November 2023: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War: the Gettysburg Address
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 11-12:30 EDT
Please join us for a one-day-only Virtual Reading Group to discuss Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War: the Gettysburg Address, with Vernon Burton.
Pre-registration is required, and we ask you to register only if you can be present for ALL sessions. Readings will be available for registered participants in the LF Portal.
Many of Lincoln’s speeches (and letters) articulate the concept of American freedom, and Lincoln’s vision continues to penetrate our culture today. Among his most celebrated speeches is his Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863. He spoke a language of love, patriotism, and human liberty. To the crowd of 20,000 listeners, and to us today, Lincoln invoked a new nation, “under God,” and dedicated to “a new birth of freedom.” What would that new birth of freedom mean?
It was ten months earlier, on January 1, 1863, that Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. In a language not in the least poetical, he spoke in an attorney’s legalese, and the rule of law was one of the document’s bedrock principles. But beyond any doubt this national contract broadened freedom, in some locales as a reality but in more areas as a goal. The measure clarified a moral issue at play throughout the civil war; the war for the nation was now undeniably a war for freedom.
We will discuss the history behind these documents and the meaning we ascribe to them today.
Chapter 9, “The Gettysburg Address Revisited.” In 1863: Lincoln’s Pivotal Year. Edited by Harold Holzer and Sara Vaughn Gabbard (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2013), pp. 137-55. (PDF provided)
Orville Vernon Burton, The Age of Lincoln (excerpts)
Prologue: 3-9; pp. 114-115 and p. 217 (PDF provided)
Orville Vernon Burton, ed. The Essential Lincoln: Speeches and Correspondence. Chapter 23, “ Letter to James C. Conkling on Emancipation,” August 26, 1863, pp. 147-152 (PDF provided)
Virtual Reading Groups
- One Fell Swoop: Reading All of Shakespeare’s Plays
- December 2023: H.G. Wells, Technocracy and Liberty
- November 2023: Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War: the Gettysburg Address
- September 2023: Islam and Liberty
- September 2023: H. L. Mencken on Commerce, Culture, and Democracy
- August 2023: The Price of Power: Bring Up the Bodies and The Prince
- July 2023: Civil Society and Political Economy
- June 2023: The Challenges of Democracy in a Diverse Society
- April 2023: Understanding Reconstruction - the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments
- March 2023: Foundations of Modern Environmentalism
- February 2023: Bruno Leoni: Freedom and the Law
- January 2023: Oakeshott’s Moral Vision
- January 2023: The Messiness of Progress: Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and David Hume’s Essays and Histories
- December 2022: Classical Tragedy and the World of Ideas
- December 2022: J.S. Mill “Of the Liberty of Thought and Discussion"
- November 2022: The Election of 1800: Jefferson v. Adams
- October 2022: Shakespeare’s First Tetralogy
- September 2022: The Evolution of American Federalism
- September 2022: Liberty and Virtue in the Axial Age
- August 2022: Jane Austen’s Persuasion: Aristocracy, Independence, and Economics
- May 2022: THE BILL OF RIGHTS: SELECT CASES IN CONSTITUTIONAL LAW
- April 2022: Education in a Free Society
- March 2022: Mary Wollstonecraft and the Rights of Women
- March 2022: Ancient v Modern Liberty
- February 2022: Joseph Schumpeter’s “Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy”
- January 2022: James Madison and the Conflict Between the Executive and Legislative Branches
- November 2021: Pericles' Funeral Oration
- September 2021: Celebrate Constitution Day
- August 2021: Agriculture, the State, and Liberty
- June 2021: Adam Ferguson’s History of Civil Society
- May 2021: The Colonial Origins of the Bill of Rights