USF St. Petersburg campus Master's Theses (Graduate)


Nicki Hannum

First Advisor

Major Professor: Erin Mauldin, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Adrian O’Connor, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Raymond Arsenault, Ph.D.


University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type


Publication Date


Date Issued

November 15, 2019


The aim of this project is to demonstrate the relationship between scholarly treatments of Abraham Lincoln since his death and popular conceptions of the man and his legacy in the United States. Lincoln is an integral figure in American identity and central to collective national narratives of exceptionalism and racial progress. As such, Lincoln manifests in scholarly discourse and popular American culture with regularity. For this thesis, I analyzed the connections between academic and popular representations of Lincoln, illustrating the evolution of his legacy in American memory. I drew upon academic journal articles and long-form publications for an understanding of the scholarly image of Lincoln, and considered such mediums as newspapers, magazines, monuments, memorials, ceremonies, works of fiction — and later in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, television and film — to analyze Lincoln’s public image. Following an examination of this source base, I illustrate the transformation of Lincoln’s image from Savior of the Union to Great Emancipator in American memory.


A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Liberal Arts Department of Verbal and Visual Arts College of Arts & Sciences University of South Florida St. Petersburg

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Creative Commons License
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