This year's Lincoln Prize, an award honoring a scholarly text on Abraham Lincoln or the Civil War solider, was given to Eric Foner's "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery," which details Lincoln's evolving views on slavery.
While Foner, the DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University in New York, has written extensively about the period before and after the Civil War, "The Fiery Trial" was his first book on President Lincoln, according a video on Columbia University's website.
Foner's book describes Lincoln in varied manner. Foner notes Lincoln was a supporter of the Missouri compromise, the agreement that prohibited the expansion of slavery in north, but adds that he was someone who questioned social equality for blacks and was an advocate for the American Colonization Society's program to send freed slaves to colonize Liberia.
As the narrative unfolds, readers find that Lincoln was a great listener, which was what allowed for his views on slavery to shift over time. (Today's politicians may want to take note.)
Foner's "The Fiery Trial" was chosen from more than 100 submissions for the Lincoln Prize. Six other book finalists were given honorable mentions.
Foner will receive $50,000 and a replica of Augustus Saint-Gaudens' "Lincoln the Man" on May 11 during an event at the Union League Club in New York City. The Lincoln Prize is sponsored by Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History in New York.
Although the prize will be handed out in New York City, the pride that Illinois feels for Lincoln can be seen all over the prairie state's roads and highways in our blue and white license plates declaring this the "Land of Lincoln."