Every undergraduate student at Lincoln Memorial University is required to take a one-hour credit course called “Lincoln’s Life and Legacy” which serves as an introduction to the university’s namesake, his significance to the history of nineteenth-century America, and the story of the school’s origins. (In case you’re wondering, the required texts are William Gienapp’s short but solid Abraham Lincoln and Civil War America; a one-volume selection of Lincoln’s writings; and whatever supplementary essays, articles, and excerpts the instructor wants to add.)
I haven’t taught this class in a while—not since a previous tour of duty at LMU a few years ago—but I’ve got a section next semester, and I’m really looking forward to it.
I used to end the course with a short overview of Lincoln in memory using the five themes identified by Merrill Peterson, and then I’d show clips from some of the more notable Abe-related movies. It’ll be interesting to see what impact, if any, the past year’s Lincoln films have had on the 18-22 set. I’m guessing it’s not a whole lot. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter didn’t draw big crowds, and most of the people I saw at screenings of Spielberg’s movie were quite a bit older than me. Maybe I’ll add a scene from AL:VH to my last lecture just for the heck of it.