Not an American Practice: Lincoln’s Life at Risk
January 2015 through September 2015
Abraham Lincoln risked his and his family’s safety to live at the Cottage for more than a quarter of his presidency. However, for much of this time, Lincoln rode to and from the White House alone and unguarded, making him an easy target for would-be assassins and kidnappers. That the President of the United States traveled anywhere without a security detail is unfathomable today. Yet the lack of precedent for a presidential assassination created a sense of security that faded as the Civil War waged on.
The new exhibit “‘Not an American Practice’: Lincoln’s Life at Risk,” open January 2015-September 2015 in the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage, investigates the various efforts to protect Lincoln at the Soldiers’ Home and beyond, and encourage visitors to contemplate how Lincoln’s assassination forever changed presidential security. Prints and objects from the collection are on display as part of the exhibit.