On the 3rd floor that the Ford’s Theatre facility for Education and Leadership, friend will discover an exhibit dubbed “Lincoln and also the Presidency.” This is composed of 2 statues–Franklin Delano Roosevelt and also Dwight Eisenhower–as well together a collection of panels on 7 presidents and their relationships to the memory of Lincoln.

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The entire 3rd floor highlights the ubiquity of Lincoln in American society including Lincoln Logs, comic books and cartoons. As the unified States begins to prepare for the 2016 presidential election, this certain exhibit top top Lincoln and the Presidency raises two amazing questions:

How have actually presidents or presidential hopefuls invoked Lincoln in contemporary political debate? In the 21st century, i beg your pardon party could or should case ownership of ethical Abe?

The Center’s exhibition demonstrates exactly how a number of sitting presidents have involved with Lincoln’s leadership and thinking. Some have contemplated just how Lincoln would take care of a particularly difficult situation. Throughout hard times, Theodore Roosevelt looked to a portrait of the 16th chairman he maintained behind his desk. Others, like Franklin Roosevelt and also Richard Nixon, make trips to the Lincoln Memorial. Roosevelt went to to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday, when Nixon go after the intrusion of Cambodia and Kent State shooting to talk with protestors.

Throughout the 20th century and also into the 21st, both Republican and also Democratic candidates have actually evoked Lincoln’s memory and words in your political positioning. Republicans favor William McKinley, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and also John McCain, embraced their party’s nomination because that the presidency highlighting your allegiance to the “The Party of Lincoln.”

In 1929, Franklin Roosevelt penned a letter saying, “I think that is time for us Democrats to claim Lincoln as among our own.” The then-governor of new York opened the possibility that Democrats, and not simply Republicans, could insurance claim ownership the Lincoln.

More recently, Barack Obama has actually sought to attach with the soul of his predecessor native Illinois. Not just did Obama notice his candidacy top top Lincoln’s birthday, yet he also cited Lincoln in his 2008 victory speech, took his first oath the office top top the same scriptures Lincoln used, and modeled his early on cabinet after ethical Abe’s bipartisan, wartime cabinet.

Not everyone, however, has quoted Lincoln accurately. World inside and outside of the political realm have actually misquoted the 16th president so frequently that Don E. Fehrenbacher compiled a overview to evaluate the validity the Lincoln statements. Historians like David Blight and also James McPherson have suggested that the memory of Lincoln is extremely malleable—able come fill almost any function we have the right to think of for the 16th president.

As the United claims gears up for the 2016 presidential election, this exhibition on “Lincoln and the Presidency” motivates us to think about the heritage of Lincoln and also his role in politics debate.

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Further Reading:

David W. Blight, “The Theft of Lincoln in Scholarship, Politics and Public Memory,” in Our Lincoln: new Perspectives top top Lincoln and history World, edited by Eric Foner. New York: Norton, 2008.

On nominee acceptance speeches, consult this links:


William Howard Taft (1908) Wendell L. Willkie (1940) Dwight Eisenhower (1956) Richard Nixon (1960, 1968, 1972) Barry Goldwater (1964) Bob Dole (1996) George W. Shrub (2000)


Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1940) man F. Kennedy (1960) Jimmy Carter (1980) Walter Mondale (1984) invoice Clinton (1992) man Kerry (2004) Barack Obama (2008, 2012)

Chuck Welsko is a formerDigital jobs Intern, andHistory phd student in ~ West Virginia university where he researches 19th-Century America, with a details focus top top the cultural, political and social size of the civil War.