Gail Borden library hosts Lincoln exhibition

“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” a traveling exhibition now open at the Gail Borden Public Library examines how President Abraham Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War — the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

The exhibit, which opened on Wednesdayt, runs through May 16. Dr. Al Gini, author of several Lincoln books, will speak on Lincoln, leadership, and ethics at a kickoff lecture at 2 p.m. Sunday. A reception follows at 3:15 p.m. at the Meadows Community Room.

Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents, but his historical reputation is contested.

Was he a calculating politician willing to accommodate slavery, or a principled leader justly celebrated as the Great Emancipator? This exhibition provides no easy answers. Rather, it encourages visitors to form a nuanced view of Lincoln by engaging them with Lincoln’s struggle to reconcile his policy preferences with basic American ideals of liberty and equality.

This exhibition develops a more complete understanding of Abraham Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis, it said.

Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860, at a time when the nation was on the brink of war.

Lincoln struggled to resolve the basic questions that divided Americans at the most perilous moment in the nation’s history: Was the United States truly one nation, or was it a confederacy of sovereign and separate states? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men are created equal” tolerate slavery? In a national crisis, would civil liberties be secure?

Lincoln used the constitution to confront these three crises of war, ultimately reinventing the Constitution and the promise of American life, according to the release.

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.

Visit for more information.


–News Bulletin news sources