Some historians contend that in prosecuting the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln played fast and loose with civil liberties.
Mark E. Neely, author of the new book Lincoln and the Triumph of a Nation, examines that controversy on Thursday, July 26, 2012, at 6:30 p.m. at the Plaza Branch, 4801 Main St.
Neely, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Fate of Liberty: Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties, contends that Lincoln's nationalism was not necessarily dangerous to the Constitution and the liberties it protects. It was hardly the 'near-pathological' variety driven by fear and hatred. There was no cult of personality, no attempt to vastly increase the power of the presidency, none of the usual evidence of dictatorship.
Lincoln's view of the Constitution was colored by his desire for national economic growth and federally supported internal improvements, and by his anti-slavery sentiments. According to Neely, those nationalist principles held by Lincoln well before becoming president, required a broad interpretation of the Constitution that also was well suited to tolerate wartime stresses.
Neely is McCabe-Greer Professor of Civil War History at Pennsylvania State University.
Admission is free. A 6 p.m. reception precedes the event. RSVP online  or call 816.701.3407.
The event is part of the Hail to the Chiefs series on the American Presidency co-presented by the Kansas City Public Library and the Truman Library Institute and co-sponsored by KCUR's Up to Date.