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William Jessup University Exhibit: Lincoln, The Constitution and the Civil War

William Jessup University Exhibit:  Lincoln, The Constitution and the Civil War
Emancipation Proclamation

William Jessup University is hosting a major traveling museum featuring a man with a biblical name who served our nation during a very difficult time and helped begin a new path for people of African ancestry in America. 

The authentic legacy of America’s second independence day remains cloaked in mystery and many false assumptions.

William Jessup University, showcases new expansion along a major gateway to Gold Rush California.  This exibit will provided a unique opportunity for intercultural and intergenerational opportunity for the Sacramento region.

People of African ancestry and the entire Sacramento regional community can view documents salient to a better understanding the ongoing journey towards freedom, this 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation.

If we make strong effort toward highlighting this amazing opportuniity our community will be well served and the amazing loss of life before, during and after the U.S. Civil War can provide lessons for civil discourse today.

William Jessup University is a learning community that honors God and pursues wisdom. We are stewards of the creation and respect the dignity and worth of all people. The world and the people of the world need the effective participation of thoughtful individuals as God redeems nature and societal structures as well as individuals. We care about spiritual development, genuine humility in service to others and the development of leadership to mobilize groups to achieve community objectives.

William Jessup University’s Paul Nystrom Library in Rocklin, California is the host of the traveling museum exhibit on President Abraham Lincoln called "Lincoln, the Constitution, and the Civil War."  A collaboration with William Jessup University History and Public Policy Departments, the exhibit is funded by National Endowment for the Humanities, designed by National Constitution Center and administered by American Library Association.

As the only location in the Sacramento it will take community outreach and advocacy for educational opportunity for children from "at risk communities" throughout the California Central Valley to experience this wonderful exhibit.  As our 2012 -2013 school year begins a special effort, especially for people of African ancestry, to view this exhibit is essential to appreciate the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, California State Capitol, Saturday, September 22, 2012.

The exhibit is free and open to the public!!!

The exhibit will be available for viewing from August 16th – September 24th during normal operating hours in the WJU Library, Rocklin, CA.

Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War
Overview of Exhibition Themes

The Civil War as a Constitutional Crisis: In 1861 the issue of slavery precipitated a national crisis framed largely in terms of constitutional issues. The framers of the Constitution had left unanswered some basic questions about the nature of the federal Union they had created: Was the United States truly one nation, or was it a confederacy of sovereign and separate states? How could a country founded on the belief that “all men are created equal” tolerate slavery? In a national crisis, would civil liberties be secure? By 1860, these unresolved questions had become ticking time bombs, ready to explode. Abraham Lincoln’s election as the nation’s first anti-slavery president brought the nation to the brink of war. Lincoln used the tools the Constitution gave him to confront three intertwined issues of the Civil War—the secession of Southern states, slavery and wartime civil liberties.

Secession: By the time Lincoln took the constitutional oath of office as president, seven states had already seceded from the Union. Four more soon followed. Southern secessionists believed that 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 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.

Slavery: Lincoln is widely acknowledged as one of America’s greatest presidents, but he was a controversial figure in his day and his historical reputation is contested today. Lincoln believed that slavery was immoral, but he shared many of the racial prejudices of his day. His policy preferences about slavery and abolition evolved over time. For much of his political career he favored gradual, compensated abolition of slavery and the colonization of freed slaves in South America or Africa. In the crucible of the Civil War, he came to believe that for the nation to survive, slavery had to end. The signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865 served to abolish slavery in the United States.

Civil Liberties: Lincoln claimed extraordinary powers in order to control the chaos of dissent during the Civil War. He suspended the writ of habeas corpus—the provision in the Constitution that protects citizens against arbitrary arrests. By 1863, thousands of civilians had been detained, mostly suspected draft dodgers and deserters and Confederate sympathizers in the Border States and the South. For these actions, Lincoln was denounced as a tyrant by his political foes. He struggled throughout the war to find the appropriate balance between national security and individual rights.

Legacy: Lincoln’s fight to save the Union transformed the nation and the Constitution. Lincoln’s presidency left a legacy of ideals for our nation to live up to—equality, freedom and democracy. The powerful words of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address sought to transmit these ideals into future generations. The exhibition ends by asking visitors whether we as a nation have been faithful to this legacy.

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