Cover image for Why Lincoln matters : today more than ever
Why Lincoln matters : today more than ever
Cuomo, Mario M., 1932-2015.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando : Harcourt, [2004]

Physical Description:
183 pages ; 22 cm
Lincoln as political scripture -- Lincoln's wisdom for today -- Today's America : an unfinished work -- America's global role -- Toward a better America -- What would Lincoln say? -- War -- Liberties -- The role of government -- Opportunity -- Global interdependence -- Religion -- The supreme court -- Race -- Epilogue : Lincoln "among us" -- Abraham Lincoln's address to Congress -- Annual message to Congress 2004.
Added Author:
Format :


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Material Type
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E457.2 .C945 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E457.2 .C945 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
E457.2 .C945 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
E457.2 .C945 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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Abraham Lincoln, long the most resonant voice of American political values, was a founding member of the Republican Party. In today's charged political climate, he would be hard-pressed to recognize the issues in the contemporary GOP, argues Mario Cuomo, former governor of New York and a gifted political philosopher.

Challenged by slavery, secession, and war, Lincoln was able to forcefully articulate the values and ideals that have sustained our country since its inception. His speeches, writings, and actions melded the Constitution, the Bible, and his own experience into an American scripture that inspires faith in the future

Mario Cuomo shows how the big issues - equality, the role of government, war and peace, the responsibilities of the fortunate few - resonate in today's political climate as he brings to life the contemporary relevance of Lincoln's message for today's hot-button issues. Today's political discourse often lacks depth and wisdom, but Mario Cuomo's analysis of Abraham Lincoln will inspire readers to believe that government can still be a force for greater good in American society.

Author Notes

Mario M. Cuomo served three terms as governor of the state of New York. A New York City native, he attended St. John's University for his B.A. and his LL.B. The author of several books, he is now a partner at the law firm Willkie, Farr & Gallagher

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

This distinguished politician, a three-term governor of New York, raises his eloquent voice here, not in a shout but in a song--to celebrate the political wisdom demonstrated repeatedly and resonantly by our sixteenth president. Cuomo presents what his own extensive reading of Lincoln's collected writings have taught him about his hero's thoughts on a variety of topics at issue back in Lincoln's time and now of current public concern, such as war, civil rights, religion, and race. Further, and more to the specific point of his book, Cuomo issues a strongly stated admonition for both political parties to refrain from simply laying claim to Lincoln as the spokesperson of their ideals and instead to conscientiously use his political and social concepts not for show but as guidance for formulating a policy for the direction in the world the U.S. should be taking in these confusing times. As he sees it, we hunger for larger, better answers than we are receiving from our leaders. Patriotic without being schmaltzy, Cuomo packs a high thought-per-page ratio into his book, which every concerned citizen should examine. --Brad Hooper Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this heartfelt moral tract about the state of the nation and the challenges confronting it, former New York governor and sometime presidential aspirant Cuomo argues that the nation needs "an overarching grand concept" and "a vision worthy of the world's greatest nation." Cuomo finds them in the words and endeavors of our 16th president. The Rail Splitter's life and moral strength are, he believes, especially relevant today, when, says the author, we've wandered from our truest paths and no longer follow the best angels of our nature. Cuomo would have us adopt public policies, both domestic and international, that are "more compassionate," "more generous" and "more inclusive." If this seems like a Democrat's agenda, it is but a centrist Democrat who, while candidly acknowledging that he hopes people will consider what he says in preparation for the 2004 election, is not sharply critical of the Republicans. Cuomo even offers an imagined address that Lincoln, if alive, would deliver to Congress this year. The problem is that while Cuomo clearly admires Lincoln, it's not self-evident why Lincoln's wisdom, laid out here effectively if tendentiously, is any more apposite to today's issues than, say, Washington's leadership, Jefferson's ideals or FDR's efforts to create international order. One could just as well take as a life motto Lincoln's celebrated admonition that "we must disenthrall ourselves" and that each generation must follow its own way and not one laid down in the past. So one comes away from this book modestly educated about Lincoln, nicely uplifted by Cuomo's intentions, but confused about why, precisely, Lincoln should be our guide. Agent, Elaine Markson Literary Agency. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Cuomo, a three-term governor of New York, shares here his lifelong admiration of Abraham Lincoln by relating Lincoln's discourse and political vision to 2004. Although they claim the same Republican Party label, President Lincoln has little in common with President Bush, says the author. Lincoln would fault Bush for his preemptive Iraqi War; instead, Lincoln would have remained in Afghanistan until Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were rooted out. He would also challenge Bush's economic policies, which have resulted in fewer jobs, higher deficits, and huge tax cuts for the rich, and his foreign policies, which show little respect for countries that do not support American actions. Lincoln is faulted for suspending habeas corpus during the Civil War, and Bush is criticized for the severity of the USA Patriot Act. Conjecture about how Lincoln would manage the challenges confronting Bush and the inclusion of Cuomo's views mixed with Lincoln's make for an unfocused book. Public libraries should wait for requests before buying. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/04.]-Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Lincoln as Political Scripturethe year was 1992. The scene was the Republican National Convention in Houston, Texas. Republicans were about to renominate President George Bush for a second term and then return home to try convincing American voters that the nation's economic recession had little to do with the Republican Party, its philosophy, or its standard-bearer. The task must have seemed daunting. In the end it proved impossible, but for one brief moment the goal seemed within their grasp. That was when the much-loved former president, Ronald Reagan, arrived at the speaker's rostrum to rouse the faithful to a renewed dedication to modern Republican ideals.He did so by invoking the name of Lincoln. Exhuming a credo that President Reagan told us had been "so eloquently stated" by Lincoln generations earlier, the fortieth president quoted what he described as four of Lincoln's most appealing maxims. Here was a hallowed set of principles, Reagan declared, that had stood the test of time and deserved to be recalled and repeated again and again to fortify America against a resurgent liberalism. To some people listening to Reagan that night, the phrases must have seemed crafted to rebut with uncanny specificity the rise of Governor William Jefferson Clinton of Arkansas. As the newly anointed Democratic challenger to twelve consecutive years of Republican White House rule and leading in all the public-opinion polls, Clinton posed a formidable threat to Reagan's conservative revolution. Now Reagan summoned all of his rhetorical gifts to remind the hundreds of delegates packing the convention hall and the tens of millions more watching on television that another Republican, Abraham Lincoln, had once wisely offered the following timeless truths:You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.You cannot help the poor man by destroying the rich.You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.The convention floor erupted in waves of applause. TV cameras captured the faces of emotional delegates whose nods of assent evidenced the deep understanding and gratitude one feels upon hearing a revered pastor deliver a grand sermon. Reagan had resurrected a tablet of political commandments more prescient and eloquent than any arid Republican Party platform or windy acceptance speech. No one had ever said it better than the Great Emancipator as revivified by the Great Communicator. It was a magical combination. As politics and performance, even liberal Democrats admitted that it was good.As it turned out, it was indeed too good to be true.6 In fact, Lincoln had never uttered a word of it. The lines turned out to be the work of an obscure German-born, Brooklyn-ordained minister named William John Henry Boetcker, and they dated back to only 1916-fifty-one years after Lincoln's death. That year, Boetcker published a tract entitled Lincol Excerpted from Why Lincoln Matters: Wise Answers to Today`s Tough Political Questions by Mario M. Cuomo All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 1
Lincoln as Political Scripturep. 13
Lincoln's Wisdom for Todayp. 24
Today's America: An Unfinished Workp. 32
America's Global Rolep. 39
Toward a Better Americap. 46
What Would Lincoln Say?
Warp. 60
Civil Libertiesp. 76
The Role of Governmentp. 87
Opportunityp. 99
Global Interdependencep. 115
Religionp. 128
The Supreme Courtp. 140
Racep. 154
"Abraham Lincoln's" 2004 Address to Congressp. 166
Acknowledgmentsp. 179