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The Lincoln Exhibit
Exhibits

The Lincoln Exhibit

Introduction

In 1854, Abraham Lincoln said of Thomas Jefferson that he 鈥渨as, is, and perhaps will continue to be our most distinguished politician.鈥 We may now say this of Lincoln. And just as Lincoln meant that one must understand Jefferson鈥檚 politics and principles鈥攈is deeds and his words鈥攖o understand the United States, so must we now say that to understand the United States we must understand Lincoln鈥檚 deeds and words. We offer this exhibit on Lincoln as an aid in the effort to understand him and, through him, what remains the world鈥檚 most important experiment in self-government.

The exhibit focuses on eight of Lincoln鈥檚 most important speeches, offering analytical and interpretive introductions to them. It also offers a variety of additional materials that provide historical context for the speeches. This context, including Lincoln鈥檚 understanding of the character of the American people, formed the political terrian Lincoln navigated, guided by his understanding of America鈥檚 political principles.

Abraham Lincoln at his home in Springfield, Illinois, with a large crowd of people gathered outside after a Republican rally, William Shaw. (August 8, 1860) Library of Congress.

Documents in the Exhibit

Inauguration of Mr. Lincoln, March 4, 1861; unknown photographer (possibly Alexander Gardiner). Library of Congress,

Other Exhibit Components