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Constitution Day Lecture, 9/9: Foundation of the Union
Who: Laurence Nee, Tutor, St. John’s College – Santa Fe
What: Constitution Day Lecture
Title: “Can Lincoln Count? The Gettysburg Address and the Foundation of the Constitution”
Where: Junior Common Room, Peterson Student Center,
St. John’s College
When: Wednesday, September 9, 3:15 p.m.
Details: This lecture is free of charge, open to the public, and followed by a question-and-answer period.
In honor of the bicentennial celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and in commemoration of Constitution Day, this lecture will examine Lincoln’s claim that the Declaration of Independence is the necessary foundation of the Union. Through his provocative and formative manner of counting —“four score and seven years ago”— Lincoln dates the founding of the nation to the Declaration, not the Constitution. To see why Lincoln locates the nation’s founding in the principles of the Declaration, Mr. Nee will examine two of Lincoln’s earliest speeches — the Lyceum and Temperance Addresses — in which Lincoln identifies the threats to the perpetuation of the nation and how they might be overcome. Mr. Nee will then turn to the Gettysburg Address in which Lincoln seeks to vanquish these threats through his use of the Declaration.
This is the third lecture in the Fall 2009 Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series. Open to the community, the free lectures offer an opportunity to explore a deeper reading of books in the St. John’s Program as well as other topics.
Laurence Nee received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois, Urbana, in 1992 and a master’s of arts and doctorate in politics in 1994 and 1998, respectively, from the University of Dallas. He earned a law degree from Northwestern University’s School of Law in 2003. Before becoming a tutor at St. John’s in 2005, he held academic positions in several universities, including the American University of Rome.