For Abraham Lincoln, the victory at Gettysburg appeared almost as a ratification of the Declaration of Independence and its principles.
Author: Allen C. Guelzo (Allen C. Guelzo)
For decades, both First Things and National Review have struggled to make as much peace as possible between two uncongenial streams of conservative thinking and praxis. That their editors have now planted their feet decisively in one of those streams marks an important moment in the history of American conservatism.
War has the complexity of most of the human condition—so complex, indeed, that it often behaves like a force of nature, but with a human face. And that renders the question of determining the justice of a war a little like determining the justice of a tornado.
There was an opportunity in 1787 to have torn up slavery by its roots, and that opportunity was missed. But the missing came as much through overconfidence that the march of opinion would wipe out slavery on its own, and as much through the miscalculations of political compromise, as through any conscious policy to foster or promote slavery.