by Allen C. Guelzo

No one seemed less well-cast for the role of reformer, in an age of reform, than Abraham Lincoln. To begin with, he was a stranger, emotionally and intellectually, to evangelical Christianity, the great engine of reform in the nineteenth century. Raised in a household of uncompromisingly Calvinistic Baptists who abhorred slavery, the young Lincoln rejected the authority of any religion and never joined any religious congregation. His stepmother, Sarah Bush Lincoln, remembered that her stepson “had no particular religion,” and when pressed on the subject, Lincoln himself would only say that “when he did good he felt good, when he did bad he felt bad.” That, said Lincoln, “is my religion.”More »

Essays

Abraham Lincoln and Jacksonian Democracy

Author: Sean Wilentz Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Fragment of Lincoln’s “House Divided” speech, ca. 1857. (GLC02533)

Lincoln and Abolitionism

Author: Douglas L. Wilson Curriculum Subjects: Grade Levels:

Lincoln at Cooper Union

Author: Harold Holzer Curriculum Subjects: Art, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Featured Primary Sources

Abraham Lincoln’s patent, May 22, 1849, page 3. (Gilder Lehrman Collection)

Abraham Lincoln, Inventor, 1849

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Grade Levels:
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment concerning the abolition of slavery, ca. July 1

Lincoln on abolition in England and the United States, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Government and Civics Grade Levels: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
Abraham Lincoln, speech fragment on slavery and the American government, ca. 185

Lincoln speech on slavery and the American Dream, 1858

Creator: Abraham Lincoln Curriculum Subjects: Economics, Government and Civics Grade Levels: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13+
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Multimedia

Abraham Lincoln: An Extraordinary Life

Speaker(s): Richard Carwardine Duration: 34 minutes 34 seconds

Abraham Lincoln’s Inaugural Journey

Speaker(s): Harold Holzer Duration: 17 minutes 30 seconds

Honor’s Voice: The Transformation of Abraham Lincoln

Speaker(s): Douglas Wilson Duration: 41 minutes 54 seconds
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