Abraham Lincoln Religious Language

Prominent conservative intellectuals constantly debate the effects of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. On one side thinkers such as Mel Bradford and Richard Gamble believe that Lincoln set out to establish a civic religion that introduced the radical equality theory that resulted in the rise of progressivism. In response, thinkers such as Krannawitter came to Lincoln’s defense claiming that his use of religious language was merely a rhetorical tool used to unite the people after the Civil War. Though accusations of establishing a civic religion and progressivism rage around Lincoln, his defenders competently defend his legacy by proving that his use of religious language was his attempt to unify the people through a common understanding of God. …show more content…
These men believe that Lincoln used religious language in his speeches, not to establish a civic religion, but to carry on the Founder’s recognition of the importance of Scripture and unite the nation after a bloody civil war. Thomas Krannawitter claims that “Lincoln’s appeal to the divine…was no different than those made by the Founders” and that both parties understood that the “distinction between morality and immorality…is real and binding on all human beings.” Lincoln also realized that there was a limitation to human understanding, that reason cannot possibly answer everything forcing men to fall back on revelation and faith to answer the unanswerable. Therefore, Krannawitter claims that the religious language in Lincoln’s speeches was a continuation of the Founder’s tradition of using the people’s common religion as a way to motivate them to the goal of free government. His use of religious language allowed him to connect to both the victorious North and the defeated South in a way that unified them after years of being separate. Furthermore, the Civil War had religious underpinnings as church leaders from both sides claimed that God’s providence rested in their victory. However, even though Lincoln’s side won, he “discerned the hand of Providence not as a weapon to be used to strike the enemy but as a call to all Americans to come together and sin no more.” To Lincoln, the catastrophe that was the Civil War was not the doing of man but of God. Though he refused to claim definitive knowledge of God, he “placed the ultimate cause of the war not in the hands of one side but in those of an inscrutable God” that a vast majority of both sides believed in. Lincoln realized that the country was divided after the war and following the Founder’s precedent, used the peoples common faith to unite them under one banner once

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