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Feb 05

Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

To understand President Abraham Lincoln, one must understand the private citizen who gave the extraordinary antislavery speech at Peoria on October 16, 1854. This three hour address marked the turning point in his political pilgrimage. It dramatically altered the political career of the speaker and, as a result, the history of America. In Lincoln at Peoria, Lewis Lehrman examines the seminal Peoria speech and the historical context in which Lincoln delivered it. While some may argue that Lincoln underwent a transformation upon assuming the Presidency in 1861, Lehrman contends the great divide between the statecraft of his presidential years and his early legislative years originates with the speech at Peoria in 1854.

The Peoria speech is also Lincoln's primary statement about the nature of early American history and its peculiar institution of slavery. The Peoria address was rigorous, logical, and grounded in thorough historical research marking Lincoln's reentry into politics and his preparation for the Presidency in 1861. Lincoln's contemporaries noted that the speech catapulted Lincoln into the national debates over slavery and into national politics for the rest of his life.

Lewis Lehrman is dedicated to reviving the teaching of American history in its schools and colleges. He has written and lectured widely on American history and economics and has written for publications such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, National Review, the New York Sun and Policy Review. He also writes for the Lincoln Institute which has created award-winning websites on the 16th President. With Richard Gilder, Mr. Lehrman built the Gilder Lehrman Collection of original historical manuscripts and documents to teach American history from primary sources, now on deposit for public access at the New York Historical Society. He is a member of the Advisory Committee of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and the Lincoln Forum and was presented the National Humanities Medal at the White House in 2005 for his work in American history.

More About the Speakers

Lewis E. Lehrman
Member of the Advisory Committee of the
Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission,
and author of Lincoln at Peoria

Hosted By

Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D. Edwin J. Feulner, Ph.D.

Founder, Chairman of the Asian Studies Center, and Chung Ju-yung Fellow Read More