In honor of the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln's birth, the Center has published a downloadable eight-page lesson and companion website for high school students titled "What Was Abraham Lincoln's Legacy to American Constitutionalism and Citizenship?"
The lesson, written by John J. Patrick, Professor Emeritus of Education at Indiana University, supplements the We the People: The Citizen & the Constitution text. The lesson and its companion website, Lincoln.civiced.org, traces the rise of Lincoln from his early years to the presidency. It also examines Lincoln's ideas and decisions regarding slavery and the use of presidential power to preserve the Federal Union during the Civil War.
"The story of Abraham Lincoln is a prime example of the American dream, that one can rise from humble origins to achieve greatness," said Patrick. "This compelling story should be told and retold to every generation of Americans to instruct and inspire them to become the best that they can be."
Lincoln.civiced.org contains the full text of the lesson, questions to evaluate student learning, a timeline, brief biographies of the people mentioned in the lesson, the full text of primary sources, links to court cases, a bibliography, and a collection of Lincoln quotations. The website also has a Multimedia section with a full-text audio recording of the lesson and a link to the Education for Democracy Podcast, where Patrick elaborates on the ideas presented in the lesson.
Launched just before Lincoln's February 12 birthday, the site drew thousands of unique visitors in its first week of operation.
The Lincoln lesson is designed to be taught after students have completed Lessons 1–7 (Unit One) and 17 (Unit Three) of the We the People text, but is appropriate for high school students not familiar with the We the People curriculum.
The competitive hearings of the 2009 We the People national finals will include a question on Abraham Lincoln and his legacy. Students studied the lesson and answered a question related to the lesson during each state’s finals.
The Lincoln supplemental lesson was made possible by a grant from the Motorola Foundation and was endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.