by Francis J. Bremer

The thirteen colonies that joined together to become the United States of America were but a part of the first British Empire. They were the product of a broad and dramatic expansion of England that began with the establishment of “plantations” in Ireland during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and reached a peak with the conquest of Canada and the extension of British influence over India during the 1760s. In the New World alone at the time of the American Revolution Britain had close to two dozen colonies, most in the Caribbean, apart from the thirteen rebellious ones. As was the case for other colonizing nations, this expansion was driven by a variety of factors, including religion, nationalism, and economics—often categorized as God, Glory, and Gold. Specific colonies typically combined more than one of these objectives. The Roanoke colony of 1585, for example, was intended to serve as a privateer base that would undermine Spain’s Catholic empire in America, advance the interests of England, and enrich those who would actually capture Spanish possessions.More »

Civil War 150: Online Exhibition

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This online exhibition, produced for the Civil War 150 partnership with The Library of America and the National Endowment for the Humanities, invites the public to gain a deeper appreciation of the most transformative period in American history. An adaptation of the traveling exhibition, this online version uses audio clips of dramatic readings of thirteen documents and selected downloadable documents.

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Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

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Lincoln Speaks: Words That Transformed a Nation

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This exhibition focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s mastery of language and how his words changed the course of history.

This exhibition, originally an online component to a 2015 exhibition at the Morgan Library & Museum, focuses on Abraham Lincoln’s mastery of language and how his words changed the course of history. Today, 150 years after the end of the Civil War, he remains an exemplar of exalted leadership in a time of great crisis and people the world over continue to look to him as a standard-bearer for principled governance.

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Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


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Click here to get a free subscription if you are a K-12 educator or student, and here for more information on the Affiliate School Program, which provides even more benefits.

Otherwise, click here for information on a paid subscription for those who are not K-12 educators or students.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Become an Affiliate School to have free access to the Gilder Lehrman site and all its features.

Click here to start your Affiliate School application today! You will have free access while your application is being processed.

Individual K-12 educators and students can also get a free subscription to the site by making a site account with a school-affiliated email address. Click here to do so now!

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Why Gilder Lehrman?

Your subscription grants you access to archives of rare historical documents, lectures by top historians, and a wealth of original historical material, while also helping to support history education in schools nationwide. Click here to see the kinds of historical resources to which you'll have access and here to read more about the Institute's educational programs.

Individual subscription: $25

Click here to sign up for an individual subscription to the Gilder Lehrman site.

Make Gilder Lehrman your Home for History


Upgrade your Account

We're sorry, but it looks as though you do not have access to the full Gilder Lehrman site.

All K-12 educators receive free subscriptions to the Gilder Lehrman site, and our Affiliate School members gain even more benefits!

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Earn graduate credit through our live online graduate course, Understanding Lincoln. Enrollment is open until May 27, 2014.

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Online Courses

Please note: Registration for the Summer 2014 offering of Understanding Lincoln has concluded. Please click here to learn more about our online graduate courses and discover new offerings as they become available.

Understanding Lincoln

No one would have appreciated the power of online education more than Abraham Lincoln, one of the great self-made, lifelong learners in world history. Join Gilder Lehrman and Dickinson College—and learn like Lincoln.

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October 3 – 31, 2013 Location: Lucius E. and Elise C. Burch Jr. Library, 501 Poplar View Parkway, Collierville, TN
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Lucius E. and Elise C. Burch Jr. Library, 501 Poplar View Parkway, Collierville, TN

The panel exhibition Looking at Lincoln explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Abraham Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside twenty-first-century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.

April 22 – June 3, 2013 Location: Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV
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Nevada Historical Society, 1650 North Virginia Street, Reno, NV

Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times, a traveling panel exhibition, illustrates that two centuries after his birth, Lincoln still speaks to Americans and the world. Raised on the Kentucky and Indiana frontiers, and formed by his experiences as a lawyer in Illinois, Lincoln wrestled with issues of race and rights, with the limits of political leadership, and with civil liberties during wartime.

April 11 – May 2, 2013 Location: Sequoyah Middle School, 3425 S. 360th Street, Auburn, WA
Location: 
Sequoyah Middle School, 3425 S. 360th Street, Auburn, WA

Panel exhibition, with interpretive and educational materials, that explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Abraham Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside twenty-first-century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.

March 19 – April 16, 2013 Location: Putnam County Parks, #1 Valley Park Drive, Hurricane, WV
Location: 
Putnam County Parks, #1 Valley Park Drive, Hurricane, WV

Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times, a traveling panel exhibition, illustrates that two centuries after his birth, Lincoln still speaks to Americans and the world. Raised on the Kentucky and Indiana frontiers, and formed by his experiences as a lawyer in Illinois, Lincoln wrestled with issues of race and rights, with the limits of political leadership, and with civil liberties during wartime.

March 19 – April 16, 2013 Location: Allan Daily High School, 220 N. Kenwood Street, Glendale, CA
Location: 
Allan Daily High School, 220 N. Kenwood Street, Glendale, CA

Panel exhibition, with interpretive and educational materials, that explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Abraham Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside twenty-first-century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.

February 12 – March 12, 2013 Location: Bayonne High School, 669 Avenue A, Bayonne, NJ
Location: 
Bayonne High School, 669 Avenue A, Bayonne, NJ

Panel exhibition, with interpretive and educational materials, that explores images, especially cartoons, as a way of investigating Abraham Lincoln in the context of his times. These cartoons are vividly biting; they invite us to put aside twenty-first-century assumptions and look at events through the eyes of people living in the era. Among the highlights are a California printing of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by Abraham Lincoln and political cartoons relating to the election of 1860.