October 08, 2012

Exhibit, discussions focus on Lincoln, Constitution

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A traveling exhibition that examines how President Abraham Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crisis of the Civil War will open at the SIU School of Law next week.

"Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," will be on display at the law school at Southern Illinois University Carbondale until Nov. 28. The exhibition is part of a series of public programs that will take place during the next month exploring such topics as civil liberties during the Civil War; Constitutional issues raised during Lincoln's presidency, and free speech limits in Southern Illinois during the Civil War.

The SIU School of Law is sponsoring free programs and other events for the public in connection with the exhibition. The exhibit will be on display in the law school's formal lounge, and available for viewing during regular building hours.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and camera crews are welcome to cover the exhibition and public events. For more information on the event, contact Alicia Ruiz, the law school's director of communication and outreach, at 618/453-8700.

The traveling exhibition includes panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln's first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the Thirteenth Amendment.

"We are delighted to have been selected as a site for this exhibition," said Douglas W. Lind, law library director and associate professor of law at the SIU School of Law. "As a new president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with enormous challenges. This exhibition shows how Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties -- all questions our country's founding charter left unanswered. Each section of the exhibit features information about a different aspect of Lincoln's presidency. For example, the section about slavery examines the various policy options Lincoln once embraced and how his thoughts about slavery evolved over time. Most importantly, the exhibit helps visitors understand why Lincoln's struggle with the Constitution still matters today."

The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"I am very excited about hosting this exhibit at the law school," Dean Cynthia L. Fountaine said. "I believe it will stimulate good discussion among our law students about the constitutional issues raised during Lincoln's presidency, and how those issues are still relevant today. I also hope that the exhibit will bring members of the community to the law school who might not otherwise visit."

In addition to the exhibit, public programs are:

  • Oct. 17 -- 5 p.m., SIU School of Law Courtroom. "Overview of Constitutional Issues Raised During Lincoln's Presidency," Steven J. Macias, assistant professor, Constitutional Law, SIU School of Law. "Was Abraham Lincoln Justified in Suspending the Writ of Habeas Corpus?" John Lupton, Director of History Programs, Illinois Supreme Court Historic Preservation Commission.
  • Oct. 22 -- 6 p.m., John A. Logan Museum, 1613 Edith St., Murphysboro. "Free Speech or Treasonous Talk? Civilian Arrests in Southern Illinois during the Civil War," Mike Jones, John A. Logan Museum director, and Douglas W. Lind, SIU School of Law.
  • 5 p.m., Nov. 8 - SIU School of Law Courtroom. "Abraham Lincoln and Wartime Civil Liberties," Brian Andreasen, research historian, Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

More information on the exhibition and public programs is available at law.siu.edu/Lincoln/lincolnexhibit.php, or by calling 618/453-3258.