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Lincoln on the Verge: Thirteen Days to Washington
Ted Widmer, The City University of New York

Friday, May 1, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Time Zone: America/Chicago
Local Time: Friday, May 1, 2020 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Event Details:

11 AM CDT
Link to the webinar will be sent in the confirmation email

As Abraham Lincoln began his railroad journey from Springfield, IL to Washington, D.C. to take the Oath of Office on February 11, 1861, he embarked upon what historian Ted Widmer calls an “odyssey to save democracy.”

In Washington, the fate of the nation hung in the balance. The Confederate States of America, formed seven days earlier in Alabama, had elected U.S. Senator Jefferson Davis as their president. At a stop in New York City, Lincoln declared, “There is nothing that can ever bring me willingly to consent to the destruction of this Union.” Lincoln’s 1,900-mile whistle-stop tour through six states took 13 days.

“Around the country, they were waiting for him,” Widmer says. Well-wishers lined the railroad tracks and large crowds gathered on train platforms, at state capitols and parades. A retinue of politicians, reporters and friends packed the train along with its 92 stops.

For this edition of our American Leadership Series, Widmer will share with us his meticulously detailed and colorful story of a leader “discovering his own strength, improvising brilliantly and seeing his country up close.”

Historian Ted Widmer has written books about Abraham Lincoln, Martin Van Buren and John F. Kennedy, as well as about presidential races, democracy and political oratory. He is a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and a distinguished visiting scholar and director of the Humanities Lab at the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York. Widmer has been a library director of the Library of Congress, Brown University and Washington College. He was a foreign policy speechwriter for President Clinton and served as a senior advisor to Secretary Hillary Clinton at the Department of State. Widmer taught at Harvard College, where he received his Ph.D., M.A. and B.A. degrees.

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