Those who have not read any critiques of Abraham Lincoln will be at a loss to understand why the 16th president would need to be vindicated in the first place. Upon investigating the matter further, however, the reader may come to the place of Benjamin Franklin, who wrote:
Having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought right, but found to be otherwise.
And so the first thing Professor Krannawitter does is dip into the increasingly large well of those critiques first, to explore the charges at length, and then attempt to respond in Lincoln’s favor.
This, according to Krannawitter, isn’t just an intellectual exercise:
When critics attempt to knock Lincoln out of the pantheon of American heroes, they add to the growing cynicism of American politics. After all, if Americans come to believe that the president reputed to be the greatest was in truth a scoundrel unworthy of respect, then surely they will view all lesser politicians as such, adding to the mistaken idea that there is nothing noble or beautiful about politics…
His opening chapter serves to illustrate the enormous difficulty Krannawitter faces in