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Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream

Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream, commonly abbreviated to the title Forced into Glory is a controversial work by the African American scholar and historian, Lerone Bennett, Jr.. It attacks Abraham Lincoln and claims that his reputation as the "Great Emancipator" is undeserved. The book has been criticized by contemporary historians who believe that Bennett ignored Lincoln's political and moral growth during the Civil War and oversimplified the complexities of the times. Historians had already demonstrated in numerous accounts that Lincoln shared many of the racial attitudes of his time. They disagreed with Bennett over his failure to recognize Lincoln's growth in office.

The introduction to the book states that "[Lerone Bennett]'s basic idea of the book is simple: Everything you think you know about Lincoln and race is wrong. Every schoolchild, for example, knows the story of "the great emancipator" who freed Negroes with a stroke of the pen out of the goodness of his heart. The real Lincoln...was a conservative politician who said repeatedly that he believed in white supremacy. Not only that: He opposed the basic principle of the Emancipation Proclamation until his death and was literally forced- Count Adam Gurowski said he was literally whipped- "into the glory of having issued the Emancipation Proclamation," which Lincoln drafted in such a way that it did not in and of itself free a single slave."

The book is dedicated to individuals whom Bennett calls "the real abolitionists", including Frederick Douglass, Thaddeus Stevens and Wendell Phillips. In the dedication, he praises them for "forc[ing] Lincoln into glory".

Publishing information

  • Bennett, Jr., Lerone; ''Forced into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream;;; Johnson Publishing Company; ISBN 0-87485-085-1 (paperback, 2000)


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