The Declaration’s dual traditions

From Crooked Timber, a seminar on Danielle Allen’s Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Danielle Allen on the Declaration’s dual traditions: Broad equality, and equality for whites. Dylan Matthews on three reasons the American Revolution was a mistake. Ian C. Bartrum (UNLV): James Wilson and the Moral Foundations of Popular Sovereignty. Peter Manseau on how a Christian Congress embraced Jefferson’s “atheistical” library: Two centuries ago, a religiously uniform legislature planted the seed for a wide-ranging Library of Congress. In fighting Andrew Jackson, Jeremiah Evarts rewrote the rules for political activism. Apparently, even worse than acknowledging that slaves and conquered Native Americans had it tough is acknowledging that they had feelings and human interactions at all — but Roy Odroso somehow misses Daniel Henninger’s coup de horseshit. John R. Coyne reviews Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Shaped America, from Jefferson to Reagan by Garland S. Tucker.

From the New York Times Magazine, building the first slavery museum in America: In Louisiana, a wealthy white lawyer has spent 15 years turning the Whitney Plantation into a museum dedicated to telling the story of slavery. Margaret Biser: “I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery”. Revisiting the Emancipation Proclamation after reading Edna Greene Medford’s Lincoln and Emancipation is a remarkable experience — a revelation of how deliberate, even strategic, its lawyerly ineloquence really was. A review of Lincoln’s Political Thought by George Kateb. Michael Stokes Paulsen (St. Thomas) and Luke Paulsen (Princeton): The Great Interpreter. So, is there anything left to write about Lincoln? After 15,000 books, authors scrounge for new angles on the 150th anniversary of his assassination. Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? Because our textbooks and monuments are wrong. Tony Horowitz on how the South lost the war but won the narrative.