Abraham Lincolnís Expressions of Faith: Spirituality in War and Peace

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 11:50 AM
Room 208 (Hynes Convention Center)
Richard Schubart , Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, NH
The Bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth has occasioned a stunning outpouring of books, articles and manuscripts re-evaluating virtually every aspect of his life and his conduct of the Civil War. Yet the question of his personal and public religious faith and expression has remained a question mark when not the cause of strong argument, much of the latter tied up in current political or religious debates. This paper will re-examine the historical debate and analyze the evolution of Lincoln’s religious expression in both personal and public terms from his early years on the frontier to his presidential leadership during the civil war years. From 1861 to 1865 there is a noticeable shift in Lincoln’s faith based language in direct reference to the amount of death and destruction that accompanied the onslaught of Civil War.