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The White House Historical Association released a new episode of The White House 1600 Sessions podcast today, “Jon Meacham on Lincoln and the American Struggle.” In the episode, Stewart McLaurin, president of the White House Historical Association, speaks with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham about his new book And There Was Light: Abraham Lincoln and the American Struggle.

“There have been many books written about Abraham Lincoln,” said McLaurin. “But this book delves deep into the story of his path to presidency and the fuel behind his will to win.”

McLaurin and Meacham discuss former President Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the Oval Office, faith, and his role in anti-slavery politics. Meacham explores the president’s decision to put his political future on the backburner and focus on emancipation.

“I didn't appreciate how morally committed [Lincoln] was to limiting and ultimately ending slavery. I went in with the conventional view that he was a politician who was kind of dragged into it, military considerations, that he wasn't very interested in it,” said Meacham. “I don't think it's right to say that Lincoln grew as president. I think what I learned, and what I would recommend to you all to think about: it's not that he grew, it's that he rose to the occasion. And what's so interesting to me about that is we all have occasions to which we can either rise or not.”

Watch the full video of this podcast episode here.

To hear the full episode, visit

The 1600 Sessions is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher.

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The White House 1600 Sessions

White House Historical Association President Stewart McLaurin. McLaurin is the host of “The White House 1600 Sessions,” the Association’s official audio and video podcast devoted to exploring the history, cultural impact, untold stories, and personal accounts of America’s most iconic residence and highest office.

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About the White House Historical Association

First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy envisioned a restored White House that conveyed a sense of history through its decorative and fine arts. She sought to inspire Americans, especially children, to explore and engage with American history and its presidents. In 1961, the nonprofit, nonpartisan White House Historical Association was established to support her vision to preserve and share the Executive Mansion’s legacy for generations to come. Supported entirely by private resources, the Association’s mission is to assist in the preservation of the state and public rooms, fund acquisitions for the White House permanent collection, and educate the public on the history of the White House. Since its founding, the Association has given more than $115 million to the White House in fulfillment of its mission.

To learn more about the White House Historical Association, please visit