Lincoln Memorial University and the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum will host the fourth “War in the Mountains” symposium April 17-18 as part of the ongoing commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial. This event is free, but registration is required by April 9 due to limited seating.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “Religion, Death, Martyrdom, and the Civil War.”
Warren Greer, Director of of the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail: “Action and Reaction: How Enlightenment Ideals Influenced
American Religion from the Great Awakening through the
- Dr. Michael Toomey, Associate Professor of History at Lincoln Memorial University: “Under Fire: Lincoln’s Religion and the Civil War”
- Dr. Earl Hess, Stewart W. McClelland Chair in History, Lincoln Memorial University: “Arguing Over the Civil War Death Toll: Does it Really Matter?”
- Dr. George Rable, Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History, University of Alabama: “God as General: Was There a Religious History of the American Civil War?”
This event also features a Q&A session, tours of the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum vault, and a book signing by the speakers. The sessions will be held in LMU’s Hamilton Math & Science Building, Room 100.
To register or for more information, call the museum at (423) 869-6235 or e-mail Carol Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org. The first 150 registrants will receive a free gift.
The New-York Historical Society’s newest exhibit, “Lincoln and the Jews,” is an exploration of Lincoln’s personal relationships with his Jewish contemporaries and his impact on nineteenth-century Jewish life in America. The New York Times covered the exhibit in a recent article:
“Lincoln played an important role in turning Jews from outsiders in America to insiders,” said Jonathan D. Sarna, a historian at Brandeis University and the author, with Mr. Shapell, of the new, separately published book “Lincoln and the Jews,” which inspired the show. “It’s a subject that has really been overlooked.”
Lincoln’s lifetime coincided with a dramatic increase in America’s Jewish population, which grew from about 3,000 in 1809, the year of his birth, to roughly 150,000 in 1860. Growing up in the Midwest, he probably encountered few or no Jews in person until he became a young man. But at a time when anti-Semitism and nativism ran high, the show notes, there is no evidence of Lincoln harboring any animus toward Jews.
At his blog, historian John Fea has posted a short interview with Martha Hodes about her new book Mourning Lincoln. Hodes uses contemporary letters and diaries to examine the varied ways Americans responded to Lincoln’s assassination, and how these responses reflected different visions for the country’s future in the wake of the Civil War.
Charles Francis Adams was one of many Americans who stood in front of the Capitol 150 years ago to hear Lincoln deliver his second inaugural address. “That railsplitting lawyer is one of the wonders of the day,” Adams wrote a few days later. “Once at Gettysburg and now again on a greater occasion he has shown a capacity for rising to the demands of the hour.” He believed the speech would be “for all time the historical keynote of this war.”
Lincoln himself expected his speech to “wear as well as —perhaps better than—any thing I have produced,” even though it was “not immediately popular.”
Here are a few links to help you commemorate the sesquicentennial of what historian Ronald C. White has called Lincoln’s greatest speech:
Library of Congress