Forced into Glory
Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream (2000) is a book by Lerone Bennett, Jr., an African American scholar and historian, and executive editor of Ebony Magazine for decades. It criticizes President Abraham Lincoln and claims that his reputation as the "Great Emancipator" during the American Civil War is undeserved.
In his introduction, Bennett wrote:
The "basic idea of the book is simple: Everything you think you know about Lincoln and race is wrong. Every schoolchild, for example, knows the story of 'the great emancipator' who freed Negroes with a stroke of the pen out of the goodness of his heart. The real Lincoln... was a conservative politician who said repeatedly that he believed in white supremacy. Not only that: He opposed the basic principle of the Emancipation Proclamation until his death and was literally forced - Count Adam Gurowski said he was literally whipped - 'into the glory of having issued the Emancipation Proclamation,' which Lincoln drafted in such a way that it did not in and of itself free a single slave."
The book is dedicated to those individuals whom Bennett calls "the real abolitionists", including Frederick Douglass, Thaddeus Stevens and Wendell Phillips. In the dedication, he praises them for forcing "Lincoln into glory."
Bennett's critics, including historians James M. McPherson, Eric Foner and Lucas E. Morel, believe that he ignored Lincoln's political and moral growth during the Civil War. In addition, they thought he oversimplified the complexities of the times on issues of race when attacking Lincoln. They disagreed with Bennett and have concluded that Lincoln was instrumental in creating the framework that brought freedom to slaves in the United States.
In a 2009 review of three newly published books on Lincoln, historian Brian Dirck referred to Bennett's 2000 work and linked him with Thomas DiLorenzo, another critic of Lincoln. He wrote that "Few Civil War scholars take Bennett and DiLorenzo seriously, pointing to their narrow political agenda and faulty research."
- McPherson, James M (2000-08-27). "Lincoln the Devil". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
- Foner, Eric (2000-04-09). "Recent Book Reviews". Los Angeles Times Book Review. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
- Morel, Lucas E. (Fall 2000). "Forced into Gory Lincoln Revisionism". Claremont Review of Books. The Claremont Institute. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
- Dirck, Brian. Review: "Father Abraham: Lincoln’s Relentless Struggle to End Slavery, and: Act of Justice: Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the Law of War, and: Lincoln and Freedom: Slavery, Emancipation, and the Thirteenth Amendment (review)", Civil War History, September 2009, Vol.55, Iss.3; pp.382-385
- Booknotes interview with Bennett on Forced Into Glory, 10 September 2000.
- "An African-American Icon Speaks Truth to the Lincoln Cult", Thomas J. DiLorenzo, Lew Rockwell blog, 12 January 2008.
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