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The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural
Long term exhibition
Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home
Manchester, Vermont

“The American Ideal: Abraham Lincoln and the Second Inaugural” is a semi –permanent exhibit set within the context of Lincoln’s greatest speech. It tells the story of how the Civil War and Lincoln helped bring life and meaning to the promise of the American Ideal of equality, justice and opportunity for all, the then radical beliefs first enunciated in the Declaration of Independence.

This is achieved by thoughtfully using text from the speech, with its 703 words broken into clauses around the room. Further enhancing Lincoln’s message are powerful artifacts and visuals from the collections of Hildene and Brown University’s John Hay Library, among them: The Council of War bronze, 1868 by John Rogers; American Bible gifted to Lincoln in 1861; First Reading of Emancipation Proclamation to the Cabinet, print #1 ordered by the President before his death in 1865; a life mask of the President; and one of the few Lincoln stovepipe hats in existence.

The “American Ideal” fits squarely with the mission of Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home: Values into Action.

Image courtesy Hildene, The Lincoln Family Home