THE NATHAN I. HUGGINS LECTURES
Cover: Emancipating Lincoln: The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory, from Harvard University PressCover: Emancipating Lincoln in HARDCOVER

Emancipating Lincoln

The Proclamation in Text, Context, and Memory

Add to Cart

Product Details

HARDCOVER

$40.00 • £32.95 • €36.00

ISBN 9780674064409

Publication Date: 02/27/2012

Short

256 pages

5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches

29 halftones

The Nathan I. Huggins Lectures

World

Emancipating Lincoln seeks a new approach to the Emancipation Proclamation, a foundational text of American liberty that in recent years has been subject to woeful misinterpretation. These seventeen hundred words are Lincoln’s most important piece of writing, responsible both for his being hailed as the Great Emancipator and for his being pilloried by those who consider his once-radical effort at emancipation insufficient and half-hearted.

Harold Holzer, an award-winning Lincoln scholar, invites us to examine the impact of Lincoln’s momentous announcement at the moment of its creation, and then as its meaning has changed over time. Using neglected original sources, Holzer uncovers Lincoln’s very modern manipulation of the media—from his promulgation of disinformation to the ways he variously withheld, leaked, and promoted the Proclamation—in order to make his society-altering announcement palatable to America. Examining his agonizing revisions, we learn why a peerless prose writer executed what he regarded as his “greatest act” in leaden language. Turning from word to image, we see the complex responses in American sculpture, painting, and illustration across the past century and a half, as artists sought to criticize, lionize, and profit from Lincoln’s endeavor.

Holzer shows the faults in applying our own standards to Lincoln’s efforts, but also demonstrates how Lincoln’s obfuscations made it nearly impossible to discern his true motives. As we approach the 150th anniversary of the Proclamation, this concise volume is a vivid depiction of the painfully slow march of all Americans—white and black, leaders and constituents—toward freedom.

Recent News

Black lives matter. Black voices matter. A statement from HUP »

From Our Blog

logo of the MacArthur Foundation

Nicole Fleetwood and Monica Muñoz Martinez Awarded MacArthur Fellowships

Harvard University Press congratulates its authors Nicole Fleetwood and Monica Muñoz Martinez for being named to the 2021 class of 25 MacArthur Fellows. The prestigious no-strings-attached $625,000 awards are given to individuals “who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.”