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Full-Text Articles in Intellectual History

Book Review: Lincoln And His Books, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 2012

Book Review: Lincoln And His Books, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

“I have found no one to speak of Lincoln as a man of either capacity or patriotism,” smirked Confederate general Lafayette McLaws, as the Army of Northern Virginia prepared to march into Pennsylvania on June 28, 1863. His was not, unhappily, an opinion limited to Abraham Lincoln’s enemies-in-arms. Henry Clay Whitney admitted that, at best, Lincoln “had the appearance of a rough intelligent farmer.” Elihu Washburne agreed: meeting Lincoln on the railroad platform in Washington, D.C., on February 23, 1861, Washburne could not help thinking that Lincoln “looked more like a well-to-do farmer from one of the back ...


A. Lincoln, Philosopher: Lincoln’S Place In 19th-Century Intellectual History, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 2008

A. Lincoln, Philosopher: Lincoln’S Place In 19th-Century Intellectual History, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

The nineteenth century in Europe and America was an era of second thoughts. Those second thoughts were largely about the Enlightenment, which had been born in the mid-1600s as a scientific revolution and blossomed into the Age of Reason in the 1700s, when it seemed that no puzzle was beyond the grasp of scientific rationality. That blossom was snipped all too quickly by the French Revolution, which drowned rationality in human politics in a spray of Jacobin-terrorized blood, then by the revulsion of European art and music from the Enlightenment’s canons of balance and symmetry in favor of the ...


Freedom Of The Will, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 2005

Freedom Of The Will, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

The exact nature of the human will is, like the nature of human consciousness, a question so subjective and so interior that no one is ever likely to arrive at a satisfactory judgment about how it functions or even what it is-which may be the best proof that philosophy is not a science, and the best evidence that those social sciences which try to measure, quantify, and control aspects of human consciousness are not sciences either. Still, there is no denying that we are aware of a power or an impulse within us which transJates thought into action, or at ...


The Return Of The Will: Jonathan Edwards And The Possibilities Of Free Will, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 1999

The Return Of The Will: Jonathan Edwards And The Possibilities Of Free Will, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

If certain national cultures seem to own certain great problems of the mind, then freedom of the will seems to be the American problem. This is not just because of the sheet stupifying bulk of what Americans have written on this problem over the past 300 years, from Benjamin Franklin to Daniel Dennett, from Quaker prophetesses in Vermont to prairie lawyers in Illinois. In the most fundamental sense, freedom of the will has been an American possession because it forms a cognate philosophical discourse to that most fundamental of all American ideas, that if political and civil liberty. To speak ...


Abraham Lincoln And The Doctrine Of Necessity, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 1997

Abraham Lincoln And The Doctrine Of Necessity, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

Abraham Lincoln was a fatalist. That, at least, was what he told many people over the course of his life. "I have all my life been a fatalist," Lincoln informed his Illinois congressional ally, Isaac Arnold. "Mr. Lincoln was a fatalist," remembered Henry Clay Whitney, one of his Springfield law clerks, "he believed ... that the universe is governed by one uniform, unbroken, primordial law." His Springfield law partner William Henry Herndon, likewise, affirmed that Lincoln "believed in predestination, foreordination, that all things were fixed, doomed one way or the other, from which there was no appeal." Even Mary Todd Lincoln ...


Oberlin Perfectionism And Its Edwardsean Origins, Allen C. Guelzo Jan 1996

Oberlin Perfectionism And Its Edwardsean Origins, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

An impression has very generally prevailed," wrote James Harris Fairchild toward the end of his twenty-three-year presidency of Oberlin College, "that the theological views unleashed at Oberlin College by the late Rev. Charles Grandison Finney & his Associates involves a considerable departure from the accepted orthodox faith." It was an impression that Fairchild believed to be inaccurate, and he would probably be horrified to discover a century later that the prevailing impression the "Oberlin Theology" has made on historians of the nineteenth-century United States continues to be one in which Oberlin stands for almost all the progressive and enthusiastic unorthodoxies of ...


Calvinist Metaphysics To Republican Theory: Jonathan Edwards And James Dana On Freedom Of The Will, Allen C. Guelzo Jul 1995

Calvinist Metaphysics To Republican Theory: Jonathan Edwards And James Dana On Freedom Of The Will, Allen C. Guelzo

Civil War Era Studies Faculty Publications

The Reverend Mr. James Dana, the pastor of the First Church in Wallingford, Connecticut, had never before attempted to pick a quarrel with his old friend and ally, Ezra Stiles, the president of Yale College. But in the winter of 1782 what was happening at Yale passed all the bounds of propriety and friendship. "I have understood that Mr. Edwards's book on fatality was laid aside some years since at your university," Dana wrote (not stopping to add what he surely must have thought, and good riddance too); but now, "it gave me pain to hear lately" that the ...