A Statesman Divided? Abraham Lincoln's Views on Race

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Ryan Shay


This research paper examines the productive relationship Abraham Lincoln's views on race had in relationship to his goals as a statesman. Rather than seeking to illustrate Lincoln's sentiments as either progressive or racist, this paper provides thorough nuance and substantive analysis to demonstrate how Lincoln's racial conceptions, while grounded in strong philosophy of equality, are expressed through carefully-constructed sentiments and policies given the particular racial context in which he operated. In this case, Abraham Lincoln is hardly divded but united in furhering the great cause of equality. 

Article Details

Political Science
Author Biography

Ryan Shay, Villanova University

Ryan Shay graduated cum laude from Western Washington University in 2011 and will receive his M.A. from Villanova University’s Department of Political Science in May 2015. Prior to graduate school, Ryan worked as a campus minister, taught pre-school and worked as a tour guide and bus driver in Juneau, Alaska. His research interests include religion and politics, American political parties and of course, his beloved Abraham Lincoln. Since his Illinois childhood, Lincoln has been a subject of Ryan’s fascination. Ryan thanks Dr. Colleen Sheehan for her guidance and encouragement to pursue the difficult topic of Lincoln’s complicated views on race.