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Lincoln, Abraham (1809–1865)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN's liberalism most clearly revealed itself in his belief that the federal government had an obligation to promote certain ideals in order to preserve republican government. His ideas on the role of government in its citizens' lives preceded that of the Progressives and Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal. Central to this ideology was faith in the individual, faith that, if all artificial barriers were removed and equal opportunity was fully employed, all Americans could experience unmitigated economic and social success. Lincoln revered the accomplishments of the founding fathers and marveled at the genius of the Constitution, but he also firmly believed that Americans could surpass the achievements of their ancestors by addressing the institution of slavery in a way that the founding fathers had felt ...

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