Historian Douglas Brinkley celebrates Lincoln’s Illinois roots
Published: February 13, 2009.
Award-winning author and historian
Douglas Brinkley celebrates Abraham
Lincoln's 200th birthday at
Lewis University in Romeoville.
Award-winning author and historian Douglas Brinkley shared insights and dispelled popular myths about President Abraham Lincoln during a presentation, “Lincoln: From the State of Illinois to the Nation,” Feb. 12 at Lewis University in Romeoville. The Lewis University History Center: Urban, Cultural and Catholic History of the Upper Midwest hosted the event on the occasion of the Lincoln Bicentennial. It was co-sponsored by Lewis University and Give Something Back Foundation in Lockport.
“It is truly a great honor to be here in Illinois to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday,” announced Brinkley, a presidential biographer and professor of history at Rice University. He is also the official historian for CBS news.
Brinkley discussed how the nation appreciated Lincoln’s Illinois perspective of the country as encompassing more than the East Coast. He also complimented Lincoln’s ability to communicate with the nation using common vernacular in an uncommon setting in 19th century. Brinkley said, “He found the magical rhythms of the Bible prose and put it into our national politics.”
Not only has Lincoln “provided solace for great leaders,” but there are lessons in Lincoln’s life for today’s American citizens that are in the midst of a national financial crisis, added Brinkley. He said, “The point of history is to remind us that our own times are not uniquely oppressive.”
Lincoln proclaimed the connection of the Great Lakes with the Mississippi River through the I & M Canal as a Congressman, but then faced vast challenges to preserve the union as the nation’s 16th president. Brinkley said, “He was a man of compromise.”
The presentation at Lewis University was the kick-off to the dedication of Lockport’s Lincoln Landing, a joint project of the Will County Historical Society and The Give Something Back Foundation.
The new interactive park features lesson plans for students to explore the exhibit. A team of local educators and Lewis University students wrote the curriculum, under the direction of Dr. Dennis Cremin, director of the Lewis University History Center: Urban, Cultural and Catholic History of the Upper Midwest and assistant professor of history, and the support of the Give Something Back Foundation.
A Catholic university sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis offers nearly 80 undergraduate majors and programs of study, accelerated degree completion options for working adults, various aviation programs and 22 graduate programs in nine fields. The 10th largest private, not-for-profit university in Illinois is being honored for the fifth consecutive year by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report. For more information please visit www.lewisu.edu.