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Library celebrates all things Constitutional

September 7, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

WHEELING - The Ohio County Public Library, in partnership with the Wheeling National Heritage Area Corp., recognize the 225th anniversary of the Constitution with a full day of programming, beginning at 11 a.m. Sept. 17 at the library auditorium.

The event theme is "Federalism," and the day will be spent exploring the relationship between state and federal government. At 11 a.m., living historian Tony Steer of Cincinnati will portray Patrick Henry and explain why, despite being a prominent Virginian and having been invited, Henry declined to attend the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. He also will hold and question-and-answer session.

Dr. Michael Les Benedict will give the keynote address "Abraham Lincoln and the Constitution" at noon. The presentation will explore constitutional issues Lincoln faced, his contribution to the constitutionalism, how he defended his actions to the American people and how his decisions were made through constitutional politics.

Benedict is an Ohio State University emeritus history professor and also served as an adjunct law professor.

He wrote "The Blessings of Liberty," a constitutional history textbook and several books on Civil War-era constitutional history, including "The Impeachment and Trial of Andrew Johnson," "A Compromise of Principle," and "Preserving the Constitution: Essays on Politics and the Constitution in the Reconstruction Era."

Benedict regularly presents at national historical conventions and conferences. He has held research and teaching fellowships and has been a visiting professor at universities and law schools in the U.S., Japan and the United Kingdom.

Benedict is an elected member of the Society of American Historians and a presidential appointee to the Oliver Wendell Holmes Devise Committee. He has served as the Society of Historians of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era president, American Historical Association parliamentarian and American Society for Legal History Board of Directors member.

At 1 p.m., community leaders will read aloud from the Constitution and sign an enlarged facsimile of the document to symbolically reaffirm the contract between the government and community.

The event also will include free refreshments, music, videos and displays.

At 7 p.m., David Javersak will lead a discussion in the library's Making Sense of the Civil War book discussion series, focusing on the Battle of Antietam, fought Sept. 17, 1862, and the bloodiest single day of the war.

"Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam" by James McPherson and "America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries," edited by Edward L. Ayers, will be discussed. The program is supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities and American Library Association grant.

All the programs are free and open to the public. For information, call the library at (304) 232-0244.

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