"How Vast and How Varied a Field"
The Agricultural Vision of Abraham Lincoln
Come immerse yourself in Lincoln's story...and so much more! Beginning Summer 2009, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, the heart of the Lincoln legacy, introduces "Illinois Stories," our latest exhibit exploring the complex history of one of the most influential states in the US. Leading up to the bicentennial of Illinois statehood in 1818, Illinois Stories will take an in depth look at the history of the great state that Lincoln called home.
It's About the Land!
This limited-run, eye-opening exhibits will explore the LAND of Lincoln. Agricultural opportunity has always drawn settlers to Illinois. Fertile land and plentiful harvests led waves of settlers into the state throughout its entire frontier history, including the family of Abraham Lincoln. Today, 76% of Illinois is farm land. Illinois' ranks second nationally in the export of agricultural commodities, generating $8.3 billion annually.
Initiative, Individuality and Risk!
Abraham Lincoln came from a long line of farmers living in a subsistence economy—producing only the goods they consumed, living off the land. The family—their work as a team—was the most important component to success on a hostile frontier. Yet Lincoln came of age during a time of sweeping economic transformation. As factory production and improved transportation encouraged families to produce cash crops, young men no longer needed to wait to inherit the family farm. Like Lincoln, these men set out to make their own opportunities in cities and new professions.
A New Vision
Lincoln was always aware of his roots in the land and the people and the important place of agriculture in American society. But he had a new vision. The new social order emphasized the individual and Lincoln embraced this new path. Leaving the farm and his family he became an entrepreneur, rising up the economic and social ladder to become a professional lawyer, statesman and president. He recognized how technological and industrial advancements could improve agricultural productivity; how improved roads and canals and new rail lines could tie outlying markets to burgeoning cities; how national banks and a new currency system could help both farmers and businessmen.
Lincoln's Vision Achieved
Promoting education, advancing science and technology and creating a strong infrastructure set the foundations for Illinois' agricultural success today. Join us as we explore agriculture and the critical influence that Lincoln's leadership, policies, and legislation had on many of the nation's—and Illinois'—most important institutions.
The show is open now and runs through August 31, 2010. Exhibits and artifacts on display will include:
- The very first John Deere tractor -the only complete, working "Dain" model in the world!
- Farmer's "tools of the trade" both before and after the revolution in agricultural technology.
- Projected map showing evolving agricultural themes upon the landscape
- Listening stations where you can hear stories of what it was truly like to live in the 1800's - and learn how good we have it today!