In the three decades before the Civil War, some ten million foreign-born people settled in the United States, forever altering the nation’s demographics, culture, and—perhaps most significantly—voting patterns. America’s newest residents fueled the national economy, but they also wrought enormous changes in the political landscape and exposed an ugly, at times violent, vein of nativist bigotry.
Abraham Lincoln’s rise ran parallel to this turmoil; even Lincoln himself did not always rise above it. Tensions over immigration would split and ultimately destroy Lincoln’s Whig Party years before the Civil War. Yet the war made clear just how important immigrants were, and how interwoven they had become in American society.
Harold Holzer, winner of the Lincoln Prize, charts Lincoln’s political career through the lens of immigration, from his role as a member of an increasingly nativist political party to his evolution into an immigration champion, a progression that would come at the same time as he refined his views on abolition and Black citizenship. As Holzer writes, “The Civil War could not have been won without Lincoln’s leadership; but it could not have been fought without the immigrant soldiers who served and, by the tens of thousands, died that the ‘nation might live.’” An utterly captivating and illuminating work, Brought Forth on This Continent assesses Lincoln's life and legacy in a wholly original way, unveiling remarkable similarities between the nineteenth century and the twenty-first.
- 464 pages
- 6 x 1.16 x 9 inches
- this book is published February 13 and will not ship before that date
- by Harold Holzer