Lincoln and Washington: Statesmen of Racial Reconciliation - Three Lectures
Charles E. Test, M.D. '37 Distinguished Lectures Series
Diana Schaub, Professor of Political Science, Loyola University Maryland
Lecture 1: Abraham Lincoln and the Daughters of Dred Scott
The definitive refutation of the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision was delivered by Abraham Lincoln in an 1857 speech exploring the meaning of the Declaration’s principle of human equality. The lecture will highlight just how daring and original Lincoln’s approach was. No other critic of the decision even mentioned the fact that Dred Scott had daughters who, like him, would be returned to slavery. Lincoln made the fate of those daughters the crux of his critique, as he confronted the dilemma posed by “the public estimate of the Negro.”
Lecture 2: Abraham Lincoln and the “Malignant Heart”
In his Second Inaugural, Lincoln called for Americans to act “with malice toward none.” “Malice” and related words like “malicious” and “malignant” were often used by Lincoln in reference to racial prejudice. This lecture will examine how Lincoln, through his rhetoric as president, sought to secure the future of the freed people, while navigating the obstacle of malicious objections and malignant hearts.
Lecture 3: Booker T. Washington and the Lessons of Lincoln
Rising to prominence during a time of terrible troubles for African Americans, Booker T. Washington devised a strategy and a way of speaking that could reach widely different audiences, separated geographically and racially. Prudence was essential. Washington’s circumspection, which became a source of power in his situation and furthered the difficult work of racial reconciliation, later had the paradoxical effect of making it harder for succeeding generations, accustomed to a more militant style of black leadership, to see Washington’s greatness. The lecture will examine how Washington invoked Lincoln to further his own redemptive moral vision and subtle statesmanship.
Diana Schaub is Professor of Political Science at Loyola University Maryland. A past member of the Hoover Institution’s Task Force on the Virtues of a Free Society, she also served as the Garwood Teaching Fellow at Princeton University in 2011-12 and Visiting Professor of Political Theory in the Government Department at Harvard University in 2018. From 2004 to 2009 she was a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. She was the recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Letters in 2001 and is the author of Erotic Liberalism: Women and Revolution in Montesquieu’s “Persian Letters,” along with numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in the fields of political philosophy and American political thought. She is a coeditor (with Amy and Leon Kass) of What So Proudly We Hail: The American Soul in Story, Speech, and Song. She is a contributing editor of The New Atlantis and a member of the publication committee of National Affairs. Her essays and reviews have appeared in a variety of publications, among them the Claremont Review of Books, City Journal, The New Criterion, and Commentary, as well as the Weekly Standard and Public Interest. Professor Schaub is a graduate of Kenyon College and the University of Chicago.