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“A New Birth of Freedom”: Lincoln’s Oratory and the Civil War

Evening Lecture/Seminar

Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. ET
Code: 1H0689
This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.
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Materials for this program
  1. “A New Birth of Freedom” | Handout

More than 150 years after his death, our 16th president maintains his reputation as one of the most gifted orators to hold the nation’s highest office. Abraham Lincoln used his facility with language to help guide the country through the Civil War—the most destructive in its history—and through the massive social and political disruption that accompanied four years of fighting.

Christopher Hamner, professor of history at George Mason University, focuses on how three of Lincoln’s best-known speeches—his First Inaugural (1861), his Gettysburg Address (1863), and his Second Inaugural (1865)—helped to move a war-weary citizenry toward a radical new understanding of the country’s own values and of the meaning of the war and of emancipation.

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