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Exhibits on American History

Religion in America – Religion has played a vital and controversial role in American life since the founding of the nation.  The separation of church and state in a sense defined America; the exact meaning of that separation in law and practice has been a subject of ongoing debate.  Religion has affected the outcome of elections since 1800 and helped determine long-term voting patterns.  It has motivated great social and political movements, such as abolition and prohibition, and helps explain the often missionary zeal of American foreign policy.  America changed old religions and spawned new ones, and these religions have changed America and the world.

From Bullets to Ballots: The Election of 1800 — The Ashbrook Center, with the permission of The Claremont Institute, is pleased to bring John Zvesper’s monograph From Bullets to Ballots to TeachingAmericanHistory.org. The American founding did not end with the ratification of the Constitution. The experience of political party making in the 1790s set into motion the regime created by the constitution-making of the 1770s and 1780s. Americans can learn important things about their politics today by reflecting on the experience of the 1790s. And if American political experience has lessons for other democracies, some of the most important of those lessons can be found here. For Zvesper’s own view of how his book differs from other works on the 1790s, see this book review.

Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial —– February 12, 2009 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln. Born to poor farmers in a humble backwater, Lincoln lacked the distinguished pedigree of many of his presidential predecessors. This product of a border state caught between the free North and the slave South, however, represented the last, best chance to ensure, “that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” We present here a collection of resources on Abraham Lincoln. Included are many of Lincoln’s most notable speeches and letters, commentary and lectures by leading historians and political scientists, original lesson plans developed by history professors and master classroom teachers, and links to addition web resources.

The Civil War Sesquicentennial –— The Civil War began on April 12, 1861 at 4:30am when Confederate troops opened fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Those shots marked the beginning of a nearly four-year struggle that ultimately determined whether our nation would honor the principles upon which it was founded or be ripped asunder by the conflicts that had existed between principle and practice since the founding. We present here a collection of resources on the Civil War. Included are many of the era’s most notable speeches and letters, commentary and lectures by leading historians and political scientists, original lesson plans developed by history professors and master classroom teachers, and links to additional web resources.

 

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