Friday, August 12, 2011

Comparing Barack Obama and James Buchanan

Prof. Tim Burke of Swarthmore draws really interesting comparisons between Barack Obama and James Buchanan, the US President just before Lincoln, post:
The basic error was that Buchanan approached American politics in procedural or legal terms at a moment when the reigning political conflicts in American life were no longer in any sense shaped or resolved by procedural or legal processes. He waited passively for legal decisions to determine his course of action, and when the Dred Scott decision dropped in his lap, he regarded that as the end of the matter. Open conflict in Kansas baffled him, and again he turned to a safely procedural answer (advocating that Kansas enter the Union as a slave state).

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