Episode 6.1: “Does anybody know what Lincoln’s next big idea was?”

Every day at President Lincoln’s Cottage we engage with visitors in conversation on difficult topics, from grief to slavery to American identity. And occasionally, we get asked a question on a tour that stops us in our tracks – one we wish we could spend a half hour answering. Some of these questions, on their face, were innocent or simple, but on a second look they contain a level of complexity that leaves us wanting to know more.

Thanks to generous donations from our supporters, we created “Q & Abe” – a podcast that investigates real questions from visitors to the Cottage. Come on down the rabbit hole with us as we seek the answers – we always start with Lincoln and the Cottage, but we often end up in unexpected places.

For this episode, we’re talking about a question we got from a supporter of the Cottage who was thinking about what Lincoln would have done with more time. On the way we talk about what political candidates need to do to connect with voters, how historians approach uncertainty, and how to know if your idea is a good one in the first place. Come along with us!

In addition to the embedded media player below, you can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts / Spotify /  Google Podcasts or wherever you get podcasts. You also can read below for a transcript of the episode (coming soon!)


Joan Cummins: Every day at President Lincoln’s Cottage we engage with visitors in conversation on difficult topics, from grief to slavery to American identity. Visitors, young and old alike, connect with us from next door and from around the globe.

Callie Hawkins: And occasionally, we get asked a question on a tour that stops us in our tracks, one we wish we could spend a half hour answering. Some of these questions, on their face, seem innocent or simple, but on a second look they contain a level of complexity that leaves us wanting to know more. Each episode, we’ll investigate a single real question a visitor asked us here.

JC: At President Lincoln’s Cottage, we’re storytellers, historians, and truth seekers, so we called on people whose expertise could speak to all the facets of these questions.

CH: I’m Callie Hawkins

JC: And I’m Joan Cummins

JC: This is Q&Abe. Come on down the rabbit hole with us!

CH: Let’s take that half hour now.

JC: For this episode, we’re thinking about the question: “Does anybody know what Lincoln’s next big idea was?”

CH: Our colleague Cameron got this question on a tour with some folks who had supported several projects at the Cottage. One of them brought with her on the tour the memory of her late father, who had been an innovator in tech and had made good on several big ideas. Towards the end of the tour, she was really thinking about what her father could have done with more time, and wondered the same about Lincoln.

JC: As you already know, Lincoln was assassinated on April 13, 1865, a few weeks into his second term in office. Naturally, many people are curious about what would have happened if things had taken a different course. What do we know about what he was planning next?

CH: In December 1863 Lincoln gave an address to Congress, an early version of what we now usually call the State of the Union. In it, he reviewed his just-issued plan for reconstructing loyal state governments. The plan provided for a state government to reenter the United States if 10% of eligible 1861 voters formed a government. A full pardon and restoration of property – except in slaves – was offered to people who swore an oath of loyalty. The oath required explicit promises to uphold Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.

JC: So, we might look to this Ten Percent Plan for clues about Lincoln’s priorities heading into Reconstruction. He was open to pardoning Confederates but refused to go backwards on his anti-slavery policy. Everybody got a chance to try this plan out when Louisiana formed a new state government in early 1864, but it never saw full implementation.

CH: Historian Kate Masur of Northwestern University – who you may remember from episode 1.2 – described Lincoln’s approach like this:

Kate Masur: Both Lincoln and Republicans in Congress had been thinking for quite a while about to how to bring the states that had declared themselves out of the Union back into the Union and what that would look like and the associated questions, um, related to slavery and African Americans’ rights. So when you get to the surrender of Robert E. Lee and what have you, the things that began to happen in the spring of 1865, it wasn’t – they weren’t they weren’t like, oh, we better start thinking about this now, right? They had been thinking about it for quite a while. In addition to, you know, believing that the first thing that he had to do was make sure the US won the war, or else that whole project of ending slavery wouldn’t come to pass, and I think the evidence from the period, you know, at the end of his life, at the end of the war, suggests that, going into the post war period, Lincoln was thinking really pragmatically. And he’s saying, look, right now, I want to stick to my plan that I’ve proposed, but I am also open to other ideas. If this turns out to not work, we might want to go in a different direction.

JC: One of the other major places people look for Lincoln’s vision for the future is his second inaugural address, from March of 1865. This speech came up in our conversation with Shannon Janean Currie, vice president at the strategic political consultancy BSG, when we asked her which of Lincoln’s qualities she would put at the forefront as he entered his next term.

Shannon Janean Currie: Well, I think the focus would have shifted towards reconciliation and rebuilding the nation. I mean, Lincoln really tried to stress his efforts to foster national healing, unity, reconciliation, you know, highlighting his calls for malice towards none and charity for all, really did just expresses his commitment to bringing the nation together. I think it’s really important to understand the, like you said, human marketing. Every candidate has certain qualities. Like we could all say Barack Obama, orator of our time. Great speaker. Right? We can also say President Trump was really able to galvanize his base in a way we’ve never seen before. I think it’s really important that you look for the qualities that really align with the values of the electorate, such as leadership or integrity or empathy, and that you have a clear vision for the future.

JC: However, Kate reminded us that there are other dimensions to the speech:

KM: But the paragraph before that says, you know, we may be being punished by God for the institution of slavery, and if the war has to continue in order to fully eradicate that evil, let it continue, right? Bring it on, we will pursue this war to the very end to make sure that slavery exists no longer. So the message from the second inaugural is not quite as reconciliationist as a lot of people like to think. And it shows a president determined to follow, uh, the war all the way to the end, including the abolition of slavery, which is, of course, the institution that white Southerners began the war to protect in the first place. So, Lincoln knew full well that those folks were not going to lie down and take it very easily, right? And so you have that kind of thing on the one hand, and then you have, on the other hand, Lincoln truly was a person who had, was capable of a lot of empathy, did not seem to have a kind of vindictive personal desire to punish white Southerners.

CH: We asked Shannon: How do politicians think about this process of planning for the future? Where do candidates come up with their ideas?

SJC: So, any political campaign really starts by conducting some thorough research on current issues, on societal needs, and public sentiments. And this involves studying existing policies, collecting data, and really just understanding the concerns of their constituents. And then once you do this research, candidates can really start to identify key areas where new policies are needed or existing ones can be changed. Step number two is like stakeholder engagement, talking to experts, talking to community leaders, advocacy groups, interest groups, the general public, all these things really help to gather, um, a diverse perspective of the key issues that people should be thinking about and what candidates should be thinking about when they’re incorporating that feedback into their policy platforms.

JC:  Do you have candidates who show up and they’re like, I have an idea for how to fix this, let’s see what the public thinks? Or do people usually show up and say, okay, what does the public need? I’ll build my ideas from there.

SJC: It could be both, but it’s really that first stage of research that helps guide it. You can have a great idea, and test it, and it just doesn’t resonate with your constituents. So all ideas aren’t, aren’t going to really make it to fruition. But I think it really comes down to, like I said, being able to connect. And being able to show genuine empathy and concern for the challenges, those kitchen table issues that are keeping families up at night, you know, what can you be doing as a political candidate or, you know, future politician that can address that in a meaningful way, that speaks to their pain points but also uplifts their aspirations and dreams?

JC: It was interesting to hear Shannon talk about this process of gathering many ideas before moving forward, because we know this is part of how Lincoln approached his presidency. He regularly spent time on his commute to and from the Cottage talking with the ordinary people he encountered along the way.

CH: It’s also one of the principles that’s baked into our Brave Ideas Game, which we developed for middle grade classrooms with the help of our fantastic teacher-in-residence Brian Field and the Game Genius, Peter Williamson. Students work together to think through complex questions and nurture their big ideas about how to take action. We’ve had teachers use it for civics brainstorming, project development, and for building classroom cohesion.

JC: If you know a classroom that might enjoy the game, you can find it on our website at lincolncottage.org or give the front desk a call and ask for the Store. I’ve played it several times at this point – and I always come out with new interesting thoughts!

CH: For a long time, I’ve really admired Lincoln’s openness to bringing in other people around him as he worked on his ideas. We might think of Lincoln’s legacy as largely being made up of big moments of political will – but maybe some of his greatest ideas actually were that, in order for any of this to work, you have to communicate with people and bring them along with you.

KM: Sometimes what is admirable about a person is not that they are some maverick with a big idea, but that they are able to work with people. They’re able to integrate a lot of different ideas and synthesize them and come to new ideas or new policies or new forms of implementation that are more collectively oriented, right? That are more about, you know, how do you solve a problem, right? A person with a great big idea is not necessarily a good problem solver.

CH: Lincoln’s approach to solving the big problems the country was facing changed quite a bit over time. Often when this happens with politicians they are accused of flip-flopping.

JC: We needed an expert on how to develop and incubate ideas, so we reached out to Dan Barker at Halcyon here in DC, which works with startups that have impact at the core of their business model. Here’s his advice on how to successfully change your idea over time without looking like you don’t have a coherent position:

Dan Barker: For me, it starts with, if you’ve operated for a point of integrity from the beginning, and had open communication with your, you know, whoever you’re communicating to – it could be a client and a customer, it could be an investor –  you will have built the trust so that when you get to the point of saying, actually, we need to change, we need to move, that’s not built on nothing. And you’ve grown with people who trust you to drive your business. But if you’ve built in your local community some level of trust, then you can, you can explain to people when you change your mind. Um, not everybody will come along with you, and, and that’s okay, unless you’re, you know, not getting enough votes, but luckily I don’t, I don’t have to deal with that problem.

CH: Kate described how Lincoln really fit this pattern– he was consistent in his principles and also evolved over time.

KM: You know, he was such a serious lawyer and sort of constitutional thinker that he really thought his personal, you know, I might personally think that slavery is morally wrong and reprehensible, but I don’t see how it can simply be abolished. And even then when I’m president, I cannot constitutionally abolish slavery. So later, you know, when the issue of slavery and emancipation are on the table during the Civil War, he’s able to say, I have always believed slavery was wrong, so that’s a kind of consistency. And then he says, I think I have the power to issue this proclamation as an act of war in order to preserve the Union. So he kind of finds a constitutional way that he feels comfortable with, using kind of the emergency powers of the president during wartime, to issue the Proclamation. And in a way, he’s sort of protected from the argument that he flip flopped or was wishy washy because he could say, I always thought this was the right thing to do, but I never thought I had the power to do it until now in this kind of emergency where this is essential to winning the war. And he said, look, we are not going back, and that was I think a really interesting, you know, act of courage in a sense, and leadership to say what I want to try to do is bring the party with me on this issue, rather than doing the more conservative thing, which would be to revert to a more cautious stance on it.

JC: One important example of Lincoln’s evolution over time is apparent in the final public speech he gave, on April 11th of 1865. In it, he proposed that perhaps black men who had been soldiers in the US Army should be granted the right to vote. This proposal was a new assertion for Lincoln, and became part of Booth’s motivation for his assassination plot.

CH: You can find out more about Booth and his thinking in our episode “Why would Maryland do that?”

JC: It makes me think about –  how do you get things done when nobody agrees about what the right thing to do is? Lincoln was surrounded by dramatic political polarization, as we are experiencing on many issues today.

CH: We asked Shannon how she and her colleagues approach doing political work under these circumstances.

SJC: I mean, we all know that this is a very volatile political environment. And I think real successful public affairs campaigns have to be very precise, very nimble, and strategic to connect with the audiences that matter the most, you know, in Lincoln’s case, he was aware that of the sensitive nature of the issues and the division within our union itself, and he had to really carefully navigate public opinion and work to build support for emancipation, emphasizing its necessity for the preservation of the union. He was an adept politician for sure, great diplomat, and I think ensuring that even key factions within the Union itself were on board, building that consensus across the aisle is hard enough, but it also is a challenge within your own party. I mean, we see that now within the Democratic Party, where, you know, we’ve got a very extreme left, that, you know, is putting their foot down and refusing to really, you know, allow us to move forward and pass some certain things that we would assume would be low-hanging fruit for us to all get done. But at the same time, we all want the same things, right? Like, as Americans, we want to know that our freedoms and our rights are going to be preserved. We want to know that we can have affordable housing, that our kids can get a quality education, that we have access to quality health care. But like I said, you look at the simple things that all Americans want, there can be consensus found.

JC: How might a person in a leadership position build the kind of trust they’d need to take meaningful action?

DB: Yeah, I think one is transparency, transparency, it can be actuated in many different ways. It’s, you know, from our, some of our founders, you know, it’s being open about, what’s working with you and also what’s not – and that’s a careful balance, right? To manage… But I do think you can build that trust with, you know, being transparent, being authentic, having multiple touch points, and building relationships. And I think it’s something that, the thing that we always tell our founders is –  you should never, you know, be meeting someone for the first time and that’s, that’s when you’re making the, the hard ask, right? That’s, that very rarely works. I think often we can feel the need to say that we’re perfect to, particularly for people that we need resources from, and you can sell that, but only for a certain amount of time, right? Because eventually it’s not going to be true, uh, I have yet to meet the perfect person. So that, that’s, um, at least for me, I think the way that I’ve seen it done successfully.

CH: Let’s go back to first principles here – is having a single big idea the goal? How was Lincoln approaching this?

KM: I mean in fact, Lincoln, in his what becomes his final speech, he kind of pushes back against people with ideas. He’s like, because there are all these people debating whether – did the southern states really leave the Union and like, how should we understand them? Were they really out? Or were they not? – And Lincoln is like, look, I don’t care about any of that. I just want to talk about what we should do next. Right? And so it’s a very pragmatic kind of attitude that’s quite different from like, I have an idea, and this is my great idea for how the United States should look next, and let’s go pursue it into the future.

JC: Here’s what Dan had to say about the idea of the Big Idea:

DB: Many times we think the idea is what’s most important. And I was reflecting on this last night, if it was true that the idea was the most important, people wouldn’t be convinced that Henry Ford created the car, right? He didn’t. He did not invent the car. In fact, there’s probably a list, if you go on Wikipedia, there’s a list of 10 other people, uh, who did some version of the automobile before he did. What he figured out was how do you take this very interesting idea, uh, and bring it to scale. That’s why it’s important that we think about the impact and the innovation and the talent at the same time as we’re thinking about the scalability, because it’s important that we’re just not staying in the world of ideas. And I mentioned that, you know, where I started in academia, because so many of those folks were convinced that the idea was the important thing and the execution would be left to lesser beings. So I think that’s that combination. Yes, the idea is very important. The idea alone is not actually going to get you impact at scale.

JC: Dan mentioned the Covid vaccine as a great example of a spectacular innovation that was hampered in the execution phase – and therefore had an impact different than might have been. It just takes a lot of people to get something big done.

CH: I’ve been thinking a lot about whether ideas thrive the best in one person or in collaborations.  Lincoln was certainly not the only one working on the project of emancipation, and not the only one working on Reconstruction either. Ideas aren’t really just eureka moments that happen in a vacuum.

DB: I, I think there are both. I think there are folks who do have eureka moments, there are absolutely moments of scientific discovery. But as I mentioned before, it’s actually very rarely that those moments are the ones that translate into, immediately into something happening at scale. It’s usually a process, it usually takes some level of translation, in some cases, it takes somebody who is maybe an imitator taking that idea and figuring out how to change it to actually get it to, to scale. So I think there are absolutely those moments of discovery, it’s what people do after those moments that will translate into, does this at the end of the day impact people’s lives?

CH: One of the reasons people might be interested in answers about what Lincoln would do next is that they have a general sense that things would somehow have been better if Lincoln had lived. Why are so many people so confident this would have turned out better?

JC: Part of it is definitely that Lincoln was good at his job, and probably would have continued to be good at his job had he kept doing it. But when I thought about it some more, it seemed wilder and wilder to me that we’d place so much trust in Lincoln and think that one person could save us all.

KM: I mean, that’s crazy, right? Like nobody, no individual could have, I mean, we are still working on these problems of like, how do you have a post slavery society? How do you have a democracy in a place that had race-based slavery for 250 years? That is a really hard question to solve or a hard thing to implement, and the idea that if Lincoln had lived, by 1868 at the end of his second term, 1869, you know, it would have all been figured out and there wouldn’t have been racial terrorism, and there wouldn’t have been all, you know, all of this violence and there wouldn’t have been all these struggles and there maybe there wouldn’t have even been, some people have said, there wouldn’t have been Jim Crow, and like it all just would have magically worked out in a way that didn’t leave us with these lasting challenges. No one person could have solved these questions or challenges, certainly not in the space of one presidential term.

CH: We were realizing that the perception that Lincoln could have saved it all somehow takes away his humanity and makes him into a quasi-religious figure. Obviously, there’s more to it than that, because he was working in a real-world political context.

KM: I think we generally we, uh, Americans tend to think that presidents rise to this level of like, oh, this person must be calling the shots, or this person must be somehow emblematic of the values of the nation. But as we saw, actually, in the case of the Civil War, or in any number of cases more recently, presidents might have lots of goals that they cannot actually accomplish because they don’t have the votes in Congress, or the courts stop them, there are three branches of the government, and Lincoln would have been the first to acknowledge that his powers were limited, that he had to find ways of working with Congress, right?

JC: Beyond the people around you, Dan brought up how external factors outside of our control can influence an idea’s success – or failure.

DB: Timing absolutely factors into it –  there are just ideas that certainly meet the moment. And, you mentioned Skype, which is, you know, a fascinating example, um, there’s so many memes going around, right as we’re all entering the virtual world, it’s like, can you imagine having been 10, 15 years ahead of the game and then, like, still losing, right? So, again, it wasn’t the idea necessarily that was the crux of it, because many people, they came up with the idea, and it didn’t survive, and it didn’t make it to this moment. Timing absolutely is involved. Resources are involved, there’s a lot of factors that are outside of your control as an entrepreneur, but there is, again, something about you as the entrepreneur, figuring out how what you’re doing can meet the moment and the moment that you ‘re in. Because we can’t control the timing, but it’s for me, one of the many external factors that kind of go beyond an entrepreneur’s control.

CH: Kate also wanted us to think more carefully about what we mean when we say that if Lincoln had survived, things would have been “better.”

KM: Well, better in what way? Like, so, if you, if you’re suggesting, well, would things have turned out better if Lincoln had been able to serve through his second term, what do you mean by better? And there I think you do get into some complexity. If you come in with that idea that reconstruction was kind of the worst, most terrible period of American history, and who imposed Reconstruction as a policy? Well, the radical Republicans or the Republicans in Congress did, and the implication of that is it was a terrible imposition of federal policy on the white South, you might think that if Lincoln had lived, that episode wouldn’t have happened and everybody would have gotten along peacefully, which sort of implies the people getting along peacefully are like white Southerners and white Northerners. Well, actually, what was going on was that the Republicans in Congress were pursuing a policy of trying to create a biracial democracy, or a multiracial democracy, and they were facing enormous resistance from white Southerners. And it was reasonable for them to try to pursue this goal in the wake of the Civil War – then the, the equation starts to look different. Then you sort of wonder, well, what would Lincoln’s response to those goals of the Republicans in Congress have been? Then it starts to look like well, Lincoln was actually more moderate or centrist than many of those congressional Republicans, so would he have eventually gone along with what they were interested in? Would he have tried to stop them? How would that have played out? And that’s the really interesting question that we can’t know the answer to.

CH: The same thing is true for our question in this episode – ultimately we can’t know the final answer about what Lincoln would have done next. Instead, we just have a bunch of what ifs.

JC: I asked Kate to tell us, how do historians handle this kind of uncertainty?

KM: Historians tend to be very uncomfortable with what ifs. They call them counterfactuals, and I do kind of remember the first time that someone asked me the question of like, what if Lincoln had lived? And I was like, oh my gosh, I don’t know, I never thought about that! But historians tend to be really uncomfortable with that because our craft and our discipline is about studying what happened and trying to explain why it happened and we can’t kind of study what didn’t happen. It’s kind of like, hard to grapple with that. But, but I think, you know, even though historians are often super uncomfortable with it, and we’ll, you know, give you the disclaimer that, like, we don’t deal with counterfactuals, I still think that this question and there’s probably some others that are similar, are worth thinking about just because it helps point out the difference that a particular event made.

CH: Shannon says the same level of uncertainty holds in her work regarding the prospects for our upcoming election in November.

SJC: I mean, uncharted waters. Just unchartered waters. I mean, we’ve got two presidents right now, both facing all sorts of different Congressional insight committees and legal matters that we’ve just never been in before. I keep hearing “unprecedented!” Um, so it’s just kind of taking it one day at a time and keep getting the pulse of the nation, where is everybody at on these issues? Every day brings some type of new fun surprise, which is why I do enjoy my job very much, but it will be stressful to the very end, I am sure.

CH: I know many of you may be feeling the same way. How do we navigate through this? Dan and his team at Halcyon have done their best to build a community that thrives on uncertainty. How do you embrace it as part of your work?

DB: This is not a science, and investing in early stage companies is a high-risk business. So we pride ourselves on one of our core values is being risk tolerant. So we’re never going to know everything about a startup, or even the problem they’re trying to solve – and they won’t either, right? – it is more of an art. We are a non profit, because it allows us to take that risk, because we don’t have the, we don’t have the incentive structure that says we have to, to ensure that we’re driving a return for folks. So it allows us to de risk companies that may be highly risky, because it’s a brand new idea. So we, because of our structure and the folks who support us, we’re able to do that de risking. And we’re still, you know, we still want companies that are going to be sustainable, it’s really evaluating and taking a hard look at the idea, interrogating the innovation and also it’s really getting into understand the founder, because at this earliest stage, even if the idea is brilliant, if the founder can’t deal with the storm of, um, that is entrepreneurship, it’s going to be really hard for them to, to go on this journey because it’s, you know, minimum a five, probably 10 year journey that these folks are on. There’s a lot of people saying no, there’s a lot of people telling you can’t do it. And we talk a lot about in this in the startup ecosystem about recognizing failure and praising failure. We don’t do a good job about it, despite saying that we want to. It’s the, the persistence and the doggedness and the focus on the vision that is most important. And the idea is also important, but that’s, that is, I think, critical, and what at the end of the day distinguishes an inventor from someone who changes the world.

JC: And if you’re not the president, how can you make your big ideas about the world a reality? Shannon had this advice:

SC: When in doubt, keep it local. All politics is local. You know, we’re seeing in different states now that they are trying to, you know, secure abortion rights in their state constitutions. Well, that could be a challenge if there’s a federal ban, but, it’s not insurmountable. And one thing I will say about Americans, is state rights is a really big thing. It is. We might not quite understand quite how the nuances of it work. But I know that if I am in Texas, they take recycling very seriously. I was like, oh, I have made so many judgments about y’all. You’ve got five different bins. A yellow bin, a blue bin, a green bin, a red bin. I was like, what? I was getting yelled at for putting eggshells in the wrong bin and I was like, we don’t do this! I live in New York! We all, it all goes in one bin! But you know, who would think that the oil state would be really serious about composting? Number two, just do your due diligence. We all know that like you can’t believe everything that you read on social media. I’m hoping and I’m kind of seeing trust in NPR and PBS coming back a little bit, not seen as a partisan as it was before. People are moving away from those cable news networks, going back to network news. It’s the people that can connect with voters that’ll make the difference. Whether they win or lose, that’s up to election day, but I think remembering that you have to be part of the process if you want change.

CH: Dan reminded us not to forget the people around you who might be using your idea.

DB: First thing is, if you’ve got an idea and a great solution, really do some deep work in understanding how people would actually use your idea. And I say that because many times, and I saw this actually a lot in international development, global health, which is where I started my career, we thought of ideas based on the way we wish people would behave versus the way people do behave. Right? And this is a, President Lincoln gets a lot of critique for the realpolitik that he had to deal with, right? He dealt with real humans in that time, not imaginary humans who we wish were nobler and better than they actually are. It’s similar for, you know, you as you’re designing a solution as a product – do real investigation into how the person you’re hoping to impact is actually going to experience this thing. And spend a lot of time there. And and it’s, you know, a critical question for me, and if I talk to a founder who hasn’t done that, that’s going to be a ding for me, because it’s like, okay, well, you’ve got a great idea, but do you understand the person who’s going to use it? And do you understand how it’s going to exist in the real world?

JC: Sometimes it’s hard to remember that even one person can have an impact on something they care about. In all this conversation about Lincoln’s big ideas, I’m determined to remember that small things are still more than nothing.

CH: We want to encourage you to think about: what do you need for your ideas to thrive? What can you do to build a better future?

JC: This episode was produced by me, Joan Cummins, with Callie Hawkins, Josie Barcley, and additional support from the President Lincoln’s Cottage team. Music for Q&Abe was written, performed, and is copyrighted by, Clancy Newman.

CH: Q&Abe is made possible by listeners like you. You can support the show by joining Team Lincoln at lincolncottage.org, where you can also check out our other online and in person programming.

JC: To the visitor asking this question, we hope you found some of the solace here that the Lincolns were seeking as well.

CH: Comments? Questions?  Write to us at [email protected].

JC: President Lincoln’s Cottage is a home for brave ideas. Stay curious!