Erin Carlson Mast
Foundation President & CEO
As the new President & CEO, I am writing to thank you for supporting the work of preserving and understanding President Lincoln’s legacy. There is no question that Lincoln’s crisis leadership and ideas continue to provide lessons for our own time. Following the attack on the U.S. Capitol last week, many elected leaders invoked influential past leaders, including President Lincoln, in their speeches on the floors of Congress. For me, that evening called to mind another moment in history, in which Lincoln addressed Congress and reminded them that “we cannot escape history,” and urged them to act. Almost a year later in an entirely different message to Congress he noted, “The struggle of today is not altogether for today—it is for a vast future also.” While the context was different, Lincoln’s focus on generational and far-reaching consequences, on acting to protect ideals, on the example that was being seen by the whole world, are timeless.
We research and analyze the past for many critical reasons, one of which is to remember to take a long view of the complex consequences of our decisions. Never doubt that historical literacy and quality education, focal points of our mission, are essential to an informed citizenry, a healthy democracy, and a brighter future for all people.