Lincoln exhibit opens in Winona
WINONA — The constitutional issues confronting Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War are examined in a new exhibit, "Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War," opening Wednesday at the Winona County History Center.
"As a new president, Abraham Lincoln was faced with enormous challenges," said Jennifer Weaver, assistant director of the Winona County History Center. "This exhibition shows how Lincoln struggled with issues of secession, slavery and civil liberties, all questions our country's founding charter left unanswered."
The traveling exhibition was organized by the National Constitution Center and the American Library Association. The exhibition encourages visitors to see how Lincoln attempted to balance his war-time policy preferences with American traditions and ideals of liberty and equality.
Lincoln was elected president in 1860, with the country on the brink of being torn apart by rebellion. Among the issues he faced was whether the United States was one nation or a confederation of sovereign states. At the same time, he had to wrestle with the contradiction posed by slavery in a country that professed to believe that all men are created equal. And as the crisis deepened, questions of civil liberties needed to be addressed.
"The exhibit helps visitors understand why Lincoln's struggle with the Constitution still matters today," Weaver said.
Large panels help visitors examine the issues and options Lincoln faced. The panels feature photographic reproductions of Lincoln's first inaugural address, the Emancipation Proclamation and other documents.
For a local touch, the Winona County History Center has added original letters from area Civil War soldiers and original documents signed by Lincoln.