Harry V. Jaffa, Rest in Peace

I was so sorry to hear of the death of Harry Jaffa, author of Crisis of the House Divided, one of the most important books on Lincoln ever written. Jaffa was one of the central figures in my book, of course, but more significantly I think he was the man responsible for re-articulating the idea that the Civil War may well have been unavoidable (there were real issues at stake, after all) and that conservatives should embrace rather than reject Lincoln. He waged a lonely war in the pages of National Review during the 1960s (largely with the libertarian writer Frank Meyer) and, I think, convinced conservatives to rethink their traditional hostility to Lincoln. I have little to add to what some others have said except to say that I think the best tribute to this man’s life is simply to read his great work, Crisis, on the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

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