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Diana Schaub

Frederick Douglass on Lincoln and Emancipation

Before the Emancipation Proclamation, Frederick Douglass had been fiercely critical of Lincoln. But after Lincoln’s death, Douglass spoke appreciatively of Lincoln, praising his statesmanship in preserving the Union and emancipating slaves.

In this video, Diana Schaub, professor of political science at Loyola University-Maryland and Lucas Morel, professor of politics at Washington and Lee University, discuss in particular the April 14, 1876 speech Douglass delivered on the occasion of the dedication of the Freedmen’s Monument, which was the nation’s first statue of the slain president. Arguing that Lincoln had two goals in the recently ended war–to preserve the Union, and to emancipate the slaves–Douglass said that “but for the former, [Lincoln] could not do that latter.”

As Professor Morel notes, Frederick Douglass made a larger point to his audience and the nation about Lincoln’s statesmanship: Douglass used his oration to educate not just whites but blacks in terms of how politics could, and should, be done in a noble way.

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Scared straight into the voting booth

Over at The New York Times‘s “Campaign Stops” blog, Ann Beeson, a lecturer at the University of Texas and former legal director of the ACLU, notices that many young people are very involved in different civic organizations, but that few of them actually vote.

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Event re-cap: Monumental Fights


Missed Friday’s discussion on “Monumental fights: The role of memorials in civic life”? Don’t worry–you can watch the video of the event here, read about it it in the Washington Examiner, or check out our event re-cap.

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A rather old constitution

As we noted in February, according to a study by David S. Law and Mila Versteeg, the “U.S. Constitution appears to be losing its appeal as a model for constitutional drafters elsewhere.” Indeed, when Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Egypt earlier this year, she remarked that we in America have “a rather old constitution” and that, instead of looking to it for guidance in constitution writing, one might instead look at the constitutions of South Africa or the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Celebrating Washington’s birthday

George Washington was born on this day, February 22, in 1732. Today, take some time to read from his Farewell Address, which he delivered on September 19, 1796, before retiring to Mt. Vernon after completing his second term as President of the United States.

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Event re-cap: First Among Equals


At an event on Friday sponsored by the AEI Program on American Citizenship in celebration of George Washington’s birthday, leading American political thinkers came together to discuss Washington’s  presidency and the importance to the nation of having a time set apart to remember and appreciate its founders.

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AEI