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"Abraham Lincoln as a War President" Panel Oct. 13

October 12, 2010

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First release, Sept. 16 - Traveling Exhibit of "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" at WIU Oct. 7-Nov. 19

MACOMB, IL – The first of three special presentations complementing the traveling exhibition "Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War," which is on display in the Leslie F. Malpass Library Garden Lounge on the Western Illinois University campus until Nov. 19, will focus on "Abraham Lincoln as a War President."

The panel presentation, open free to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13 in Morgan Hall 109. WIU Assistant Professor of History and Lincoln Project Director Timothy Roberts will moderate the panel of three experts offering different perspectives on Lincoln during the Civil War.

Larry Balsamo, WIU history professor emeritus and former history department chair, will discuss Lincoln's wartime powers under the U.S. Constitution. Balsamo will focus on Lincoln's understanding of his the "war power," a phrase he coined, and his policy toward slavery. Rick Hardy, a professor in Western's political science department, will discuss the issues and implications of the landmark case of "Ex parte Merryman." The case concerned Lincoln's decision to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, or arrested persons' right to trial, at the outbreak of the Civil War, testing the Constitution's principle of due process of the laws. Perhaps 15,000 individuals were arrested and denied trial in the North during the Civil War, noted Roberts. Antonio Delgado, Illinois Humanities Council Road Scholar, will discuss Lincoln from a Pan-American perspective. Delgado will discuss Lincoln's relationship with other leaders in the Americas and compare the U.S. abolition of slavery to emancipation movements elsewhere.

Two more speakers are planned: the Honorable Frank Williams, former Chief Justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, will present "Abraham Lincoln and Civil Liberties in Wartime" at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27 in Morgan Hall 109; and Bruce Levine, the J.G. Randall Distinguished Professor of History and Professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will present "Abraham Lincoln as a Revolutionary Leader" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 in Morgan Hall 109.

The exhibition "Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War," was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

High school and middle school teachers interested in bringing classes to view the exhibition should contact Roberts at (309) 298-1053, or e-mail to make arrangements for group visits.

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