The exhibit on 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 – will be on display at the Hamilton East Public Library Noblesville branch, 1 Library Plaza, beginning June 14.
At 2 p.m. June 14, the library will officially kick off this special “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” exhibit with a public reception followed by “Abe Lincoln, Mark Twain and the Civil War,” a live theatrical production of historical drama, humor and education.
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 Lincoln as president and the Civil War as the nation’s gravest constitutional crisis.
“We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition,” said HEPL Director Edra Waterman. “As a new president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with enormous challenges. This exhibition shows how Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties – all questions our country’s founding charter left unanswered.”
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.
“Each section of the exhibit features information about a different aspect of Lincoln’s presidency. For example, the section about slavery examines the various policy options Lincoln once embraced and how his thoughts about slavery evolved over time,” Waterman said. “Most importantly, the exhibit helps visitors understand why Lincoln’s struggle with the Constitution still matters today.”
“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” will be on display through July 26.