Lincoln Exhibit at Urbana University - Secession!

The Union Is DissolvedURBANA, Ohio (January 22, 2014) - Opening at Urbana University on February 8 is the national traveling exhibit, “Abraham Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War.” The exhibit will be on display in the campus library, 579 College Way, Urbana, until March 21. There is no admission fee.

The exhibit considers President Abraham Lincoln’s use of the Constitution during the American Civil War. The country had not been at war with itself before the 1860’s; Lincoln was faced with numerous questions about how to manage and lead the nation during a time of confrontation.

By the time Lincoln took the oath of office as president in March 1861, seven states had already seceded from the Union. Four more soon followed. Southern secessionists believed they had the right to withdraw their states’ ratification of the Constitution and dissolve their connection to the Union.

Northerners, however, rejected this idea of “state sovereignty.” They believed that when the Constitution was ratified, a united people had established an indivisible nation. Lincoln believed that state secession was unconstitutional and undemocratic.

At Lincoln’s inauguration, he promised that the government would not attack the South if the Union was not attacked. But he also warned that he had taken a solemn oath to “preserve, protect, and defend” the Constitution. What Southerners heard that day were not words of moderation but a declaration of war.

Visitors to the exhibit can learn more about the constitutional issues faced by Lincoln and the country. The exhibit is on display in the University library, located at 579 College Way, Urbana and can be viewed during regular library hours: Monday – Thursday 8 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.; Saturday 12 noon – 4 p.m.; and Sunday 7 – 10 p.m. from February 8 – March 21, 2014. The library and exhibit will observe the following spring break hours during the week of Monday, March 8 to Friday, March 14, 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For details about the exhibit hours and associated programs, see the website: http://www.urbana.edu/resources/community/Lincoln2014.html

Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War, a traveling exhibition for libraries, 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. Lincoln: the Constitution and the Civil War is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.

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