Looking for Lincoln

Expand/Collapse Looking for Lincoln


Looking for Lincoln explores the life and legacy of the man widely considered one of our best and most enigmatic presidents. The PBS series, presented and written by Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (African American Lives, Oprah’s Roots), addresses many of the controversies surrounding Lincoln – race, equality, religion, politics, and depression – by carefully interpreting evidence from those who knew him and those who study him today.

  • Abraham Lincoln, Attorney at Law

    This video segment, excerpted from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, explores Lincoln’s years as a "prairie" lawyer.

    Grades: 1-12
  • Abraham Lincoln's Words

    In this video excerpted from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. cites several examples of Lincoln’s use of “seemingly simple but profoundly eloquent language to express and ennoble his cause.”

    Grades: 4-12
  • All Things Lincoln

    This video segment, excerpted from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, explores the ongoing cultural fascination with physical artifacts of Abraham Lincoln’s life.

    Grades: 1-12
  • Bush on Lincoln

    In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviews former president George W. Bush about Abraham Lincoln and the controversial choices they both faced as wartime leaders.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Civil War and Abolition

    This video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln examines how the unprecedented slaughter of the Civil War compelled President Abraham Lincoln to expand and elevate the justification of the war from a political ideal to a moral imperative.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Gettysburg Address

    In this video segment excerpted from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and President Bill Clinton examine the context and content of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.

    Grades: 4-12
  • Lincoln's Early Views

    In this video segment from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, historians Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and David Blight shed light on the more complicated historical reality behind the romanticized myth of Abraham Lincoln.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Lincoln's Growth and Change

    In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. speculates on how different American history might have been had Lincoln lived and tributes to Lincoln’s enduring legacy culminate in Barack Obama's victory speech.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Looking for Lincoln During the Civil War

    This lesson explores the unique challenges Lincoln faced during the five years of bloody civil war which made him America’s ultimate but most controversial wartime leader.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Looking for Lincoln Through his Words

    In this lesson from Looking for Lincoln students explore how Abraham Lincoln used the power of words in speeches, letters and other documents.

    Grades: 5-7
  • Looking for Lincoln Throughout His Life

    In this interdisciplinary lesson, students gather different facts about Lincoln through a variety of hands-on activities.

    Grades: 1-3
  • Looking for Lincoln Views on Slavery

    Students examine Abraham Lincoln’s views on slavery and race in this lesson based on the PBS series Looking for Lincoln.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Proving Ground

    In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. interviews historian Allan Guelzo about the unprecedented scale of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s own personal attitude toward the Confederacy.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Quoting Abraham Lincoln

    In this video excerpted from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. samples instances of today’s politicians quoting Lincoln in their speeches.

    Grades: 4-12
  • The Road to Emancipation

    In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and historian David Blight examine how strategic calculations informed President Abraham Lincoln’s decision to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Was Lincoln a White Supremacist?

    In this video from the PBS series Looking for Lincoln, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. investigates Abraham Lincoln’s mixed legacy among African Americans, many of whom have grown disillusioned with the myth of a “Great Emancipator.” 

    Grades: 5-12

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