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Lincoln RevisitedNew Insights from the Lincoln Forum$
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John Y. Simon, Harold Holzer, and Dawn Vogel

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823227365

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823227365.001.0001

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Lincoln's Political Religion and Religious Politics

Lincoln's Political Religion and Religious Politics

(p.19) CHAPTER 2 Lincoln's Political Religion and Religious Politics
Lincoln Revisited

John Y. Simon

Harold Holzer

Dawn Vogel

Fordham University Press

Abraham Lincoln's understanding of the requirements of republican government led him to direct religious sentiment toward responsible democracy or self-government. As a successful republic requires a moral or self-controlled people, he believed the religious impulse of society could help moderate the excesses of passion and self-interest in the community. As a means of achieving this social order, Lincoln promoted “support of the Constitution” and “reverence for the laws” to become what he called “the political religion of the nation.” Lincoln believed that the perpetuation of the free government established by the American Revolution depended on this almost sacred law-abidingness, and he called on both politician and preacher to promote this “political religion.” This chapter focuses on a few examples of “Lincoln's political religion and religious politics” to illustrate what he thought was a prudent connection between politics and religion.

Keywords:   Abraham Lincoln, republican government, democracy, Constitution, political religion, free government, American Revolution, religious politics, social order, self-government

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