Loathing Lincoln

Here’s an excellent presentation by historian John McKee Barr from his book, discussing the major critics of Lincoln.  He does a pretty good job of outlining their main points.  He also shows why they are wrong.

From the video’s description:  “John McKee Barr talked about his book, Loathing Lincoln: An American Tradition from the Civil War to the Present. In his book, Mr. Barr argues that in order to better understand why Abraham Lincoln is so revered that it is also important to understand the criticisms of his detractors, including the charge that he exceeded the powers of the presidency granted by the Constitution.”

You can watch it here.



  1. It’s a really good book!

  2. Jeffrey Rogers Hummel wrote a pretty interesting review of this book for the libertarian-leaning Reason magazine. I think He has some mistaken interpretations about Civil War scholarship, but he makes some fair points about “Loathing Lincoln.” http://reason.com/archives/2015/01/25/venerating-lincoln

    1. Thanks, Nick. I read Hummel’s review a few days ago. I agree he does appear to make some fair points, though I can’t really judge it until I read the book myself.

    2. …and Loathing Lincoln is not a “tome” of 500 pages, either. It clocks in at a moderate 345 pp before endnotes and index.

  3. Thanks for the link, Nick. I need to read Hummel’s book–so far, I’ve only read reviews of it. But if those reviews are accurate, then Hummel seems to be rather disingenuous and self-serving in his critique, for a number of reasons. Briefly, he seems to do a fair amount of loathing himself.

    I’m getting pretty tired of libertarian economists writing history books about Lincoln and the Civil War, I can tell you.

    1. Well, Hummel does at least have a Ph.D. in history.

      1. Does he indeed? I thought I found that it was only the econ Ph.D. If that’s so, then I take it back.

          1. So it does. I take it back. (Except for the part about libertarian economists. I stand by that.)

          2. And I agree with you on that, Chris.

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