Hat tip to Kevin Levin at Civil War Memory
“We know where he ends up, we know he ends up emancipating slaves, but Lincoln doesn’t know that… Lincoln’s capacity for growth is the essence of his greatness… He didn’t mind being criticized.” [Eric Foner on Lincoln]
Foner here in this interview is particularly enlightening on the practice of history and what makes for a good historian. Compare what he says with what many critics of academic historians say about the practice of history, for example Foner thinks that one’s personal values, and a commitment to historical change actually make for good historical practice. He is also critical of Obama’s prickliness toward his critics, and contrasts this with Lincoln’s openness to criticism, especially from the more radical members of his party.