Lincoln the white supremacist or Lincoln “The Great Emancipator”?

In the documentary Looking for Lincoln, writer Lerone Bennett, Jr. recalls his disillusionment with “The Great
Emancipator” who’d been his childhood hero, citing Lincoln’s proposed “compromise” solution to slavery (which
had involved the deportation of slaves to colonies in Panama and Liberia) and Lincoln’s failure to contribute
anything to the Abolitionist cause prior to the Civil War. Historian David Blight, however, reminds us that it is
our own task to define “what is worth remembering” about Lincoln’s story.
Historian Lerone Bennett, Jr. has come to the conclusion that “you can’t defend Abraham Lincoln without
defending slavery.” Meanwhile, historian David Blight observes that “in order to remember the redemptive,
progressive Lincoln, we have to forget about what he said…about racial inequality.” Do you agree with either
(or both) of these views, why or why not? How can both sides of Lincoln co-exist in our understanding of him?
Cite from the documentary film according to MLA formatting for time-based media sources.
What is the familiar, traditional—and incorrect—perception of Lincoln’s role in freeing the slaves? What was
Lincoln’s great fear in issuing an executive order freeing the slaves? Cite from the documentary film according
to MLA formatting for time-based media sources.
Why did Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation NOT free the slaves in the slaveholding border states still loyal
to the Union? Cite from the documentary film according to MLA formatting for time-based media sources.
Personal Reflection: Do you believe that Lincoln’s views on slavery changed because of moral or political
reasons, why or why not? And, more importantly for how he his historicized, commemorated publicly, and
taught in schools, do you think Lincoln merits the heroic remembrance as “The Great Emancipator” that he’s
traditionally been accorded by the African American community, why or why not? You do not have to cite for
this answer.

Sample Solution

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