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Presenting : Lincoln

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Item Summary

Title: Presenting : Lincoln
Authors: Johnston, Patrick Stephen
Keywords: Lincoln
Issue Date: May 2013
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2013]
Abstract: Abraham Lincoln remains a popular figure both in the American memory and imagination. There is no shortage of presentations of Lincoln, some of which are fleeting, such as an ad campaign for a prescription sleep aid featuring Lincoln and a beaver, while others, like the Lincoln Memorial, are seemingly permanent.
This dissertation will analyze five pathways of Lincoln presentations: private, public, revisionist, elided and imaginary. I will argue that the presentation of Lincoln given by Harry V. Jaffa and his student Thomas Krannawitter are meant for the few and not the many due to their reliance on Straussian political philosophy. Jaffa and Krannawitter view Lincoln as a hero with a noticeable lack of flaws and a penchant for hiding his intentions. However, presentations meant for public consumption like the five-dollar bill or Steven Spielberg's 2012 film Lincoln are allowed to be, and indeed by their very nature, are, more accessible and more frequently turned to by those interested in the sixteenth president. Yet, these presentations are usually narrowly focused and lack a feeling of completeness regarding Lincoln as a whole person.
One avenue to take instead of making Lincoln whole is to call into question how he has been presented, which is especially true with the Great Emancipator image. Critiques of this kind are important to consider, but do they constructively lead us anywhere? Revisionism has also had precious little to say about Lincoln's relations with Native Americans. While the Civil War was a primary concern for Lincoln, we have no good reason to continue to minimize Lincoln's place in the history of Westward expansion and of the Native Americans who lived on the land upon which expansion took place. Paradoxically due to his assassination, the theme of the imaginary of what could have been with Lincoln has been much discussed but also limited in scope by the fact of the assassination.
Given Lincoln's continued popularity, presentations should continue apace in the future. However, we should expect to see few comprehensive presentations of Lincoln as what we get tends to reflect the limited presentation which is popular at the time.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2013.
Includes bibliographical references.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Political Science

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