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Extra info for Abraham Lincoln and American political religion
This book would not exist without the encouragement and assistance of Professor Richard Cox of the State University of New York at Buffalo. A friend and former colleague, he has shown me in deed the meaning of those words. Page ix Preface Several generations have passed since Woodrow Wilson wrote in 1885 that . . we of the present generation are in the first season of free, outspoken, unrestrained constitutional criticism. We are the first Americans to hear our own countrymen ask whether the Constitution is still adapted to serve the purposes for which it was intended.
Although the Zorach and Abington cases differ in their conclusions and in their contentions about the place of religion in American life, they agree in how the issue should be framed. Both agree that the problem is one of the degree of accommodation to be accorded private religious desires and practices. Justice Douglas asserts that our institutions presuppose a Supreme Being, but he discusses only the accommodation of private desires and needs. Neither opinion raises directly the question of the public good involved.
Lincoln saw that there were opposing dangers for the United States: either that people would forsake the principle of justice upon which the United States was Page xiii founded and which made it worth preserving; or that the people, acting on principle, would become a fanatical, mob-like beast deaf to the voice of prudence. His political religion is an attempt to steer the United States between this Scylla and Charybdis. The problem that Lincoln faced, as well as the solution he crafted, remains with us today and calls for no less thought than it did a century ago.
Abraham Lincoln and American political religion by Glen E. Thurow