Smithsonian.com features Doris Kearns Goodwin’s account of the Lincoln assassination from her bestseller Team of Rivals, along with an interactive map you can use to follow the evening’s events across Washington, D.C.
Tag Archives: Abraham Lincoln
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:
- The text of the address itself, from Basler’s Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln
- The inaugural address was actually three arguments in one, according to acclaimed Lincoln authority Harold Holzer
- Ronald White lectures on the address
- An essay by Lewis E. Lehrman
- Resources from the Library of Congress
- Eyewitness accounts of the ceremony
The U.S. Capitol will host a celebration of the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s second inaugural on March 4. Stephen Lang will deliver the same speech Lincoln wrote for his 1865 swearing-in, and the event will also feature remarks from Congressman Ray LaHood, historian Edna Greene Medford, and prominent Lincoln authority Frank J. Williams.
The newest exhibit at Lincoln Memorial University’s Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum opened this week. “Clouds and Darkness Surround Us”: The Life of Mary Todd Lincoln examines the tragic fate of Lincoln’s widow, and features original costumes from Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning film alongside additional material from the ALLM collection. This exhibit runs through November 20, 2015.
In conjunction with the exhibit, the museum is hosting a number of special events, including a screening of Spielberg’s film and presentations on the history of Lincoln in the movies. For more information about the exhibit and upcoming events, visit the ALLM website.
Harold Holzer’s latest book is Lincoln and the Power of the Press: The War for Public Opinion, which David Reynolds just reviewed for The New York Times. Here’s a sample of Reynolds’s review:
Abraham Lincoln has been portrayed in many roles — as emancipator, politician, military leader, orator, self-made man and others — but his canny manipulation of the popular press has received little attention. Harold Holzer, a prominent authority on America’s 16th president, opens many vistas on this fascinating topic in his new book, “Lincoln and the Power of the Press,” a monumental, richly detailed portrait of the world of 19th-century journalism and Lincoln’s relation to it. Holzer demonstrates that even as Lincoln juggled many war-related demands, he kept a close eye on American newspapers and tried to influence them however he could.