From The Atlantic – 150th Anniversary Edition – The Duty to Think

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on February 8, 2012

“On the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, we present this commemorative issue featuring Atlantic stories by Mark Twain, Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, and many more.”

  • James Bennet editor of The Atlantic: “It is possible, in these pages, to enter into both the humanity of figures consecrated or condemned by history and the uncertainty the writers must have felt during the rush of events…It seemed to us that these Atlantic pieces have a way of conversing across the decades. And so in this issue, one finds Garry Wills’s account from 1992 of how Lincoln used the Gettysburg Address to reinterpret the Constitution and thereby “revolutionized the Revolution, giving people a new past to live with that would change their future indefinitely.” And then, equipped with that explication of how Lincoln purified the nation’s meaning, and with President Obama’s summation of what that meaning is, the reader can then encounter, with fresh appreciation, Lowell’s epitaph for Lincoln: “New birth of our new soil, the first American.”
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