“I do not seek applause, nor to amuse the people, I want to convince them.” —Abraham Lincoln
2016 Dan Van Haften seven minute interview on Public Radio.
2011 Dan Van Haften Chicago WGN Radio 720, "The Sunday Papers", book discussion with Rick Kogan.
2011 David Hirsch Speech at National Archives II (video).
2010 Virtual Book Signing™ at the Abraham Lincoln Book Shop (video).
Discussion Questions for Lincoln Book
Below are questions you might want to consider while reading the book. In addition to being suitable for book-club discussion, they can be used individually to focus on key issues. After reading the book, feel free to email your thoughts on any of the questions below to the authors: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. We are particularly interested in how the book affected your perspective.
1. If Abraham Lincoln had written a book explaining his use of the six elements of a proposition in speech and writing, how would the world be different today?
2. One hundred years from now, what effect will the knowledge of Lincoln's Euclidean technique have on the world? How may the world change from the effect of 100 years of open knowledge of Lincoln's use of the six elements of a proposition?
3. If Lincoln had never lived (or his Euclidean technique never revealed), and you were in a profession or situation where the technique would be useful, and you figured it out, would you reveal the technique, or keep it proprietary for your own use? Why?
4. What can be learned from Lincoln’s self-education that you can apply to yourself, to your family, or to your friends?
5. When you studied geometry in school, did you learn about the six elements of a proposition? Was this good or bad?
6. In what situations can you use Lincoln’s technique to compose persuasive written or oral speech?
7. In what situations can you use Lincoln’s technique to analyze other people’s speeches or writings?
8. What areas of discourse today would benefit from more logical discussion as exemplified by Abraham Lincoln’s speeches?
9. What is the most important thing you learned about the American legal system from the book?
10. Do you think Lincoln was more outstanding in his technique as a lawyer or as a politician?
11. Do you think Lincoln recognized the six elements of a proposition in the Declaration of Independence? Why or why not?
12. How many Lincoln speeches had you read in their entirety before you read this book?
What is the favorite Lincoln speech you read for the first time while reading this book, and why is it your favorite?
13. How do you see the Euclidean process used in the world of science and engineering? How does this compare with how it could be used in human, social, and political arenas (areas sometimes referred to as the soft sciences)?
14. Is a "demonstration" the same thing as a "proof". If not, what is the difference?
15. Was Lincoln aware of his sleight of hand in the first portion of the Cooper Union speech? What supports your position?
16. How do you think Lincoln might have defended his sleight of hand in the first portion of the Cooper Union speech, had he been confronted with it?
17. If Lincoln had not been assassinated, do you think he would have revealed the details of his Euclidean technique for persuasive speaking and writing? What supports your conclusion?
18. After reading Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, if you needed a lawyer, and Abraham Lincoln were available, in what kinds of situations would you want Lincoln as your lawyer? Why?
19. After reading Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, if you needed a lawyer, and Abraham Lincoln were available, in what kinds of situations would you not want Lincoln as your lawyer? Why?Events
20. What would Abraham Lincoln think of: http://www.saylor.org/
How might such a site have helped him? How might it have hurt him?
21. How does understanding Abraham Lincoln as a lawyer help with understanding Abraham Lincoln generally?