A Visit to the Lincoln Cottage

I’m honored that the Lincoln Cottage has invited me to be among their speakers this year. On April 13, I’ll be speaking alongside people from the Southern Poverty Law Center, George Washington University, and the Cato Institute on the themes of hate.  This event is open to the public, and I’ll share details about how you can participate as they become available.

***********************************************************************President Lincoln often escaped the pressures of the White House by visiting what is now called the Lincoln Cottage. The home, located on what was then the property of the Old Soldiers’ Home (and now the Armed Forces Retirement Home), was where he formed his ideas for the Emancipation Proclamation. His last visit was the night before his death.

A Visit from the Old MistressAbove, Winslow Homer’s  1876 A Visit from the Old Mistress, commenting on the relationship between formerly enslaved people and the whites who oppressed them. The painting hangs in the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. 

The Lincoln Cottage is now a museum of sorts, offering educational programming, teaching workshops, and exhibits. But, since its  beginning, it has aimed to be not just a museum but “Home for Brave Ideas”:

President Lincoln’s life inspires our work. While living here, Lincoln made nation-changing decisions about the Union, Freedom, and the Presidency, most notably the Emancipation Proclamation. The importance of what he accomplished in this space encourages us to embrace the Cottage as a Museum of Ideas over a traditional historic house museum model.

It would be tempting to think of the Cottage as a pastoral retreat, a refuge from the chaos of war, but the evidence suggests otherwise. The White House may have been the “iron cage,” but life at the Soldiers’ Home brought Lincoln closer to the war and its human cost. Here Lincoln said, “my thoughts — my solicitude for this great country follows me wherever I go.” Lincoln encountered people from all walks of life here…, gaining new perspectives on freedom, justice, and humility.

We believe the world still needs a Home for Brave Ideas and are committed to being that place.


Image result for lincoln cottageAbove, the Lincoln Cottage, a National Monument near the Petworth and Park View neighborhoods in Washington, DC. 

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