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Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Usage Conditions Apply
Anthony Berger, active 1860s
Mathew Brady Studio, active 1844 - 1894
Abraham Lincoln, 12 Feb 1809 - 15 Apr 1865
Albumen silver print
Image: 19.1 x 13.7cm (7 1/2 x 5 3/8")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6cm (18 x 14")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
Usage conditions apply
Object number
Exhibition Label
“A new birth of freedom”
The abolition of slavery did not automatically give civil rights to African Americans. Except for some radicals, the issue of slavery was viewed largely by how it affected whites, not blacks. The assumption of black racial inferiority was almost universal, and Lincoln initially shared the racism of the day. But as Lincoln sharpened his thinking about the Union, he was forced by his own logic—a logic founded in the universal rights of man—to recognize that race could not be used to define citizenship. Even if blacks were racially inferior—a proposition that Lincoln came to doubt—that did not exclude them from the protections of the law and the advantages of full citizenship. Frederick Douglass made the first official visit by an African American to the White House, and when asked how Lincoln had treated him, Douglass said, “Like a gentleman.”
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
United States\District of Columbia\Washington