Abraham Lincoln and Slavery

This is Sidney Blumenthal, former special assistant to President Bill Clinton and an advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton, giving a presentation on Abraham Lincoln and slavery at the 2016 Lincoln Forum.

I have to say I was not impressed. I didn’t hear a new interpretation or new information. I wasn’t impressed with what historical analysis I was able to see.

This all came across to me as someone who was looking to fill some time and has a bunch of connections. Having said that, though, the information is generally accurate, so students new to Lincoln and slavery can get something out of the program.

The video’s description reads, “Sidney Blumenthal spoke about the political forces that shaped President Lincoln’s views on slavery. Mr. Blumenthal is the author of, A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1849.”




  1. Just as an FYI: A member of our CWRT is a “Lincoln re-enactor,” and he was impressed with Blumenthal’s book, and even admitted being surprised about that, because he was not a fan of either Clinton, politically, so expected to dislike the book. I think (not sure) that this is supposed to be the first of a three volume biography.

    1. Yes, this was the first volume. I’m sure there is plenty of accuracy. The thing is, Jim, I’m looking for more. I’m looking to learn something I didn’t know, to see a perspective I didn’t consider, to see the historical context.

      1. I understand. I’ve not read the book, so I can’t say if he does anything distinctive. My point simply was that Fred (my CWRT colleague) liked it, and where Lincoln is concerned, I’ve learned to take Fred seriously. At the very least, it is apparent the the author is not “selling” his work very well when he gives presentations that don’t highlight why the book is worth reading over and above any other Lincoln book.

        1. I agree he’s not helping his case to buy the book, at least not for those who are looking for more than a run-of-the-mill recounting.

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