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EIU Teaching with Primary Sources

Teaching Lincoln with Primary Sources

lincoln header

Introduction | Primary Sources and Analysis Tools 
Library of Congress Resources | Primary Source Set

Choose a link below to access printable PDF versions of these materials including additional information, color images and citations.
Teaching President Lincoln with Primary Sources Resource Booklet 
Primary Source Set


Abraham Lincoln is one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world. Those of us who are fortunate enough to live in Illinois, the land of Lincoln, sometimes take for granted the impact President Lincoln had on our country. His rise from meager beginnings to leader of the United States is well documented in many biographies, documentaries and lectures.

As adults we look for attributes of Abraham Lincoln within ourselves, either professionally or personally. He was a living, breathing contradiction. He often quoted and read the bible and included references to his spirituality in speeches and written documents, yet he strongly rejected the concept of organized religion. Although he never received a formal education or studied abroad like many of his presidential predecessors Lincoln’s intelligence and leadership are held in the highest esteem to this day.   

What and how do we teach our students about President Lincoln? We sometimes assume that everyone is familiar with Lincoln’s story because his name is everywhere – from schools to streets to shopping malls. However, it is important that we expose students to more than just the major events of Lincoln’s life: humble beginnings, Gettysburg Address, Emancipation Proclamation and his assassination. The details of Lincoln’s personal life are fascinating. Abraham lost his mother at a young age and became part of a blended family when his father Thomas married Sarah Bush Johnston who brought her own children into the household. This is a situation that many children today can relate to on a personal level. Abraham Lincoln the husband and father faced indescribable pain and loss in his personal life, while leading the United States through turmoil. 

Educators can “bring Lincoln to life” by incorporating primary sources available on the Library of Congress website. At the end of the booklet and by following the link below you will find pages highlighting exhibits and features of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum incorporating Library of Congress resources.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Resources

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