Lincoln Memorial University

Of the People, By the People, For the People


During the 2017-2018 season, the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum is proud to present "Of the People, By the People, and For the People," a discussion series on modern citizenship explored through the words of Abraham Lincoln. This project is funded in part by a grant from Humanities Tennessee, an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Through six separate, guided public conversations, the program seeks to forge common connections and a positive dialogue about citizenship and its responsibilities. To many, Abraham Lincoln illustrates the value and responsibilities of citizenship. Individuals on both sides of the political spectrum claim Lincoln as their own. This fact presents an opportunity for the community to use the life and ideals of the former president as a starting point for constructive discussion about modern thoughts on citizenship. Each session will conclude with audience members sharing their thoughts with one another, asking questions, and voicing observations.

The first public discussion, "An Introduction to Lincoln and Citizenship," introduces the audience to Lincoln's words and then considers how citizenship is viewed in the present. In "The Right to Vote,' the audience will explore primary sources related to Lincoln’s changing view of voting rights and explore the subject of modern voting. In "Citizenship at the Local Level," the audience will consider primary source documents related to Lincoln’s interest in local improvements to Sangamon County, Illinois in 1832, and then consider the topic of public services at the local level. Another session, "Citizenship at the State Level," will examine primary source documents related to Lincoln’s time as a state representative in Illinois and then, with the guide's help, consider the divisiveness that surrounds today's state issues. The fifth session, "Citizenship at the National Level,' will provide a primary source exploration of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address, and then the audience will consider thorny issues that confront the nation today. The final session, "The Citizen as Public Servant,' charts Lincoln’s time and thoughts as a public servant through primary sources, and the audience will discuss their thoughts on expectations of public service in the present.

Classrooms and communities are invited to use the free conversation kit that the Museum created for this program to facilitate their own conversations on citizenship. The topics covered within the kit are based on Lincoln Memorial University’s LNCN 100 and 300 courses, which teach students about Lincoln’s life, service, and leadership.

Conversation Kit

Below you will find a conversation kit for all six discussions within the series. We have broken the kit up into separate files for ease of printing. Each conversation can be used separately for conversation or as a part of an extended conversation. 

Introduction to Program and Table of Contents

Discussion One: An Introduction to Lincoln and Citizenship

Discussion Two: The Right to Vote

Discussion Three: Citizenship at the Local Level

Discussion Four: Citizenship at the State Level

Discussion Five: Citizenship at the National Level

Discussion Six: The Citizen as Public Servant

Founding Documents

Facilitator's Guide

Below you will find a guide for the facilitators of this program. It also includes a brief biography of Lincoln's life.

Of the People, By the People, For the People Facilitator's Guide

Promotional Materials for Your Community's Use

Below are posters that can be used to advertise this conversation series within your community. If you do end up using any of the provided materials, we would appreciate your feedback. Our program coordinator is also happy to answer any questions that you may have. You can reach her at 423-869-6607 or at [email protected]

Poster with Topic Titles 

Poster to be Edited by User


423.869.3611 | 800.325.0900
6965 Cumberland Gap Parkway
Harrogate, TN 37752