David J. Kent
Sunday, September 4, 2022
What were Abraham Lincoln's greatest speeches? Why were they great? The answers come from historian Diana Schaub, who in her book, His Greatest Speeches: How Lincoln Moved the Nation, has successfully written one of the best analyses of Lincoln's speeches ever produced.
The three speeches Schaub has chosen for her analysis should be familiar to most Lincoln Group members. The Lyceum Address is less known to the general public even as it is considered a milestone speech to Lincoln scholars. Many of us memorized the Gettysburg Address as part of our early education, and it remains the most well-known speech in history, both domestic and worldwide. The Second Inaugural Address is the most religious sounding of all Lincoln speeches, giving us a depth that will keep scholars debating for many decades hence.
While she parses these three specific speeches, her insightful analysis draws from many of his other speeches and letters. Schaub draws on her own broad knowledge of religious and democratic history to reveal the deeper historical meanings of the language Lincoln used to move the populace toward individual and collective behavior. She has successfully brought a heightened range of analysis to Lincoln's words.
Diana Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland and a Visiting Scholar in the Social, Cultural, and Constitutional Studies department at the American Enterprise Institute. She was the Garwood Teaching Fellow at Princeton University in 2011-12 and Visiting Professor of Political Theory in the Government Department at Harvard University in fall 2018, fall 2020, and spring 2022.
The Study Forum review of this book begins Saturday, September 10th and meets monthly at 10 A.M. via Zoom. The Forum is open to all Lincoln Group of DC members. Anyone interested in attending can get on the Study Forum mailing list by contacting Debbie Jackson at email@example.com.