Archive for Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Exhibit detailing life of Lincoln on display at Lecompton’s Territorial Capital Museum

July 6, 2011


A traveling exhibit chronicling the life and times of Abraham Lincoln is on display in Lecompton, the site of a pivotal decision that helped clear the way for his election as president.

The exhibit, “Abraham Lincoln: A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times,” is a project of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and financed by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The exhibit is on display through July 24 at the Territorial Capital Museum, 640 E. Woodson, Lecompton. The site is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.

The pro-slavery Lecompton Constitution, in 1858, led to acrimonious debate in Washington, D.C., where it had the support of President Buchanan and a majority of senators. The measure — which called for the Kansas territory to be admitted to the union as a slave state — failed in the House of Representatives, 120-112.

The Democratic Party then split, fielding two candidates — one proslavery, one against — for the 1860 presidential election, which also included the new Constitutional Union Party.

Lincoln, a Republican, would win with less than 40 percent of the popular vote.

“The split certainly contributed to Lincoln’s success as a presidential candidate,” said Susan Saidenberg, the institute’s project director for the exhibit, which has traveled to 50 communities and historic sites since 2008.

Lecompton, she said, “has a history, and that history connects to Lincoln.”

Paul Bahnmaier, president of the Lecompton Historical Society, said he was excited to welcome the exhibit, one that includes reproductions of photos and documents that tell Lincoln’s story.

Just think, Bahnmaier said: Lincoln’s history might have stopped short of the White House had the Lecompton Constitution been adopted in Washington.

“What would it have been like? It might have been four years later,” Bahnmaier said. “How would four years have changed history?”


Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 11 months ago

This exhibit, combined with the ongoing series on the Civil War from the New York Times, will attract a lot of people. It is a shame that there isn't some way to include the New York Times history, which includes a lot of events in detail.

Lecompton, please welcome your visitors! Get the word out!


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