When Barack Obama took office as president, many people compared him to the man who ended slavery in the US—Abraham Lincoln. Both men, says historian Eric Foner, were moving orators, rising to prominence through their powerful speeches, and both presidents came to office at a time of great national division. But whereas Lincoln actually appreciated critique, Foner notes, despite Obama’s calls for progressives to hold him accountable, the president doesn’t seem to actually like what that entails.

What else could Obama learn from Lincoln? What could we? Eric Foner explains the lessons he learned while writing his upcoming book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.

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