Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Eric Foner on Lincoln’s Failures

Question: Where did Lincoln fall short in his policies?

Foner:    There was a tendency in the Lincoln literature, unfortunately, to sort of take Lincoln as the perfect model, and therefore, anyone who criticized him must be off base.  I respect Lincoln enormously.  I also respect the abolitionists who criticized him at the beginning of the war for not taking action directly against slavery early on.  It was their pressure that forced him to move more quickly than he wanted against slavery.  So, you know, the fact that he waited two years or a year and a half should not make us just think, well, that was the only way to do it.  I think that he was too slow.  He was certainly too slow in being willing to enlist black soldiers.  Lincoln wanted to keep slavery off the political agenda for a good while in the war, and I think that was an error.  I think the abolitionists and the radical Republicans and slaves themselves understood, right at the beginning, this war is caused by slavery, and you’re never going to win this war unless you attack slavery.  So, you know, Lincoln’s timing was open to criticism, and I think he waited too long.  And then, again, Lincoln…  Now, Lincoln always said, “I’ve got to wait ‘til public opinion comes along.  I can’t go too far ahead of it.”  On the other hand, the president needs public opinion and forms and shapes public opinion, so Lincoln might have done more during the war but, you know, this is all speculation.  We don’t know what might have happened if Lincoln had taken different policies.

The author mentions how the race question was never quite solved.

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

Study details the negative environmental impact of online shopping

Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.

Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
  • Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
  • Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
Keep reading Show less

Childhood sleeping problems may signal mental disorders later in life

Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.

Personal Growth
  • We spend 40 percent of our childhoods asleep, a time for cognitive growth and development.
  • A recent study found an association between irregular sleep patterns in childhood and either psychotic experiences or borderline personality disorder during teenage years.
  • The researchers hope their findings can help identify at-risk youth to improve early intervention.
  • Keep reading Show less

    Neom, Saudi Arabia's $500 billion megacity, reaches its next phase

    Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.

    Credit: Neom
    Technology & Innovation
    • The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
    • The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
    • It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

    Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?

    Videos
    • From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
    • "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
    • Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.

    Quantcast