In 1858, challenger Abraham Lincoln debated incumbent Stephen Douglas seven times in the race for a U.S. Senate seat from Illinois. More was at stake than slavery in those debates. In Lincoln’s Tragic Pragmatism, literary critic John Burt contends that the very legitimacy of democratic governance was on the line. In a United States stubbornly divided even now over ethical issues, the overarching question posed by the Lincoln-Douglas debates has not lost its urgency: Can a liberal political system be used to mediate moral disputes? And if it cannot, is violence inevitable? Join us for an evening with Professor Burt as he discusses what historian Daniel Walker Howe calls “…the most profound exploration of the enduring significance of Lincoln’s rhetoric since Harry Jaffa’s classic [Crisis of the House Divided] of 1959. A magnificent achievement.”
John Burt is a professor of English at Brandeis University. He has published several books of literary criticism and collections of poetry.
John Burt is a professor of English at Brandeis University. He has published several books of literary criticism and collections of poetry.PLEASE NOTE: This event takes place ONE NIGHT ONLY on April 9th at 7:30 pm. Don't miss it!
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