson, Query XVIII, “Manners” (Notes on the State of Virginia, 1781):

Wed. http://www.teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?documentprint=529

Smith, Writings of Abraham Lincoln, 323-24 (Speech at Independence Hall), 243-44 (Letter to Henry L. Pierce);

Stephen A. Douglas, “Speech at Springfield, Illinois” (July 17, 1858):

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/speech-at- springfield-illinois/

9/13 WAL, 3-7, 7-14 (Address to the Young Men’s Lyceum);

Fri. Gienapp, chap. 1

Week #3

9/16 Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” (July 5, 1852):

Mon. http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/what-to- the-slave- is-the- fourth-of- july/

William Lloyd Garrison:

 To the Public (1831):

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/to-the- public/

 Declaration of Sentiments-Peace Convention (1838):

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/declaration-of- sentiments-adopted- by-the- peace-convention/

 American Union (1845):

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/the-american- union/

9/17 * September 17, Constitution Day! Required Attendance, 4:00 p.m.

Tue. Lecture: “George Washington and the Constitution,” J. Holt Merchant, Professor of History, W&L

Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library

9/18 John C. Calhoun, “Slavery a Positive Good” (February 6, 1837):

Wed. http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/slavery-a- positive-good/

John C. Calhoun, “On the Oregon Bill” (June 27, 1848):

http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/document/oregon-bill- speech/

James Henry Hammond, “The ‘Mudsill’ Theory” (March 4, 1858):


Masur, “Long-Term Origins,” The Civil War: A Concise History, 1-8 (emailed pdf)

9/20 WAL, 14-22 (Temperance Address);

Fri. Gienapp, chap. 2

1. Term Paper Topic due by Friday, September 20, by 4 p.m.

2. “One-Hour” Essay (Take-Home Assignment): Complete the essay & send as an email

attachment (Word for PC) by 5 pm on Saturday, Sept. 21

Week #4

9/23 WAL, 26-27 (Handbill Replying to Charges of [Religious] Infidelity); 42-43 (Notes on the Practice of Law);

Mon. WAL, 22-23 (Letter to Williamson Durley)

9/25 WAL, 43-54 (Henry Clay Eulogy);

Wed. Abraham Lincoln, “Remarks and Resolution” Concerning D.C. Abolition (January 10, 1849) (emailed text)

9/27 Stephen A. Douglas, “Speech on the Territorial Question” (March 13-14, 30, 1850) (emailed text);

Fri. Stephen A. Douglas, “Speech on Nebraska Territory” (January 30, 1854):

http://edsitement.neh.gov/sites/edsitement.neh.gov/files/worksheets/Blackline_1.pdf (pp. 7-8 of online pdf);

Gienapp, chap. 3

Week #5

9/30 WAL, 59-92 (Speech at Peoria);

Mon. Morel, “Lincoln’s Turning Point,” Review of Lewis Lehrman, Lincoln at Peoria:


10/2 WAL, 59-92 (Speech at Peoria); 150 (On Slavery and Democracy); 58-59 (Fragment on Slavery);

Wed. WAL, 57-58 (Fragments on Government)

10/4 WAL, 92-93 (To George Robertson); 93-96 (To Joshua F. Speed); 106-07 (Republican Banquet Speech);

Fri. WAL, 108 (Fragment on Formation of the Republican Party)

Annotated Bibliography due by Friday, October 4, by 4 p.m.

Week #6

10/7 WAL, 106 (On Stephen Douglas); 133-34 (Fragment on Struggle Against Slavery); 119 (To Lyman Trumbull);

Mon. Dred Scott v. Sandford (1857), Excerpts (emailed pdf)

10/9 Midterm Examination (Bring Exam Blue Book): All materials assigned for Week #s 1-6 (except Dred)


10/11 Reading Day (No Class)


Week #7

10/14 WAL, 108-19 (Speech on Dred Scott);

Mon. Gregory J. Wallance, “Dred Scott Decision,” Civil War Times (emailed text)

10/14 * 12:15 p.m., Lee Chapel (required attendance)

Mon. Remembering Robert E. Lee Program, Lecture by Frank O’Reilly:

“Adapt, Improvise, Overcome: Lee’s Greatest Victory at Chancellorsville”

10/16 WAL, 126-33 (House Divided Address);

Wed. Oakes, chap. 1

10/18 WAL, 134-50 (Chicago Speech); 189-90 (On Pro-Slavery Theology)


Week #8

10/21 WAL, 151-85 (Ottawa, IL, First Lincoln-Douglas Debate)


10/23 Freeport, IL (Second Lincoln-Douglas Debate) (emailed text)


10/25 WAL, 190-230 (Alton, IL, Seventh Lincoln-Douglas Debate);

Fri. WAL, 185-89 (Portion of Speech at Edwardsville, Illinois)

Term Paper Draft due by Friday, October 25, by 4 p.m.

Week #9

10/28 WAL, 283-98 (Cooper Institute Address);

Mon. Oakes, chap. 2

10/30 James Buchanan, “State of the Union Address” (December 3, 1860), Excerpts (emailed text);

Wed. Alexander H. Stephens, “Cornerstone Address” (March 21, 1861):


11/1 New Orleans Daily Crescent Editorial (December 14, 1860):

Fri. http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1747

Charles B. Dew, “Apostles of Secession,” North and South, IV (April 2001), 24-38 (emailed pdf);

WAL, 321 (To Alexander H. Stephens); Stephens to Abraham Lincoln (December 30, 1860) (emailed text);

WAL, 321-22 (Fragment on the Constitution and the Union);

Gienapp, chap. 4

Week #10

11/4 WAL, 320-21 (To Lyman Trumbull); 322 (Farewell Address); Lincoln to New Jersey Senate (emailed text);

Mon. WAL, 324-32 (1st Inaugural Address); 333-34 (Proclamation Calling Militia and Convening Congress)

Speech Explication due beginning of class

11/6 WAL, 334-47 (Message to Congress in Special Session); Bates Opinion on Habeas Corpus (emailed pdf);

Wed. Oakes, chap. 3

11/8 WAL, 348-49 (To Beriah Magoffin); 349-50 (To John C. Frémont); 350-52 (To Orville H. Browning);

Fri. First Confiscation Act (August 6, 1861) (emailed text);

Lincoln, Message to Congress—Excerpt (December 3, 1861) (emailed text);

Oakes, chap. 4

Week #11

11/11 Lincoln, Stay of Execution for Nathaniel Gordon (February 4, 1862) (emailed text);

Mon. Lincoln, Message to Congress (March 6, 1862) (emailed text);

D.C. Emancipation Act & Lincoln, To Senate and House of Representatives (April 16, 1862) (emailed text);

Proclamation Revoking General Hunter’s Order (May 19, 1862) (emailed text);

Territorial Freedom Act (June 19, 1862) (emailed text);

Second Confiscation Act (July 17, 1862) (emailed text);

Oakes, chap. 7

11/13 Horace Greeley, “Prayer of 20 Millions” (August 19, 1862): http://www.civilwarhome.com/lincolngreeley.htm;

Wed. Lincoln, Letter to Cuthbert Bullitt (July 28, 1862) (emailed text);

Oakes, chaps. 8-9

11/15 No Class: Complete worksheet on Oakes, chaps. 5-6; place in my office box by 12 noon (Huntley Hall 120)

Fri. (handwrite answers in Examination Bluebook)

Week #12

11/18 WAL, 361-62 (To Horace Greeley);

Mon. Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation (emailed text); WAL, 395-96 (Final Emancipation Proclamation);

Lincoln, Letter to Vice President Hannibal Hamlin (September 28, 1862) (emailed text);

WAL, 382-92 (Annual Message to Congress—Excerpt);

Lincoln, Letter to Salmon P. Chase (September 2, 1863) (emailed text);

Morel, “Forced into Gory Lincoln Revisionism,” Review of Lerone Bennett, Forced into Glory:


Gienapp, chap. 5

Term Paper due beginning of class

11/20 WAL, 399-406 (To Erastus Corning and Others); 407-11 (To Matthew Birchard and Others);

Wed. WAL, 413-16 (To James C. Conkling);

Oakes, chap. 10; Gienapp, chap. 6

11/22 Lincoln, Response to a Serenade (July 7, 1863) (emailed text);

Fri. WAL, 417 (Gettysburg Address); 417-18 (To Edward Everett);

Gienapp, chap. 7

Week #13 11/25-29 Thanksgiving Holiday

Week #14

12/2 Lincoln, Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction (December 8, 1863) (emailed text);

Mon. Lincoln, To Edwin M. Stanton (February 5, 1864) (emailed text);

Lincoln, To Michael Hahn (March 13, 1864) (emailed text);

WAL, 420-22 (Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland); 431-34 (Speech on Reconstruction);

Oakes, chap. 12

12/4 WAL, 428-29 (2nd Inaugural Address); 430 (To Thurlow Weed);

Wed. WAL, 362-63 (Meditation on the Divine Will); 418-19 (To Albert G. Hodges);

Morel, “War and Remembrance in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address” (pp. 10-11 of emailed pdf);

Gienapp, chap. 8

12/6 Frederick Douglass, “Oration in Memory of Lincoln” (1876):

Fri. http://www.ashbrook.org/library/19/douglass/lincolnoration.html

Course/instructor evaluation * Final Examinations begin Saturday, December 7