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Abraham Lincoln and the Forging of Modern America

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Abraham Lincoln and the Forging of Modern America” consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for eighty school teachers on Abraham Lincoln and his role in American history, using sites in and near Springfield, Illinois. The program investigates four central themes of Abraham Lincoln’s public life: nationalism, power, freedom, and race. The project considers such subjects as nationalism and politics in the Civil War era; Lincoln, slavery, and race; Lincoln and the Constitution; Lincoln, the radicals, and Emancipation; Walt Whitman and Lincoln; visual art on Lincoln and the war, using images from the NEH’s Picturing America portfolio; African-American women’s experiences as an example of racial issues; and Lincoln’s legacy. Participants visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Lincoln Home, Lincoln’s Law Office in Springfield, Illinois, and the historical reconstruction of New Salem Village, where Lincoln began his career. Teachers also explore the exhibit “Lincoln and the Constitution,” on display at the Lovejoy Library. Participants read writings by Lincoln, including the Lincoln-Douglas debates, the Emancipation Proclamation, the Gettysburg Address, the Second Inaugural Address, and selected letters; writings by African-American women; and secondary works by Eric Foner, David Donald, John Stauffer, James McPherson, Philip Shaw Paludan, David Potter, Barry Schwartz, Garry Wills, and Lerone Bennett, Jr. The staff includes project director Caroline Pryor (education, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville [SIUE]); historians Stephen Hansen (SIUE), Iver Bernstein (Washington University), Leslie Brown (Williams College), Jason Stacey (SIUE), and Laura Milsk-Fowler (SIUE); art historian Ivy Cooper (SIUE); and site and museum personnel. 

Dates: Springfield, IL: June 25–29 or July 16–20
Grantee Institutions: Caroline R. Pryor, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
Location: Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, and sites in Springfield (Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library, Lincoln Law Office, and Lincoln Home) and New Salem Village

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.