Anne McElvoy reassesses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln on the 200th anniversary of his birth, discussing what his ambivalent attitudes to African-American meant for his generation.
Anne McElvoy reassesses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln on the 200th anniversary of his birth. Although America's new president, Barack Obama, has made much of his own admiration for his predecessor, a new generation of historians has been re-examining the question of Lincoln's relationship to race and slavery.
He issued the Emancipation Proclamation and supported a constitutional amendment to outlaw slavery, but he also harboured grave doubts about the intellectual capacity of African-Americans and favoured the voluntary 'colonisation' of freed slaves to Africa and the Caribbean. Anne and her guests discuss what Lincoln's ambivalent attitudes meant for his generation and whether they have echoed down through generations of American society.