Learning from Lincoln's Wisdom

He saw how time erodes the memory of our battles against tyranny. Are we ignoring the lessons now?

Alfred Eisenstadt / Time & Life Pictures / Getty

Scaffolding around the head of Abraham Lincoln only partially sculptured during Mt. Rushmore Monument construction.

In the old days, historians--at least some of them--were patriotic and moralistic. No longer. We live in what Andrew Ferguson, in his brilliant new book, Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe's America, calls "a wised-up era." Now, Ferguson explains, "skepticism about the country, its heroes and its history" is "a mark of worldliness and sophistication." Ferguson is himself a worldly and sophisticated observer of contemporary America. (Full disclosure: he also happens to be a colleague of mine at the Weekly Standard.) But his guided tour of the often amusing, sometimes bizarre ways we remember Lincoln today leads us gently from being wised-up...

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