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“From Yosemite’s Half Dome to the Capitol Dome: The Intersecting Lives of Frederick Law Olmsted and Justin Morrill”

Rolf Diamant, co-author of Olmsted and Yosemite: Civil War, Abolition, and the National Park Idea (2022), will speak on the parallel paths of Olmsted and Morrill, their vision for America, and their interactions, both during and after the Civil War.  It is remarkable that Olmsted discussed the symbolic importance of completing the US Capitol building (during the Civil War) in his landmark 1865 Yosemite Report, and then would answer Morrill’s summons, eight years later, to design the capitol grounds.

Diamant will also examine passage of the Yosemite Act, signed by President Lincoln in 1864, in the context of Justin Morrill’s first college land grant bill. In 1859, Morrill’s bill was denounced in apocalyptic terms by pro-slavery Southern Democrats and ultimately vetoed by President James Buchanan. There is little doubt that had the Yosemite legislation (another land grant) been introduced alongside Morrill’s bill in the ante-bellum Congress, it would have been subjected to the same rhetorical assault and suffered a similar fate. 

$5 in-person or via Zoom. Registration required.

For more information and to register

Sponsored by the Friends of the Morrill Homestead, Janet Cavanagh Landscape Architect, and Eric Thorp Diversified.

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