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Lincoln on the Civil War

February 12 @ 6:00 pm - April 3 @ 6:00 pm

Onondaga Historical Association Museum and Research Center is pleased to offer another installment of “Lincoln on the Civil War,” a reading and discussion series developed and sponsored by a grant from Humanities New York. “With its thematic focus, this reading and discussion program offers an unusual twist on the standard book group format by making time for thinking deeply about one idea, over time, from a variety of perspectives,” says Sara Ogger, executive director of Humanities New York. Something special happens when we talk about what we read with others in our community. Humanities New York’s Adult Reading & Discussion programs are designed to foster active reading and thinking, incorporating texts that serve as catalysts for civic engagement, cultural understanding, and personal reflection. Adult Reading & Discussion programs are held in communities across New York State. 

At O.H.A.’s museum at 321 Montgomery Street, participants will come together over the course of sessions to discuss a variety of thematically linked texts with Robert Searing, Curator of History for O.H.A., and adjunct history faculty at Tompkins Cortland Community College. Reading, analyzing, and discussing Lincoln’s own speeches, participants will explore the growing sectional controversy over the expansion of slavery and Lincoln’s evolution on the subject between 1838 and 1860.  After his election to the House of Representatives in 1846, Lincoln became an important figure in the growing anti-slavery movement and eventually joined the newly formed Republican Party, which opposed the spread of slavery. 

This series allows participants to examine and appreciate anew the rhetoric, political skill, and evolution of the sixteenth president during one the nation’s most tumultuous political eras. His words are a window into the mind of a cagey politician, and a gifted writer and speaker on the most significant issues that led to the Civil War. Themes include the nature of democratic participation; concepts of political equality; political polarization and  navigating the turbulent partisanship and regionalism of the antebellum era; slavery and abolition; the secession crisis and Lincoln’s views on the nature of the Union; the causes and the legacy of the nation’s bloodiest war; His views on Reconstruction and, finally, the task of “binding up the nation’s wounds” and protecting the newly won citizenship of African Americans at the close of the war.

The dates for these sessions are 2/12, 2/21, 3/6, 3/19, and 4/3 @ 6 pm. There are 12 slots available and they will fill up quickly. The sessions will last approximately 60-75 minutes. These sessions will last approximately 60-75 minutes and build on one another. The generous grant means that the texts will be loaned to participants at no additional cost.

The program is free and open to the public, although pre-registration is required.  For more information about the series dates and acquiring books before hand, please contact Robert J. Searing at (315)428-1863 ext. 310 or robert.searing@cnyhistory.org

For more information about “Lincoln on the Civil War” and other reading and discussion grants visit www.humanitiesny.org


Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of either Humanities New York or the National Endowment for the Humanities.  


February 12 @ 6:00 pm
April 3 @ 6:00 pm
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