The late historian Lawrence Goodwyn thought through the legacies of Jefferson and Lincoln in the following excerpt from a 2010 interview with Jan Frel.
I had studied social movements most of my academic life, so when some kind of rhythmic popular mobilization put in an appearance in American presidential politics in 2008, I paid attention. By February, when it arrived in my neck of the woods, the Research Triangle of North Carolina, the pundits were calling it “the Obama ground game.” I signed up so I could get a close look.
I’ve been studying social movements for about 35 years and the more I study, the more I feel a distance between what I think I know and what is generally thought to be the essence of politics in this culture. And that distance keeps growing.