Today through March 22. Select documents on loan from the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library are now on exhibit at the Smithsonian: National Museum of American History.
America's New Birth of Freedom online exhibit is nicely done. The exhibit includes links to PDF copies of documents, including a signed copy of the Emancipation Proclamation, and other new media features.
The spoils of war in 1848, and a $15 million payment,
meant that Mexico lost nearly half its territory. To some in the United
States, Mexico had dumped its useless wasteland and the U.S. had been
duped into paying for it. But to most, the acquisition of the Mexican
territory was the culmination of Manifest Destiny--the fulfillment of
the expansion across the North American continent, from the Atlantic to
the Pacific, that was ordained by God.
But did God intend for this territory to be slaveholding or free?
The Kansas-Nebraska Act said that it was up to the people to decide. But Lincoln completely disagreed that "popular sovereignty" should be allowed to crush the inalienable right to liberty that the Declaration of Independence promised to all men, regardless of color.
"'A house divided against itself cannot stand.' I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not expect the house to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided."
Through January 4, 2009, the White House copy of the Gettysburg Address will be on display at the National Museum of American History. It is one of only five copies in Lincoln's handwriting known to exist. Can't make it in person? Check out their online exhibit.
A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently, half slave and half free." A. Lincoln, "House Divided Speech," June 16, 1858.
Lincoln gave that speech in the Old State Capitol. The speech helped define the issues that led to the seven famous debates. In honor of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates 150th anniversary, the city of Springfield is hosting a Debates traveling exhibit, re-enactments of the debates, and several other events from June 14-16, 2008.
On Monday, June 16, Allen Guelzo (who recently wrote "Lincoln and Douglas") will be on hand to sign books and to provide commentary during historical readings by Lincoln-Douglas performers George Buss and Tim Connors. For tickets ($8), go to abelincolnmuseum.org or call (217) 558-8934.
One of those bad boy bounty hunter reality cop shows was on the TV when I walked into the room. Of course, I got sucked into it for a moment before I gained the strength to propel myself from the room again. While staring at the TV, it occured to me that we tend to do what those around us do. We--corporately speaking--seldom rise above the general state of our peer group. I was reminded of the importance of the company that we keep.
Lincoln made this observation on the subject, in his Temperence Address:
"It is said by some, that men will think and act for themselves; that none will disuse spirits or anything else, merely because his neighbors do; and that moral influence is
not that powerful engine contended for. Let us examine this. Let me ask
the man who would maintain this position most stiffly, what
compensation he will accept to go to church some Sunday and sit during
the sermon with his wife's bonnet upon his head? Not a trifle, I'll
venture. And why not? There would be nothing irreligious in it: nothing
immoral, nothing uncomfortable. Then why not? It is not because there
would be something egregiously unfashionable in it? Then it is the
influence of fashion; and what is the influence of fashion, but the influence that other people's actions have [on our own]?"
February 22, 1842: Address delivered
before the Springfield Washington Temperance Society [Collected Works, p. 277]
This post is one that I'm carrying over from my old blog. Working in a corporate environment, I've seen the demise of both good writing and the power of oratory. Why? Blame it on PowerPoint--or, rather, on the refusal of my colleagues and managers to think about most anything unless it's presented as a PowerPoint deck.
What would have happened if Lincoln had been forced to use PowerPoint at the Gettysburg cemetery dedication? That's what Peter Norvig asked himself after he'd heard one too many presentations in which PowerPoint got in the way of what could have been a good speech. (By the way, Peter now works at Google, so I don't know whether he has to endure decks like this anymore.)
If your employer seems to live or die by PowerPoint, you're sure to love this deck of six slides. Start first by refreshing your memory about the real Gettysburg Address. Then, on to Peter's version...
The intro in the email my friend Diane forwarded to me really set the scene. I couldn't find it on Peter's site, so I've included it here:
Moderator: Please welcome President Abraham Lincoln. [Applause]
Lincoln: Good morning. Just a second while I get this connection to work. Do I press this button here? Function-F7? No, that's not right. Hmm. Maybe I'll have to reboot. Hold on a minute.
Well, while we're waiting, let me just say that my name is Lincoln and I'm your president. I want to thank Judge David Wills, chairman of the committee supervising the dedication of the Gettysburg cemetery. It's great to be here, Dave. You and the committee are doing a great job.
...Gee, sometimes this technology does have its glitches, but we couldn't live without it, could we? Oh, there. Now it's ready. OK, here we go.