James Oakes The Radical And The Republican

947 Words4 Pages
The Radical and the Republican by James Oakes Book Review James Oakes’ The Radical and the Republican is a thorough and captivating account of two of America’s most distinguished figures, Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas. In his intriguing and polished work, Oakes examines the issues of slavery, race, politics, and war in America during the mid-1800’s. Though both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas engendered immense social and political change throughout the Civil War era, the relationship between the two men is often neglected. Oakes argues that as America went to war with itself, Lincoln’s antislavery politics and Douglas’s abolitionism gradually converged. James Oakes vivid political analysis chronicles the transformation of two of America’s greatest leaders as Lincoln embraces the role of the “radical” and Douglas embraces the role of the “republican” (104). The Radical and the Republican is set in the Antebellum period when the United States was divided by the great struggle between liberty and slavery in the North and the South. The Antebellum Era in American history was a time of economic, political, and social change.…show more content…
Oakes’ masterful command of the broad literature of slavery, race, and the Civil War era allows him to trace the parallel journeys of two iconic American leaders. Oakes tells an absorbing and didactic story, shifting between accounts of Lincoln and Douglas and ending with their meetings in the White House. By portraying Douglas as a character of equal significance as Lincoln, Oakes not only provides insight into Douglas’s life but also enriches the study of Lincoln. The convergence of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas during the nation’s greatest crisis reveals “what can happen when progressive reformers and savvy politicians make common cause”
Open Document