Sunday, September 27, 2009

Online Exhibit Review: Debating Emancipation at the Lincoln Cottage

Last winter I attended the "Lincoln and the South" conference in Richmond, Virginia. At one of the sessions Frank Milligan, Director of the President Lincoln's Cottage at the Soldiers Home spoke about the history of the cottage (more mansion than cottage) and how they are presently attempting to interpret the site. I was certainly impressed with the site and I hope to make a visit when I get to D.C. in the future.

To help interpret the importance of this historic site where Lincoln's partly formulated his decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, the Lincoln Cottage has developed an online exhibit. In this online exhibit you an active participant in the debate and are able to place yourself in the shoes of Lincoln's cabinet members and see how they advised the president in this epic announcement.

Part of "Debating Emancipation" follows Doris Kearns Goodwin's lead in her best selling A Team of Rivals. The site gives short biographies on the cabinet members, their thoughts on issues related directly to emancipation, and lists their political rivals, and relationship with Lincoln.

As you travel throughout the site you will get to learn about figures such as David Hunter and John C. Fremont who played secondary roles and the events in Missouri and South Carolina that they instigated. Also you can learn about congressional acts such as the confiscation acts that played into Lincoln's evolution in thinking on race and winning the war. In addition, as you go, you get to test your knowledge of what you have learned to advance to the next section. The site concludes with Lincoln's proclamation and what you as a cabinet member did to help or hinder the president's decision.

Be sure to take a few minutes to visit this site and learn more about this event that is one of the most important in our nation's history. The following is a link to the site:

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