The Amicus Curiae lecture series, sponsored by the Simon Perry Center for Constitutional Democracy at Marshall University, will mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s celebrated Second Inaugural Address with Dr. Lucas Morel, professor of ethics and politics and head of the politics department at Washington and Lee as the featured speaker.
The lecture will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in the Marshall University Foundation Hall, Home of the Erickson Alumni Center, on the Huntington campus.
Morel, a noted Lincoln scholar, is the author of Lincoln’s Sacred Effort: Defining Religion’s Role in American Self-Government (2000) and is the editor of Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man (2004). His newest book, Lincoln and the American Founders, will be published by Southern Illinois University Press as part of its Concise Lincoln Library series.
Morel earned his B.A. cum laude from the Claremont Graduate University and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the Claremont Graduate University.
Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address is known most famously for its closing exhortation, ”With malice toward none, with charity for all,” but the bulk of his 700-word speech was devoted not to the president’s plans for the future but to a recollection of the past. Lincoln offered an interpretation of the war and slavery as a way to reunite the divided nation. The war’s devastation, Lincoln supposed, was God’s punishment for the national sin of slavery, and the eradication of the country’s slavery, and not simply the preservation of the Union, was a just outcome of the conflict. Only with a common memory of the nation’s greatest trial could Americans have any hope that Reconstruction would succeed. The refusal to accept Lincoln’s reading of the war postponed Americans’ “new birth of freedom” for almost a century.
The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is supported by a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council.