From CNN to TIME Magazine, national media outlets turned to Gettysburg College faculty experts to help explain the enduring importance of Abraham Lincoln, as the nation marked the bicentennial of his birth on Feb. 12.
"Here's the man who saved the Union, and we think, 'Boy, if we get into another crisis, we want to know the formula,'" Civil War Era Studies Prof. Allen Guezo told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
Gettysburg College is also marking its historic connection to Lincoln this year.
The Feb. 16 issue of TIME magazine featured Gabor Boritt, director of the college's Civil War Institute, in the article, "What Lincoln Would Do About the Economy." The article says that 100 years after Lincoln's birth it was Boritt, in his first book Lincoln and the Economics of the American Dream, who recognized Lincoln's economic philosophy of "the right to rise." Lincoln championed a huge public-works program and a state-chartered bank to back it up in Illinois before becoming president. "He wanted the government to develop Illinois, to make it a great state in which success would be open to anyone, poor or rich," said Boritt, who also wrote an op-ed that appeared Feb. 15 in the New York Times. Boritt will attend bicentennial celebrations in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 12, as he is a member of the National Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and Pennsylvania Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.
Civil War Era Studies Prof. Allen Guelzo was featured in two PBS documentaries, "The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" and "Looking for Lincoln," and on the National Geographic Channel, "The Real Abraham Lincoln." He published op-eds on Lincoln in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Christian Science Monitor, and was featured in USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and The National Review. In the Washington Post, Guelzo tried to explain the fascination with Lincoln: "He's like the cliffhanger that never gets resolved. Here's the man who saved the Union, and we think, 'Boy, if we get into another crisis, we want to know the formula.' We want to discern another Lincoln. But they are elusive, which means we invent them. So we impute to Lincoln the qualities we hope will lead us through the wilderness. It's called myth. It's called legend." Guelzo is appeared on CNN and spoke at the Union League of Philadelphia's annual Lincoln celebration on Feb. 12.
History Prof. Michael Birkner delivered a keynote address to a special joint session of the New Hampshire legislature on Lincoln's birthday, joining celebrations around the country to honor the nation's 16th president. Birkner is the Benjamin Franklin Professor of the Liberal Arts and professor of history at Gettysburg College, where he serves on the Faculty Advisory Council for the Eisenhower Institute. He chaired the Pulitzer Prize in History Jury for the 2006 award. His scholarship has focused on 19th- and 20th-century America.