On April 13, 1865, the day before he was fatally shot, Abraham Lincoln rode from downtown Washington to the Cottage. We are unsure why he visited that day, but he gave a speech at the White House just the night before laying out his vision for Reconstruction, including extending the vote to many African American men. To the end, his thinking evolved, and he was expanding his vision of who could and should participate in the great American experiment.
Each year, we host the Lincoln Ideas Forum around this date to commemorate the ideas he generated and the work he accomplished while living here, as well as to highlight the unfinished work of American democracy.
Lincoln’s presidency was marked by the biggest conflict over the meaning of democracy that the United States has seen. Here at the Cottage, Lincoln struggled with how to achieve unity among Americans amidst their incompatible definitions of what freedom is and what the future of the country should look like. He paced the floor in his upstairs bedroom in the middle of the night, looking for answers. Once again, our nation wrestles with questions of voting rights, paramilitary power, and hatred today.
On April 13th, we bring together experts, scholars, and the public to explore the present-day threats to democracy, their ramifications, and what solutions might be possible. What is our vision for the future of the country? How do we protect and sustain the Union in which Lincoln believed so deeply?
This program is just one example of our commitment to the unfinished work of democracy and to social justice. Each day, our Signature Cottage Tour asks visitors to reflect on what makes the United States a great country, how political ideas become action, and how the legacy of slavery persists today. And each summer, we host Student Opposing Slavery Summit, where we continue Lincoln’s fight for freedom by empowering young people to learn about contemporary slavery and develop a plan to fight trafficking their own communities.
Now more than ever, challenging times require brave ideas and bold action. At the Cottage, we share stories about Lincoln and his family, reflect on and discuss the challenges we face, and inspire people to make the change they think will move our nation forward.
I hope you will join us the 2023 Lincoln Ideas Forum on April 13 – either in person or online – for a remarkable dialogue about the current threats to American democracy.
As always, thanks for your support of the work we do.
Grammy-winner Dom Flemons’ New Album Released Ahead of his Performance at Bourbon & Bluegrass
When GRAMMY-award winning artist, Dom Flemons, The American Songster®, headlines Bourbon & Bluegrass on May 21 & 22, he will be bringing songs from his new solo album, Traveling Wildfire, with him. The highly anticipated album was just released by Smithsonian Folkways, and you can order it here
(you can also listen on your favorite streaming platform).
Flemons will join a star-studded line up of Letitia VanSant and The Fly Birds (Saturday) and Adeem the Artist and Nora Brown (Sunday). The event will also feature specialty cocktails, good food, lawn games, beard-trimming, and more.
Tickets on sale here!
Season Five of Q&Abe is Underway!
We are midway through Season Five of our award-winning podcast, Q&Abe with a new bonus episode out today! In this season, Joan, Callie, and our expert guests investigate Lincoln’s sexuality, Booth’s motivation for assassination, the effectiveness of the Emancipation Proclamation, and more! Available wherever you listen to podcasts.
Make Your Next Event Historic: Party with Abe!
Abraham Lincoln was a sober fellow, but he did enjoy lively, sociable company replete with laughter and story-swapping. He once asked, “What caused the heat, if it was not party?” Granted he was talking about political party, but we think he’d enjoy a good party here at the Cottage.
With historic spaces large and small, our event staff can work with you to create the perfect setting for your next event.
President Lincoln’s Cottage in the News
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.