Republican and the radical

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The novel 'The Progressive and the Republican' by James Oaks discusses the contradictions between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass through the freedom of slavery. It is an extremely informative and well-written book because it emphasizes the dialogue between the militant and the conversation but ultimately names them as reformers. According to the speaker, Lincoln tended to place himself as a conservative who is motivated by greater powers than any other individual. Douglass, on the other hand, saw himself as a reformer because he was still placed on America's left flank. He did this because, no matter how powerful the powers arrayed against him, he must maintain his moral high ground. This essay will give a brief description of the story of these two men and their evolution of their political beliefs. However, the article is not only a biography but a close elaboration of things Douglas and Lincoln said concerning race & slavery, war & politics and also about each other.

In 1883, Douglass also said that “A disagreeable and challenging task forces me to part with old friends and break away from the paths of the society.” This speech demonstrated Douglass ways of having perseverance through his old time friends because he knew that they would support him. Beneath the dogmatism of Douglass status raised a question as to why he settled for something that was below the equal rights. Lincoln also had the same query as it made his pragmatism to become more radical. This is because Douglass’s radicalism was more reasonable.

When we have a flashback of the thesis, more about the nature of these two individuals is even highlighted more because of their characters. For instance, the book shows how Douglass began understanding Lincoln conservatism despite the fact that he directed the presidency seat to a more radical action. It’s also seen how Douglass was passionate particularly when Lincoln was dealing with the matters of colonization. He also respected the Law that Lincoln put as much as the race prejudice guided Lincoln. As Oaks Observes, Douglass decided to shun from an extreme position because William Lloyd mentioned the constitution to be a covenant of death. Later Douglass moved into the political arena right after he had split with Garrison and joined Gerrit Smith to argue a case with the Republican Party concerning the anti-slavery document. After the death of Lincoln, Douglass was seen to admire Lincolns role because of he was a conservatism and the way he brought abolition to an end. Douglass was also seen to give out speeches by using Lincolns name as a weapon so as to bludgeon the southerners who had planned to rebuild the slave society.

The summary of this article cannot elaborate more on the brilliance of the works of Oak because everyone has to read this book so as to understand the nature and reform of the change in the civil war era. These two great men played significant roles not only by emancipating the slaves but also by saving the country from the scourge of slavery. Indeed, it is a great book because so much is learned from it particularly from the familiar stories of slavery. The book also astonishes someone because of the major errors. For instance, when Oak described the Douglass-Lincoln debate he described Lincoln’s conversations by involving his attorney general William Stanton. Oaks fairness means putting Stanton by giving him the right first name due to the good job that he is doing.

Oak also uses disputable positions of Lincoln's words like ‘I believe’ so as to mark a division the desires of Lincoln to save the Union and to free the slaves. One factor that historian failed to notice is the fact that the Union Lincoln was trying to keep was the one that was about to be extinct. The union could also not expand further due to the Republicans who controlled the hostile ideas about slavery. By laying this critiques aside, we should have a relishing thought of how gifted Oaks was with the elaboration of the fundamental roles as well as the conversation that lead a nation to its best position.


The essay shows how Douglas and Lincoln depended on each other because of the greatness and the actions they did to end slavery. Oaks also concludes in his book that Douglass was no longer a voice of wilderness but a Republican Party active member. As earlier seen, Douglass invoked the authority from Lincoln because he wanted to challenge the accommodation drift to the south. Lincoln and Douglass were also seen to have a personal relationship as also stated at the beginning of the essay. Before the death of Lincoln, they had a meeting that encouraged great friendship between them. Nevertheless, the book also shows how Douglass used Lincolns name as a tactic of showing his agenda when he was in the Republic plan. This invocation also shows us the more about the allure on the myth of Lincoln being more than Douglass. The same might be criticized by saying that the remarks Douglass made were more prejudice because it characterized the majority of the white people during the slavery era. This makes memories to have the needs of serving the current time.


Douglass, F. (2007). Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Simon and Schuster.

Richard Beeman, S. B. (2013). Beyond Confederation: Origins of the Constitution and American National Identity. UNC Press Books.

Steven F. Freeman, J. B. (2011). Abraham Lincoln Quotes About Slavery (Including Sources). Seven Stories Press.

July 24, 2021

History Literature

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