Book analyzes math in speeches of Lincoln, Obama
By Linda Girardi For The Beacon-News July 13, 2012 5:54PM
Authors David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften sign copies of their book, “Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason,” Nov. 16 at the Gettysburg Battlefield National Park Bookstore. | Submitted
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Dan Van Haften’s book, “Abraham
Lincoln and the Structure of Reason,”
Updated: August 18, 2012 6:06AM
Batavia author Dan Van Haften would like more people to read the speeches of past and present.
The co-author’s first book titled “Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason,” released in 2010, is a study of how the 16th U.S. president had a system for structuring his speeches based on his knowledge of ancient Greek math.
“There have been thousands of books written on Lincoln that talk about his speeches — we wanted to figure out how he made his arguments,” Van Haften said.
“When we set out to write a book about Lincoln as a lawyer, we found he had a system. It really is a wonderful system — it allows you to present a persuasive argument in the best possible way.”
Van Haften said he sent the book to members of the U.S. Supreme Court and the White House library. In 2011, he began hearing how President Barack Obama’s speeches were incorporating Euclid’s “six elements” for establishing a proposition: enunciation, exposition, specification, construction, proof and conclusion.
Van Haften, a retired telecommunications engineer and mathematician, along with Des Moines, Iowa, lawyer David A. Hirsch, recently released an e-book titled, “Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason,” published by Savas Beatie Publishing. Hirsch said he analyzed 70 of Obama’s speeches, 34 of them are in the book.
“You may agree or disagree with some of President Obama’s positions, but he is presenting a logical argument for his positions, and Lincoln did the same thing,” Van Haften said.
Van Haften said Lincoln had “the best sound bites of all time” without even trying, because the structure is self-organizing and it allows time to polish the language.
“People should start reading the speeches — we want to encourage more logical discussions of the issues,” the author said.
Both transcripts and videos of speeches are posted on their website at www.the
Van Haften said there’s only one sentence where Lincoln can be corrected in the Gettysburg Address: “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here…”
“We remember — it’s the most famous speech in American history,” Van Haften said.