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Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream
is a book by the African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...
scholar and historian, Lerone Bennett, Jr.
Lerone Bennett, Jr. is an African-American scholar, author and social historian, known for his revisionist analysis of race relations in the United States. His works include "When the Wind Blows" and "History of Us".-Biography:...
, published in 2000. It attacks Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...
and claims that his reputation as the "Great Emancipator" is undeserved.
Historian Brian Dirck states that "Few Civil War scholars take Bennett ... seriously, pointing to ... [his] narrow political agenda and faulty research." Bennett's critics believe that he ignored Lincoln's political and moral growth during the Civil War and oversimplified the complexities of the times on issues of race. They disagreed with Bennett over his failure to recognize that Lincoln was instrumental in creating the framework that brought freedom to slaves in the United States.
The introduction to the book says, "[Bennett's] basic idea of the book is simple: Everything you think you know about Lincoln and race is wrong. Every schoolchild, for example, knows the story of 'the great emancipator' who freed Negroes with a stroke of the pen out of the goodness of his heart. The real Lincoln ... was a conservative politician who said repeatedly that he believed in white supremacy. Not only that: He opposed the basic principle of the Emancipation Proclamation until his death and was literally forced - Count Adam Gurowski said he was literally whipped - 'into the glory of having issued the Emancipation Proclamation,' which Lincoln drafted in such a way that it did not in and of itself free a single slave."
The book is dedicated to individuals whom Bennett calls "the real abolitionists", including Frederick Douglass
Frederick Douglass was an American social reformer, orator, writer and statesman. After escaping from slavery, he became a leader of the abolitionist movement, gaining note for his dazzling oratory and incisive antislavery writing...
, Thaddeus Stevens
Thaddeus Stevens , of Pennsylvania, was a Republican leader and one of the most powerful members of the United States House of Representatives...
and Wendell Phillips
Wendell Phillips was an American abolitionist, advocate for Native Americans, and orator. He was an exceptional orator and agitator, advocate and lawyer, writer and debater.-Education:...
. In the dedication, he praises them for "forc[ing] Lincoln into glory."
The 1988 alternate history novel "Fire on the Mountain" takes a similar view of Lincoln.
- Bennett, Jr., Lerone. Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream. Johnson Publishing Company, 2000. ISBN 0-87485-085-1 (paperback, 2000).