News Release

Lincoln's Louisiana connection discussed at exhibit

Contact: Rene Abadie


     HAMMOND – Louisiana was to play a crucial role in President Abraham Lincoln’s reconstruction of the United States post Civil War, stated a Southeastern Louisiana University history instructor at a program held on campus Tuesday (Feb. 16).
     “It was Lincoln’s geographical and geopolitical union that makes him significant in American history,” says Charles Elliott, instructor in Southeastern’s Department of History and Political Science.
     Because of the role that the Mississippi River and New Orleans could play in the future growth of America, Lincoln knew it was important to bring Louisiana back into the Union, he added.
     In his lecture entitled, “Lincoln’s Louisiana Connection,” Elliott addressed the experiences and influence that Louisiana -- and especially the port of New Orleans -- had on Lincoln throughout his life. He covered Lincoln’s experiences from selling flatboat cargo along the Mississippi River to the horrors of witnessing the slave trade in New Orleans.
Elliott’s main contention was that Lincoln’s primary reason for the war was neither slavery nor constitutional rights, but the geopolitical reunion of the states.
     “Lincoln’s argument is simply a geopolitical contention based on his good and common sense and observations that he learned on the river down to New Orleans,” said Elliott. “His American West depended upon access to reasonable markets reached only through New Orleans.”
     This lecture was the first of six that will be presented over the next several weeks in conjunction with Southeastern’s hosting of the national touring exhibit “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.”  The exhibit – organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office – is displayed on the first floor of Southeastern’s Sims Memorial Library. The exhibit is available for viewing through March 25.
     The programs are free and open to the public. All lectures are presented at 2 p.m. in the library.
     Upcoming presentations include:
     Feb. 23, third floor: “Abraham Lincoln and the Value of a Human Life,” presented by Michael Ralph of the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis, New York University.
     March 1, third floor: “Lincoln and the Constitution,” presented by Peter Petrakis, Southeastern associate professor of political science.
     March 10, Room 474: “Log Cabin Online,” a hands-on guided tour of digital resources about Lincoln, presented by Kathryn Munson, Southeastern assistant professor and librarian in the Access Services Department, and Laura Hancock with the College of Education and Human Development’s Teaching with Primary Sources project. This lecture will be held in Room 474 of the library.
     March 16, third floor: “Lincoln and His Generals, presented by Harry S. Laver, Southeastern associate professor of history and co-editor of “The Art of Command: Military Leadership from George Washington to Colin Powell.”
     March 23, third floor: “Lincoln and Habeas Corpus,” a discussion on the constitutionality of Lincoln’s decision to incarcerate American citizens without formal criminal charges by Ron Traylor, Southeastern instructor of history and a specialist in the areas of slavery and Reconstruction.
     A closing ceremony for the exhibit will be held Thursday, March 24, at 2 p.m.

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