From left:rnDavid Gordon,rnPaul Gottfried,rnSamuel Francis,rnMichael Warder,rnAllan Carlson,rnGeorge Resch,rnMel Bradford,rnLew Rockwell,rnand Murray Rothbard.rnmattox Court House. McPherson’s Lincolnrn”as he seems to us now” is a summaryrnfigure in one of the great American politicalrntraditions, that heritage whichrnaffirms the growing power of Leviathanrnto achieve ends and purposes it thinksrnproper, to apply its rhetoric and its energ)’rnto reshape the recalcitrant material of thernbody politic. In this system what seems fitrnaccording to some extrinsic philosophicalrnor moral standard is also lawful, regardlessrnof what Constitution and statuternleave to the irregular operations of freernchoice among constituent members.rnMcPherson clearly belongs to that tradition,rn’those who measure the history ofrnAmerican politics against the paradigmrnof the old Constitution, or who affirm inrnpublic life no more regulation than whatrnthat document, as anrended, permits willrnnot, however, be at ease with McPhersonrnon Lincoln’s version of liberty, of unconditionalrnsurrender, implied powers, andrnrevolutionary transformation cum preservationrnof the Union. Such Americans asrnarc put off by this intrusive paradigm willrnnot have so sanguine a view of Mr. Lincoln.rnFor they come out of anotherrnAmerican political tradition, the onernwhich gave us our original Constitutionrnand Bill of Rights. For them the Emancipatorrnwill always seem to be a crafty manipulatorrnof men’s emotions, a great incendiary,rnand almost a tyrant. Nothing inrnMcPherson’s evidence dislodges mernfrom membership in this second company.rnMcPherson’s arguments for Lincolnrnas a second Founder is basedrnon an analysis of the “scope and meaningrnof revolutionary transformations in bothrnsubstance and process wrought by thernCivil War” and “Lincoln’s leadership inrnaccomplishing these changes.” McPhersonrndoesn’t dwell on the formal characteristicsrnof the original Republic, whatrndefined it before Mr. Lincoln camernalong. But he is serious about the wordrn”revolution.” Of what happened whenrnthe South was defeated and how Lincolnrnshaped that victory, he writes, “AbrahamrnLincoln was not Maximilien de Robespierre.rnNo Confederate leaders went tornthe guillotine. Yet the Civil War changedrnthe United States as thoroughly as thernFrench Revolution changed that country.”rnLincoln accomplished this legerdemainrnby making liberty a gift of governmentrn—and by assigning to the federalrnpower a gerreral responsibility for thernwell-being of American citizens. Thisrnmuch it accomplished by freeing thernslaves and preserving the Uirion by militaryrnmeans—not by persuasion and politicsrn—thus putting the civil bond whichrnmakes a nation on a new basis. Of thernorigin of the Old Republic iir resistancernto a power remote, unresponsive, and potentiallyrnhostile McPherson has littie tornsay.rnHe praises Abraham Lincoln for hisrnuse of metaphor (Lincoln was the greatestrnmaster of the language among all ourrnPresidents) and for his abilit)’ to stick tornone large objective. He treats the modernrntheory of total war leading to unconditionalrnsurrender as if it could conceivablyrnenjoy moral standing. And herninvents a doctrine of liberty with whichrnmost men might be enslaved, “for theirrnown good.” But these exercises are merelyrnconventional and adjunctive. ForrnMcPherson is really about his businessrnonly in discoursing on his favorite Americanrnrevolution and its objectives: to freernthe slaves; to end Southern dominationrnof national politics; to change, internally.rnthe social order of the South; and to commitrnthe entire nation to a new politics,rnderivative of the second sentence of thernDeclaration of Independence, not thernConstitution. After 1865, almost everyonernin the South was poor. But McPhersonrnis simplistic with reference to thernessentially familial order of life in the region:rnPoliticization of private things didrnnot come until after I9I8. And for thernmeliorist, the progressive, destruction ofrnslavery by war was a far more complicatedrnbusiness than this book or McPherson’srnearlier studies of abolitionists wouldrnallow. Concerning Southern dominationrnof national politics, he hits the mark.rnIn retrospect, that shift in control wasrnclearly the central meaning of this conflict.rnBut as Charles Fairman, PhilliprnPaludan, and Earl M. Maltz have taughtrnus, the United States Supreme Court inrnthe Reconstruction era, with assistancernfrom Congress and various Northernrnstates, prevented the remaking of thernConstitution: prevented even a radicalrnreading of the Reconstruction amendments.rnTherefore, we have to concludernthat McPherson’s “revolution” is a productrnof the imagination; and his Lincolnrnless the practical politician (who at onernpoint supported the original 13th Amendmentrnthat would have protected slaveryrnforever) and more the American demigodrnof the Lincoln Memorial.rnThus I cannot rejoice at the extent tornwhich Professor McPherson would seemrnto agree with me. For McPherson onrnLincoln the revolutionary constitutes arnstudy in inversion of terms and ingenuityrnin argument—an abuse of the evidencern—and is less impressive than Herndon inrnhis narrative of the strong country ladrnwho could wrestle and pin his enemy,rnwho learned to play his cards as theyrncame, and who could summon eloquencernwhen he needed it—especiallyrnwhen he imitated the country preachersrnand the language of the Authorized Version.rnIn early August, I turned in this reviewrnto the literary editor of National Review,rnwho had commissioned it. Although hernindicated in a telephone conversationrnthat he liked it well enough, later he informedrnme that the editors of NationalrnReview had decided not to run the piecernbecause it might be taken as an expressionrnof the magazine’s editorial philosophy.rnAs a result, I sent a letter to the editor-rnin-chief, terminating my associationrnof 25 years with that publication.rn30/CHRONICLESrnrnrn