Press/Journalists

Press Release
August 29, 2008

National Archives to Host Symposium Lincoln and American Values on September 20

Washington, DC…The National Archives celebrates the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth with a daylong symposium Lincoln and American Values on Saturday, September 20 from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. in its William G. McGowan theater. The symposium will provide historical insight into some of the most critically important facets of Lincoln’s Presidency. Registration is free for working members of the press, but must be made in advance.

Lincoln and American Values is generously supported and presented in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives and endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Lincoln and American Values Symposium
Welcoming Remarks, 9:30–10 a.m.

Allen Weinstein, Archivist of the United States, Lonnie Bunch, director, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Harold Holzer, co-chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Lincoln and the Constitution. 10–11:30 a.m.
Lincoln regarded the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution as living in dynamic harmony with each other. The formal structure of the Constitution, he believed, was intended to serve the larger interests of the principles articulated in the Declaration. In so doing, Lincoln set a pattern that continues to be debated to this day, as the Constitution and the Declaration are often seen to be in conflict with each other. This panel will examine how Lincoln could revere the Declaration without concluding that the Constitution was an obsolete artifice which could only be rendered “living” by judicial action. Moderated by Harold Holzer, co-chairman, Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and author of Lincoln at Cooper Union, panelists include Frank J. Williams, co-author of The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views; Michael Vorenberg, associate professor of history at Brown University and author of Final Freedom: The Civil War, the Abolition of Slavery, and the Thirteenth Amendment; and Brian Dirck, associate professor of history at Anderson University, and author of Lincoln the Lawyer.

Lincoln and Emancipation, 1:30–3 p.m.
The Emancipation Proclamation is Abraham Lincoln’s most sweeping Presidential act. Although Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation have been revered as symbols of liberation, understanding the Proclamation has often proven puzzling. Its legalistic language, its multiple reservations and exceptions, its four basic versions, and its precise legal standing as an exercise of the Presidential war powers, have combined to produce numerous interpretations of the Emancipation Proclamation. This panel will discuss the competing views of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation. Moderated by Michael Vorenberg, panelists include Edna Greene Medford, associate professor of history, Howard University and co-author of The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views; Frank J. Williams, co-author of The Emancipation Proclamation: Three Views; and James Horton, Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History, George Washington University and author of Slavery and the Making of America.

Lincoln’s Legacy as Commander in Chief, 3:30–5 p.m.
As the only American President whose entire administration was surrounded by war, Abraham Lincoln became one of the most active commanders in chief in American history, directly influencing and managing events and generals in every field of operations during the Civil War. The success or failure of his Presidency, and the future of the United States, depended on how he performed as commander in chief. This panel will discuss Lincoln’s legacy as the war-time President and his leadership of the Civil War, including his gradual mastery of military strategy and tactics. Moderated by Tom Wheeler, author of Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War, the panel includes James L. Swanson, author of Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer; Craig Symonds, author of Lincoln and His Admirals; and David Work, professor of history, Texas A&M University.

Registration information:

General Registration Fee: $45; Foundation for the National Archives members: $35; Students/Educators/Seniors: $15. Make checks payable to the National Archives Trust Fund. Send your name, address, e-mail address, and daytime telephone number with a check to:

Lincoln and American Values Symposium
National Archives at College Park
Attn: Katie Wilmes, NWE
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, MD 20740

To pay by credit card, include card number, expiration date, and cardholder signature. Fax this information to 202-357-5925 or call 202-357-5127. Do not leave credit card information in the voice message; a staff member will contact you.

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