Chapter

Lincoln's Political Faith in the Peoria Address

John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer and Dawn Vogel

in Lincoln Revisited

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9780823227365
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823240869 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5422/fordham/9780823227365.003.0001
Lincoln's Political Faith in the Peoria Address

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This chapter explores Abraham Lincoln's political faith in the Peoria Address as an ultimate moral justification of American public life, one that combines the moral and religious teachings of the Bible with the Founders' republicanism. It argues that the Peoria Address was the most mature and profound expression of Lincoln's political thought to date in 1854, and that its rich teaching on the moral foundations of American popular government has been overshadowed by scholarly attention given to earlier works like the Lyceum Address of 1838, and to subsequent works like the Second Inaugural Address of 1865. There has been no comprehensive treatment of the Peoria Address as exemplary of Lincoln's integration of religion and politics. The chapter seeks to remedy this gap in the voluminous Lincoln literature. Even a cursory reading of Lincoln's speeches and writings reveals that his interpretation of American democracy was thoroughly imbued by the Judeo-Christian worldview revealed in the Bible.

Keywords: Abraham Lincoln; political faith; Peoria Address; moral justification; public life; Bible; republicanism; religion; politics; democracy

Chapter.  5959 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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