JOHNSON CITY (June 12, 2013) – A series of free public lectures held in conjunction with the “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” exhibit at East Tennessee State University’s Reece Museum will begin this Friday, June 14.
The traveling exhibition examines how President Abraham Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the Civil War – the secession of the Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.
Friday’s talk, “Words Fitly Spoken: Abraham Lincoln, the Constitution, and the American Civil War,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the museum following the 6 p.m. opening reception for the exhibit. It will be delivered by Dr. Stephen Berry, chairholder of the University of Georgia’s Gregory Chair in the Civil War Era.
Berry will offer a new look at Lincoln’s understanding of the relationship between the principles of the
Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A former National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Berry is author of “House of Abraham: Lincoln and the Todds, A Family Divided by War” and “All That Makes a Man: Love and Ambition in the Civil War South.”
Three additional lectures by faculty members in the Department of History in ETSU’s College of Arts and Sciences will round out the series. Each will begin at 5:30 p.m.
“Bid War’s Infernal Carnage Cease: Thomas A.R. Nelson, the Constitution, and Secession in East Tennessee” will be addressed by Dr. Tom Lee, associate professor, on Thursday, June 20. In his talk, Lee will explore the secession crisis, linking the constitutional arguments Lincoln made against secession to those made by East Tennessee Unionists.
In “A New Birth of Freedom in the Southern Mountains: Emancipation in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina” on Thursday, July 11, Dr. Steven Nash, assistant professor, will discuss the process of emancipation, underscoring the evolution of Lincoln’s thought and culminating in his use of the president’s war powers to issue the proclamation.
The series concludes on Thursday, July 18, with “Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and the Constitution” by Dr. Andrew Slap. This talk will link the connections between the issues confronting Lincoln, their impact on East Tennesseans, and the larger lessons of the Civil War as they apply today. Slap, professor of History, is editor of “Reconstructing Appalachia: The Civil War’s Aftermath” and author of “The Doom of Reconstruction: The Liberal Republicans in the Civil War Era.”
The “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” exhibit, which runs from June 13-July 26, includes informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. It is organized by the National Constitution Center and American Library Association Public Programs Office and made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Great Ideas Brought to Life.
Regular museum hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday; and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday.For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, contact the Reece Museum at (423) 439-4392.