Stephen A.Douglas

Stephen A.Douglas

3.62 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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Product details

  • Hardback | 1004 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 53.34mm | 1,360.77g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Fr.Ill.
  • 0195016203
  • 9780195016208

Review Text

An admirably thorough, eminently researched, rigorously fairminded, but essentially sympathetic political biography of Stephen A. Douglas, a Little Giant during his time and now widely neglected, a figure long vitiated by the historical failure of the pragmatism he espoused and obscured by the dominating personality and success of his principal rival, Abraham Lincoln. The Johannsen portrait is hereby welcomed as a major contribution to the Douglas literature. The career - from ambitious Illinois judge to U.S. Senator to leader of his party and its presidential candidate in 1860 - is described largely in terms of Douglas' prevailing Jacksonian philosophy and the major issues he confronted, letting the chips of compromise fall where they may. For example, Prof. Johannsen (Univ. of Illinois) refuses the temptation to criticize Douglas' stance on Dred Scott, merely noting that "he persuaded himself that the decision and popular sovereignty were not incompatible, however, he convinced few others," going on to quote the unflattering contemporary opinion, including Lincoln's charge of "counterfeit logic." But Prof. Johannsen's preface makes it dear where his heart is; Douglas was "Young America personified, a representative man in the Emersonian sense"; yes, Douglas was a compromiser, but he was "also a man of principle." In no sense a popular rendering, this life is for students of the man, his modus operandi, and the tumultous period in which he lived. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

16 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 31% (5)
4 31% (5)
3 19% (3)
2 6% (1)
1 12% (2)
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