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The John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy

Abraham Lincoln and Democracy in America

May 9-11, 2003
The John M. Olin Center for Inquiry into the Theory and Practice of Democracy
The University of Chicago

Conference Schedule


Abraham Lincoln is commonly praised as "the greatest among those associated with the cause of popular government." Indeed, Lincoln seems to have dedicated his career, to a degree that has been unusual even for politicians in democratic times, to demonstrating (as he put it) "the capability of a people to govern themselves." So we propose to examine the question: What is Lincoln's legacy for democracy in America? How far, and in what ways, was Lincoln the author of a "new birth of freedom" for the democracy that he served? We propose to discuss at the conference Lincoln's contributions to our understanding of the idea of equality, patriotism, the place of religion in public life, civil rights, the importance of constitutionalism in maintaining democratic institutions, the role of commander-in-chief in democracy at war, and the problem of civil liberties in wartime, among other topics.

All conference sessions will be held in the third floor lecture room of Swift Hall (1025 E. 58th St.). Questions may be directed to Stephen Gregory (773-702-3423; stephen-gregory@uchicago.edu )

Conference Schedule

Abraham Lincoln and Democracy in America

University of Chicago
Swift Hall
May 9-11, 2003

Friday, May 9
9:30-11:30      Chair: Ralph Lerner, University of Chicago
Sanford Levinson
     School of Law
     University of Texas
Abraham Lincoln as Constitutionalist: Assessing his Decision to Go to War
1:30-4:30      Chair: William Allen, Michigan State University
Allen Guelzo
     Dean, Templeton Honors College
     Eastern University
Providence and Prudence: Abraham Lincoln's Search for a Moral Liberalism
Lucas Morel
     Politics Department
     Washington and Lee University
Lincoln and the Challenge of American Republicanism: Equality, Consent and the Perpetuation of our Political Institutions
Saturday, May 10
9:30-11:30      Chair: Wilson Carey McWilliams, Rutgers University
David Blight
     Department of History
     Amherst College
Race and "Rebirth": The Relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass in Language, War and Memory
1:30-4:30      Chair: Jean Yarbrough, Bowdoin College
Steven Kautz
     Department of Political Science
     Michigan State University
"All Men Are Created Equal": Lincoln on Equality and Emancipation
William Lee Miller
     Miller Center of Public Affairs
     University of Virginia
So Vast and So Sacred a Trust
Sunday, May 11
9:30-12:30      Chair: Peter Ahrensdorf, Davidson College
Phillip Paludan
     Abraham Lincoln Presidential Center
     for Governmental Studies
     University of Illinois at Springfield
Lincoln and the Frame of Democracy
Michael Zuckert
     Department of Government and
     International Affairs
     University of Notre Dame
"Whether this Nation…can long endure": Lincoln, the Founders, and the Problem of the Incomplete Constitution

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Revised: December 8, 2001