Daily Archives: January 23, 2009

Lincoln Symposium in North Carolina

The good folks at the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources sent me some information on an upcoming Lincoln event that I’m happy to pass along.  It’s a symposium at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh on Feb. 12th, featuring a display of some great archival material.  Presenters include Joseph Glatthaar (author of an impressive study of the Army of Northern Virginia) and William Harris (who’s written a couple of really illuminating books on Lincoln’s politics).  You can read the NCDCR’s press release below, but I also recommend that you swing by the event website for more details.

Abraham Lincoln Symposium

 RALEIGH – Both revered and reviled, Abraham Lincoln left a legacy that remains central to American 21st century life.

In honor of his 200th birthday, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Office of Archives and History, will present “The Lincoln Bicentennial: A Symposium” on Feb. 12 at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a reception following.

 Lincoln’s political and military leadership during the Civil War and his role in ending slavery made him a giant among Presidents. C-SPAN viewers and historians alike rank Abraham Lincoln as America’s greatest President.  “Out of the smoke and stench, out of the music and violent dreams of the war, Lincoln stood perhaps taller than any other of the many great heroes,” wrote North Carolina’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Carl Sandburg in “Abraham Lincoln: The War Years.”

 The Abraham Lincoln Symposium will take a look at a variety of topics such as Lincoln as a political leader and as a wartime commander-in-chief. The Symposium’s all-North Carolina speaker roster of leading historians from five universities includes two winners of the coveted Lincoln Prize. 

 A comparison with rival Jefferson Davis as President of the Confederacy will be highlighted in the morning session.  After the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, the Union Army began to recruit freedmen as U.S. Colored Troops, an idea championed in 1861 by Lincoln’s friend, former slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which will be discussed in an afternoon session.

 State Archives Exhibit

In honor of the bicentennial occasion, State Archives will exhibit several Lincoln documents from its collection; the display will be in the Museum of History.  One document is from March 16, 1861, a letter sent to N.C. Governor John Ellis with the original Thirteenth Amendment, known today as the “ghost amendment” that would have denied the federal government the ability to intervene with slavery in any of the states where that condition existed.

 “Lincoln doesn’t say yea, or nay, but it is clearly a part of a larger effort to try to prevent civil war. He didn’t make emancipation of the slaves a goal of the war until late 1862″ says Dr. Jeffrey J. Crow, Deputy Secretary, Department of Cultural Resources.  “The ghost amendment is the evil twin of the real Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery.” 

 Lincoln never visited North Carolina. He was not listed on the 1860 U.S. Presidential ballot in North Carolina, nor in 1864, as no Confederate State participated in the election.  No North Carolina towns or counties are named for him, yet his words echo through the years and still have meaning today: “The probability that we may fail in the struggle ought not to deter us from the support of a cause we believe to be just.”

 A $10 registration fee includes the closing reception. Information is available at www.ncculture.com and www.nccivilwar150.com. To register call Karen Pochala-Peck at (919) 807-7281 or (919) 807-7280.

 The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is a state agency dedicated to the promotion and protection of North Carolina’s arts, history and culture. It is now podcasting 24/7 with information about the Department of Cultural Resources, all available at www.ncculture.com.

(Lincoln portrait courtesy of the NCDCR.)

Leave a comment

Filed under Abraham Lincoln, Civil War