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Analysis Of The Radical And The Republican

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29 August 2016

The Radical and the Republican by James Oakes

James Oakes’ The Radical and the Republican narrated the relationship between two of America’s greatest leaders: Frederick Douglass, the “radical” abolitionist, and Abraham Lincoln, the “Republican” politician. He did an astonishing job of demonstrating the commonalities between the views of Douglass and Lincoln, but also their differences on their stance of anti-slavery politics and abolitionism. Despite being on the same side of the argument of slavery, Douglass and Lincoln went about their opinions separately. Lincoln held a more patient and orthodox stance on anti-slavery, while Douglass was proven to be obstinate and direct with
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At the beginning of Abraham Lincoln’s political career, he appeared more reserved and Douglass the exact opposite. As The Radical and the Republican progresses chapter after chapter, encounter after encounter, Douglass and Lincoln eventually swap muses. Lincoln becomes the emancipator, and Douglass becomes the logistics, as opposed to Lincoln relying on conservatism and Douglass on radicalism. Their goal for a slave-free and equality future left them with no choice other than to collaborate. Although their work together was somewhat brief, many believe Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln left the most apparent impact on America’s history as a…show more content…
. .’, concludes James Oakes’ book with the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln’s assassination. Oakes discussed the respect Douglass gathered for Lincoln over the years and the affect his assassination had on both himself and America as a whole. Oakes even brushed over Douglass’ relationship with Andrew Johnson, the president succeeding Lincoln. Analyzing his experience with the new president, it was safe to say that Andrew Johnson had no consideration as to what Douglass and Lincoln previously fought for. Johnson did not have the same political skills as Lincoln did, and he did not retain the same view for America that Lincoln did. It was obvious that Douglass held Lincoln at a higher standard than Andrew Johnson, stating that he was a “progressive man, a humane man, an honorable man, and at heart an anti-slavery man” (p. 269). Oakes even gave his own stance on Andrew Jackson, “It was a legacy that Andrew Johnson could ever match. When all of Lincoln’s attributes were taken into consideration - his ascent from the obscurity to greatness, his congenial temperament, his moral courage - it was easy for Douglass to imagine how much better things would be ‘had Mr. Lincoln been living today’.” (p. 262). It is hard to imagine the pre-war Douglass to have said something like that as opposed to an older, much more reserved Douglass. With the abolishment of slavery, so came much discrimination. Without