NPR Interviews Eric Foner

I spent the summer in the company of Abraham Lincoln, or at least it felt that way. Consequently, there isn’t a lot to be gleaned from this interview with Eric Foner, but for those who haven’t immersed themselves in Lincolnia lately, it’s worth a look:

“Almost from the very beginning of the Civil War, the federal government had to start making policy and they said, ‘Well, we’re going to treat these people as free. We’re not going to send them back into the slave-holding regions,'” Foner says. “And the Army opened itself up to the enlistment of black men. And by the end of the Civil War, 200,000 black men had served in the Union Army and Navy. And envisioning blacks as soldiers is a very, very different idea of their future role in American society. It’s the black soldiers and their role which really begins as the stimulus in Lincoln’s change [with regard to] racial attitudes and attitudes toward America as an interracial society in the last two years of his life.”

Leave a Reply