Commemorates 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death
150 years ago, the news of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination shocked the United States and the world. To mark the anniversary of President Lincoln’s untimely death, the distinguished American historian, Professor Brian Schoen, will present The Lincoln Lecture on Friday evening, 24th April at 8.00pm in Hotel Westport. The lecture was launched by Kevin O’Malley, United States Ambassador to Ireland, during his visit to Westport this week.
Abraham Lincoln’s legacy is of a great ‘prairie lawyer’ who came from backwoods obscurity to become President just in time to save the Union and emancipate the black slaves along the way, He is perhaps the most revered of the US Presidents since the union.
Westport is fortunate to welcome Dr. Brian Schoen a leading academic specialist in the history of the period. He is Associate Professor of American History at Ohio University, and for the current academic year occupies the Mary Ball Washington Chair in American History at UCD. He is author of several award-winning books on the Civil War period.
On 14th April 1865, President Lincoln was shot at close range in the back of the head, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, as he sat enjoying a play in the company of his wife Mary. He died in the early hours of the following morning. He was just 56 years old.
Abraham Lincoln had lived just long enough to guide the North to victory over the seceded South in a bloody Civil War – a war between the states which, in over 300 battles, had left 660,000 dead on both sides. Using his wartime executive Presidential authority, he had also declared the Emancipation Proclamation of the slaves, and later steered through the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution, formally abolishing slavery forever.
In a hard-fought campaign, he had recently won a second term as President. His first term had been full of turbulence, war and irreversible change, the stress of which had aged him beyond his years.
Yet, instead of any respite, he knew his hardest task still lay before him: the shattered Union needed repair and the delicate process of reconciliation set in train. If ever the genius and insight of Lincoln had been needed, it was at this point. But it was not to be. The bullet of hate-crazed John Wilkes Booth ensured that the loss of Abraham Lincoln echoed deep into the second half of the 20th century.
This will be a riveting lecture, delivered by an acknowledged expert in the field. There is also a strong connection and resonance with Ireland. Many Irish immigrants fought in the armies of the Civil War to determine the continuance of the first and only republic of the modern world. When there was none in their homeland, America had given them hope and, in time of its crisis, they felt it was worth fighting for.
This event is a joint venture of Westport Classical Covies, Westport Historical Society and Westport Civic Trust. The organisers hope for a full house for this prestigious evening. Tickets €5 (students €4) are available from Hotel Westport (098) 25122 and from the Book Shop, Bridge Street (098) 26816.
Pictured at the launch of The Lincoln Lecture by Ambassador Kevin O’Malley were: Standing: Liam Lyons, Iris Galloway, Bill Galloway, Pip Murphy, Sheila Murphy, John Mayock, Harry Hughes.
Seated: Michael Murphy, Ambassador Kevin O’Malley.
Photo: Michael McLaughlin