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Ill Literacy, Episode XXIV: The Crooked Path to Abolition (Guest: James Oakes)

January 25, 2021

In Episode XXIV of Ill Literacy, Tim Benson talks with James Oakes about his new book, "The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution."

Heartland’s Tim Benson is joined by James Oakes of Graduate Center of the City University of New York to discuss his new book, The Crooked Path to Abolition: Abraham Lincoln and the Antislavery Constitution. They chat about the intellectual and legal wrangling between those who believed the Constitution was “anti-slavery” and those who believed it “pro-slavery.” They also discuss the development of the “antislavery project,” and how Abraham Lincoln and abolitionists undermined slavery wherever the Constitution gave them the power to do so. They delve into the racial ideology of the Republican Party at the time, Lincoln’s pessimism over race relations, and briefly discuss the 1619 Project and the 1776 Commission.

Get the book here:

Show Notes:

Lapham’s Quarterly: James Oakes – A Constitution of Freedom

Literary Hub: James Oakes – On Abraham Lincoln’s Convoluted Plan For the Abolition of Slavery

New York Times: Gordon S. Wood – Was the Constitution a Pro-Slavery Document?

USA Today: David Holahan – ‘Crooked Path to Abolition' review: How Lincoln, an antislavery moderate, abolished slavery

Wall Street Journal: Adam Rowe – ‘The Crooked Path to Abolition’ Review: Strategy and Secession

Washington Post: Elizabeth R. Varon – Working to end slavery, Lincoln found power — and limits — in the Constitution

Article Tags
Constitutional Reform
Tim Benson joined The Heartland Institute in September 2015 as a policy analyst in the Government Relations Department. @BenceAthwart