Fighters for Freedom

Abraham Lincoln

Abraham

Abraham Lincoln
about 1945
oil on paperboard
92.1 x 84.7 cm
(36 1/4 x 33 3/8 in.)
Gift of the Harmon Foundation
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, declaring that all slaves in states supporting the Confederacy were from that moment "forever free." In Johnson's painting of the sixteenth president of the United States, Lincoln is in the center of the composition surrounded by symbols of his life and times: the buildings in the upper left possibly depict the log cabin where Lincoln was born and the United States Capitol; the flags, crosses, books and pen at the lower left probably symbolize the Civil War and Lincoln's famous writings such as the Gettysburg Address; the four figures hanging at the bottom may symbolize John Wilkes Booth and other conspirators responsible for Lincoln's assassination.

LOOK! THINK! IMAGINE!

Why do you think Johnson included a portrait of Abraham Lincoln in his Fighters for Freedom series? Carefully read the the Emancipation Proclamation. Have a class discussion about Lincoln's position on slavery as expressed in this document and discuss its impact on the nation.



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