A Spirit and Power Far Beyond Its Letter

The Emancipation Proclamation opened the door for Pennsylvania's African-American soldiers

The scene was wild and grand.Read more »

Lincoln & Douglass

The prairie lawyer president and outspoken abolitionist formed an unusual friendship

At dusk in early April 1866, a large crowd filed into Representatives Hall of the imposing Illinois Capitol in Springfield. Just 11 months earlier, President Lincoln’s rapidly blackening body had lain here in state as thousands of townspeople had filed past to say goodbye. Read more »

Five Minutes To Freedom

The Vigil That Put an End to Slavery

The crowded, torchlit, tension-filled scene above hangs today in the White House room in which Abraham Lincoln affixed his signature to the Emancipation Proclamation—using a gold nib and writing carefully so that no one, seeing a hesitant line, could ever say he had been anything but firm of purpose. “If my name ever goes into history,” he said, “it will be for this act.” Read more »

Our Two Greatest Presidents

Without doubt they were Washington, who walked carefully within the Constitution, and Lincoln, who stretched it as far as he dared

The myth and the reality of American history seldom come within shouting distance of one another. What the average American believes and what the historians would like him to believe about, let us say, the first winter in Plymouth, or the Boston Massacre, or Mrs. Bixby’s five sons, are two quite different things.