Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration (Hardcover)

Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration By Harold Holzer Cover Image

Brought Forth on This Continent: Abraham Lincoln and American Immigration (Hardcover)


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From acclaimed Abraham Lincoln historian Harold Holzer, a groundbreaking account of Lincoln’s grappling with the politics of immigration against the backdrop of the Civil War.

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.
Harold Holzer is a leading authority on Abraham Lincoln and the winner of the 2015 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. Educated at the City University of New York, he served as a political campaign press secretary for Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug and Governor Mario Cuomo, and was a senior vice president at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A prolific writer and lecturer, Holzer co-chaired the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Clinton. President George W. Bush awarded Holzer the National Humanities Medal in 2008. And in 2013, Holzer wrote an essay on Lincoln for the official program at the re-inauguration of President Obama. He now serves as the director of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College and is the author, co-author, or editor of more than fifty books.

Product Details ISBN: 9780451489012
ISBN-10: 0451489012
Publisher: Dutton
Publication Date: February 13th, 2024
Pages: 464
Language: English
“As a brilliant historian with a keen sense of the passions and problems of our own time, Harold Holzer has given us a powerful and illuminating study of Abraham Lincoln and immigration—an issue of perennial significance. Like Lincoln himself, Holzer’s new book is at once timely and timeless.”
—Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer and author of the New York Times bestseller And There Was Light

"Harold Holzer has unwrapped yet another profoundly meaningful gift from Abraham Lincoln, as he has delved into Lincoln’s evolving views on immigration that reveal his unwavering moral character, as well as his pragmatism and enduring optimism for the United States. This deeply researched and beautifully written book not only breaks new ground, but the revelations come at a pivotal moment in American history when we must strive, like Lincoln, for a better future for Americans regardless of their race, religion or national origin.”
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize winner and Lincoln Prize-winning author of Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

“In the 1850s, the issue of immigration proved as divisive in American politics as the issue of slavery. Many historians have written about Lincoln's role in the latter controversy, but Harold Holzer is one of the few who has wielded his golden pen in treatment of the former, in this splendid book that also analyzes the Union president's vital role in mobilizing the foreign-born population to help win the Civil War.”
James M. McPherson, Pulitzer-Prize winning author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era and winner of the Lincoln Prize

“Harold Holzer, our most prolific chronicler of the life of Abraham Lincoln, here gives us a Lincoln with whom we are not familiar. Lincoln's political career began in the Whig and Republican parties, both of which harbored strong nativist elements.  Yet just as Lincoln's views on emancipation and Black citizenship evolved, so too did his understanding of immigrants' contributions not only to the Union war effort, but to American society more broadly. There is a lesson here for our own fraught times.”
—Eric Foner, author of The Fiery Trial, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the Lincoln Prize

“Now comes Harold Holzer with another riveting revelation of Abraham Lincoln's life and times. Between these covers lie surprise after surprise, anecdote after anecdote, episode after episode that left me thinking how little has changed in America's long debate over immigrationand how much like then it is now. You won't forget this book.”
—Bill Moyers, former White House Press Secretary and broadcast journalist

“Harold Holzer has provided an engaging and informative account of Lincoln’s decades-long struggle to strike ‘a balance between welcoming the foreign born and befriending those who despised them’ and his decision to endorse a more inclusive ‘American Dream.’”
The Florida Courier

“Lincoln scholar Holzer’s latest book again demonstrates his deftness in blending a detailed focus on part of Lincoln’s career, an explanation of how it fits into Lincoln’s life, and a political and historical backdrop… Holzer brings part of America’s past alive and shows that while modern immigrants come from different places, controversies about them are the same as generations ago.”
—Booklist, starred review

“An outstanding and important book on Lincoln and immigration. A must for readers of American history and immigration studies.”
—Library Journal

“Historian Holzer offers an elegant examination of Abraham Lincoln’s political evolution on the contentious issue of immigration… This robust and lively account makes cogent connections between history and today’s immigration policy that will resonate with a wide readership.”
—Publishers Weekly

“Readable history... Of considerable interest to students of 19th-century American history as well as of the Civil War.”