It would be a gross understatement to say the U.S. government is presently in a state of turmoil and at a pivotal moment. This issue of our newsletter was already poised to look at one of Abraham Lincoln’s views on the role of government, though one that typically finds broad support — infrastructure. And thanks to a guest article by Dr. Dennis Cremins, who sits on the Board of one of our sister-sites, Gaylord Building, you can read more about that in this issue.
Hallmarks of Abraham Lincoln’s speeches include appeals to the aspirational ideas of the Declaration of Independence, the strengths, purpose, and pitfalls of a government by the people, and an acute awareness of the best — and worst — aspects of human nature. Not surprisingly, perhaps, I agree with Lincoln’s sentiment that “History is philosophy teaching by example….” The subjects of civil war, foreign interference, and impeachment are all in the news — all issues the nation faced in the 1860s. Two sides believe they are in the right and are in direct opposition. And so, after treading water with the news this week (and intense discussions with family members), I found myself re-reading a few of Lincoln’s speeches that cover similar subjects.
In Abraham Lincoln’s July 4th, 1861 speech to Congress, he covered his view of the purpose of the war, concern over the invitation of foreign interference, and an optimism that the people will rise to the occasion if they aren’t kept from doing so by the government. “The people will save their government, if the government itself will do its part only indifferently well.” While Lincoln was speaking about those volunteering to serve as soldiers and sailors, the sentiment is quintessentially democratic. For example, if most Americans are not highly confident in election security, can we claim, as Lincoln did, that free and fair elections are the best mechanism for the people to “appeal” any previous election?
What does it look like for the government to do its part indifferently well? When is it overstepping?
Of course, we know what the outcome was for Lincoln, for Andrew Johnson, and for our country in the 1860s. We cannot with certainty predict the outcome in our own time.
The View from Lockport’s Lincoln Landing
By Dennis H. Cremin
In this issue’s featured article, Dr. Dennis H. Cremin discusses how Abraham Lincoln championed the Illinois and Michigan Canal, which is closely linked to the Cottage’s sister site Gaylord Building. Lincoln’s support of this canal and others was part of the Whig Party’s embrace of “Internal Improvements,” what we today might call infrastructure projects.
STAFF SPOTLIGHT- Interview with Rebecca Kilborne
Join us in welcoming new Marketing and Communications Manager, Rebecca Kilborne, to the President Lincoln’s Cottage team! Executive Administrator and Editor Zach Klitzman sat down with her in their joint office (which made the interview convenient) where they touched on Irish literature, parlor games, and Lincoln’s empathy. Click here for the full interview.
Lincoln & Brunch
This October, we are launching a new experience called Lincoln & Brunch. On select dates, we are offering extra tours and a 15% off discount at a local eatery. Pick up your discount coupon on your tour.
Lincoln & Brunch dates and partnerships are below:
Tours on these dates are at 10am, 11am, 11:30am, 12pm, 1pm, 1:30pm, 2pm, & 3pm.
We want to encourage our visitors to not only visit us, but also to support the local restaurants in Petworth. Happy eating!
Back by popular demand, and drawing inspiration from Abraham Lincoln’s legendary humor and self-deprecation, President Lincoln’s Cottage and The DC Improv have partnered to present Two Faces Comedy, the first comedy series to transform Lincoln’s living room into a comedy den.
Join us Monday, October 21st, & Wednesday, November 13th. All shows begin at 7:30pm. Click here to register
New Osage Orange Tree Ornament Available
With its twisting branches and odd fruit, the Osage Orange is an iconic natural feature of the President Lincoln’s Cottage grounds. One can easily imagine the President and his family finding comfort in the shade of trees like this one, climbing branches and spending time with loved ones in the shadow of steady trunks. Only available from President Lincoln’s Cottage. Click here to purchase.
Q & Abe Season 1 Available
Our first season of our new podcast is available in its entirety! Stay tuned for season 2 which will drop this winter.
News and Awards
- The Washington Post Express Jenn Tisdale included the Cottage in her “D.C. Dream Day.”
- The New York Times featured a wedding that took place at the Cottage in its Vows section
- The Free Lance Star (fredericksburg.com) cited the Cottage as an inspiration for the new tour at Gari Melchers Home in Stafford, VA
Support our educational programs, preservation efforts and public events by making a contribution to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Donate online today.