On July 24, John Burt visits to discuss “Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism: Lincoln, Douglas, and Moral Conflict,” which the New York Times calls “a work that every serious student of Lincoln will have to read.” It presents a new interpretation of the Lincoln-Douglas debates by exploring Douglas’ fundamental principle that war must be avoided, even if it meant expanding slavery, and Lincoln’s principle that slavery must be contained and, in the long run, abolished.
Burt, a poet and literature professor at Brandeis University, spent 26 years writing the book. He presents an unusually nuanced view of Stephen Douglas’ position that the future of slavery should be decided by popular vote.
The events begin with a book-signing at 6 p.m., followed by the speech at 6:30. Tickets are free but must be reserved in advance. Visit www.presidentlincoln.illinois.gov and click on “special event tickets and reservations.”