Lincoln and Darwin: Shared Visions of Race, Science, and Religion

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SIU Press, Sep 20, 2010 - Biography & Autobiography - 351 pages

Born on the same day in 1809, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were true contemporaries. Though shaped by vastly different environments, they had remarkably similar values, purposes, and approaches. In this exciting new study, James Lander places these two iconic men side by side and reveals the parallel views they shared of man and God.

While Lincoln is renowned for his oratorical prowess and for the Emancipation Proclamation, as well as many other accomplishments, his scientific and technological interests are not widely recognized; for example, many Americans do not know that Lincoln is the only U.S. president to obtain a patent. Darwin, on the other hand, is celebrated for his scientific achievements but not for his passionate commitment to the abolition of slavery, which in part drove his research in evolution. Both men took great pains to avoid causing unnecessary offense despite having abandoned traditional Christianity. Each had one main adversary who endorsed scientific racism: Lincoln had Stephen A. Douglas, and Darwin had Louis Agassiz.

With graceful and sophisticated writing, Lander expands on these commonalities and uncovers more shared connections to people, politics, and events. He traces how these two intellectual giants came to hold remarkably similar perspectives on the evils of racism, the value of science, and the uncertainties of conventional religion.

Separated by an ocean but joined in their ideas, Lincoln and Darwin acted as trailblazers, leading their societies toward greater freedom of thought and a greater acceptance of human equality. This fascinating biographical examination brings the mid-nineteenth-century discourse about race, science, and humanitarian sensibility to the forefront using the mutual interests and pursuits of these two historic figures.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Origins and Education
14
2 Voyages and the Experience of Slavery
22
3 The Racial Background Personal Encounters and Turning Points in 1837
29
4 Religious Reformation
40
5 Career Preparations and Rivals 184549
58
6 Mortality Invention and Geology
66
7 Scientific Racism
76
16 Delegation and Control
177
17 The Rationality of Colonization
186
18 Colonization and Emancipation
199
19 Societies
210
20 Mill Workers and Freedmen
220
21 Testing Hopes and Hoaxes
227
22 Spiritual Forces
236
23 Meeting Agassiz
248

8 The Types of Mankind and the KansasNebraska Act 185455
87
Gallery
96
9 The Politics of Race
97
10 Campaigning 185658
107
11 Publications and Crocodiles 185960
121
12 More Debates and New Reviews
128
13 Designers and Inventors
137
14 Inventions for a Long War
152
A Chemistry Problem
162
24 The Descent of Man
259
25 An End to Religion
271
26 The Dream of Equality
279
Notes
291
Bibliography
331
Index
347
Author Bio
352
Back Cover
353
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

James Lander teaches history at TASIS American School in England. He is the author of Roman Stone Fortifications: Variation and Change from the First Century A.D. to the Fourth and Peter Labilliere: The Man Buried Upside Down on Box Hill.

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