One reason why Lincoln has endured as Americans' prime civic icon (white Southerners having come on board in large numbers even by the late 19th century) is his straddling of the secular-religious boundary line. He can gather disciples on both sides. The 2009 commemorations will surely coincide with attempts to induct Lincoln into the ongoing American cultural tug-of-war by forcing him onto one side or the other. Pundits of faith are liable to pit a secular Darwin against a religious Lincoln. Perhaps Carwardine's book will help shield him from such treatment. The real Lincoln remains a straddler, too religious for most secularists but too fatalistic for most religionists.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Right to Run
If you can vote, you should be able to run for public office—any office.
I Went Hunting for Ebola in 2004. (What I Found Was Bats.)
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
Ben Bradlee’s Fascinating Relationship With JFK
The Simpsons World App Is Finally Here
I feel like a kid in some kind of store.
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.