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Lincoln Scholar to Talk About Lincoln As A Revolutionary Leader; C-SPAN to Broadcast at Later Date

November 8, 2010

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MACOMB, IL – 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 give the final presentation in the "Abraham Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" traveling exhibition for libraries, which is viewable in Western Illinois University's Leslie F. Malpass Library Garden Lounge through Nov. 19.

Levine's talk, "Abraham Lincoln as a Revolutionary Leader," is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 11 in Morgan Hall 109. The lecture is open free to the public. C-SPAN ( will tape the event for replay at a date to be determined.

Levine is the author of "Half Slave and Half Free: The Roots of the Civil War" (2nd edition, New York: Hill & Wang, 2005); and "Confederate Emancipation: Southern Plans to Free and Arm Slaves During the Civil War" (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), which won the 2007 Peter Seaborg Award for Civil War Scholarship and was a finalist for the 2005 Jefferson Davis Award.

The Lincoln traveling exhibition, which consists of a series of museum-style panels, which trace the evolution of President Lincoln's response to the secession crisis of 1860-1861, and his determination to preserve the Union, was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. It has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). "Abraham Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War" ( is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

The exhibit explores how these problems shaped Lincoln's view of his responsibility to uphold the Constitution during the war, said WIU Assistant Professor of History and Project Director Timothy Roberts. It focuses on Lincoln's treatment of civil liberties, especially habeas corpus (a legal action for detainees to seek release from unlawful custody), and his wartime policy toward slavery, culminating in the Emancipation Proclamation.

The traveling exhibition recognizes the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's 1860 presidential campaign and the Civil War Sesquicentennial. In 2009, Lincoln's 200th birthday was celebrated.

WIU is one of only two institutions in Illinois – and one of 50 nationally – to be chosen as a host site for the exhibit. Roberts encourages junior and senior high school teachers who are interested in bringing their classes to view the exhibit to contact him (see below) to arrange for group visits.

Grant money to support this exhibition at Western has been provided by the NEH "We the People" funding initiative, which is intended to encourage and strengthen the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.

Co-sponsors of the Lincoln exhibit speaker series include the McDonough County Bar Association; the Abraham Lincoln Association; the Illinois Humanities Council; the Organization of American Historians; Jerry Spolar, DDS; Nancy Paridy, Esq.; Bill Burton; David and Sally Egler; WIU's College of Arts and Sciences; departments of history, philosophy and religious studies, African-American studies and political science; and the Malpass Library.

For more information, contact Roberts at (309) 298-1053 or e-mail

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