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At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Smith, Gerrit (1797-1874) to Frederick Douglass

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC04717.18 Author/Creator: Smith, Gerrit (1797-1874) Place Written: Peterboro, New York Type: Printed letter Date: 25 May 1852 Pagination: 4 p. ; 24.7 x 20.2 cm.

Summary of Content: Smith offers his opinions on Lajos Kossuth, the Hungarian revolutionary hero. Writes, "I have not seen Kossuth:- but I have read his Speeches. The impression they have made upon me is, that he is not only transcendently eloquent- especially when his country, his deeply wronged country, is his theme- but that he is a man of extraordinary judgment, discernment, skill, tact: and that he is, moreover, eminently unselfish..." Praises the growth of good principles that result from revolution. Includes a handwritten correction on page three.

Background Information: Smith, a politician from New York, served as a U.S. Representative from 1853-1854. He was a noted philanthropist and social reformer active in anti-slavery campaigns and women's rights.

People: Smith, Gerrit, 1797-1874
Douglass, Frederick, 1818-1895
Kossuth, Lajos, 1802-1894

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: Global History and CivicsForeign AffairsMilitary HistoryRebellionMorality and EthicsReform Movement

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