Book Analysis: The Radical And The Republican

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The Radical and the Republican by James Oakes is an enlightening book about Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, their different approaches, and united goal. Oakes reveals how dissimilar Douglass and Lincoln were in their views and actions, but the author also tells how both of these men influenced each other and evolved into radical Republicans in order to accomplish the abolition of slavery. Oaks clearly and soundly argues that both Lincoln became more radical and Douglass became more political in order to accomplish the complete abolition of slavery. The transformation in their way of thinking, conduct, and actions clearly show how Lincoln and Douglass became radical Republicans in the end. In the beginning, Lincoln and Douglass were extremely different people in nearly every aspect. Douglass was raised a slave, while Lincoln grew up as a free yet very poor man. Lincoln’s primary commitment was to American politics. Douglass’ life work almost solely revolved around abolition and voting rights for African-Americans. Their personalities were also extremely different (Oakes 92-93). Douglass’ impulsive and emotional inclinations were opposite of Lincoln’s logical and calm personality. Douglass supported every approach against slavery, including more violent ones like the John Brown affair (Oakes 94). Lincoln, on the other hand, called Brown a…show more content…
These differences are the very foundation for the book’s argument. After each chapter and sometimes each section, Oakes would state if this was or was not the point where Lincoln or Douglass had begun to change; this small yet significant clarification greatly aided to make this book easily comprehensible. The structure and minute details of The Radical and the Republican significantly help the clarity and understandability of the

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