Tuesday, September 11, 2012
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'The Jury in Lincoln's America' book discussion Sept. 20 at presidential museum

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[September 11, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Jury duty today is viewed by many as a grudgingly accepted civic obligation. When Abraham Lincoln was traveling from county to county to practice law in the mid-1800s, being on a jury was a chance to chart the course of American history.

Stacy Pratt McDermott, author of "The Jury in Lincoln's America," a new book about this vital and fascinating period in American history, will be at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield for a book discussion and signing Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. in Union Theater.

In the mid-1800s Midwest, Americans looked to the law, and specifically to the jury, to navigate the uncertain terrain of a rapidly changing society. Drawing from a rich collection of legal records, docket books, county histories and surviving newspapers, including many sources at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, McDermott explores the enormous power jurors wielded over the litigants and the character of their communities during this formative era in American law.

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations should be made by calling 217-558-8934.

Copies of McDermott's book will be for sale that evening.

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McDermott is assistant director and associate editor of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Illinois and is the co-editor of "The Papers of Abraham Lincoln: Legal Documents and Cases and The Law Practice of Abraham Lincoln." McDermott is also the author of several articles and essays on Abraham Lincoln, antebellum divorce, and the history of women, race and baseball.

Visit www.presidentlincoln.org for more information about exhibits, events and programs at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

[Text from Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum file received from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency]


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