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President Lincoln Looks Back

Historian John Voehl/Abraham Lincoln Speaks at Solvang Library

The Solvang branch of the Santa Barbara Public Library System will host acclaimed presenter and historian John Voehl, speaking as President Abraham Lincoln, on Thursday, March 26 at 4:00 p.m. The afternoon’s talk is titled, ”Lincoln, Race, and Politics: A Look Back with John Voehl as Lincoln Himself.” This free event is highly recommended for both adults and students 4th grade and up, and will last approximately 50 minutes including a Q&A session. Solvang Library is located at 1745 Mission Dr. in Solvang. 

Voehl, in the persona and period attire of Mr. Lincoln, will describe the deeply racially-divided social and political climate of his times. A primary focus will be on the shaping of Lincoln’s views and actions in making the Emancipation Proclamation, which he issued in January 1863. “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. I cannot remember when I did not so think, and feel,” he said a year later, before his reelection.  

Although Lincoln is now known as “The Great Emancipator,” students of history have debated how he came to that position. Did Lincoln’s support of abolition (viewed as radical by many, even in the North) deepen during the war? Or, was he an astute politician who did not reveal the depth of his anti-slavery convictions until necessary? Was the Emancipation Proclamation a brilliant war tactic? John Voehl will walk us through this fascinating and complex period of history from the point of view of Abraham Lincoln. 

Contact the library at or call (805) 688-4214 to find out more about this program. Visit the Santa Barbara Public Library System online at for library locations, hours, programs and services. All library programs are free and open to the public.

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