Everyone is welcome at our monthly meetings

Dec. 14, 2018
Dan Van Haften and David Hirsch:
Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason

Approximately 16,000 books have been written about Abraham Lincoln, arguably our greatest President. Is there anything new to say about him? Surprisingly, the answer is: yes! In their highly original book, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason, David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften offer a fresh perspective on Lincolnís oratory, as a lawyer and as a politician. The conventional wisdom is that Lincoln used colorful phrases, flowery oratory, and funny stories to persuade and charm his listeners. Hirsch and Van Haften offer a radically different perspective: that the key to Lincolnís success was intellectual fidelity to the principles of Euclid, the Greek mathematician and logician.

Hirsch and Van Haften claim that it was Lincolnís study of plane geometry that provided the structure for Abraham Lincoln's great speeches. Although Lincolnís fascination with geometry is well documented, most historians concluded that it was little more than mental calisthenics. The authors claim that in fact Lincoln embedded the ancient structure of geometric proof into the Gettysburg Address, the Cooper Union speech, the First and Second Inaugurals, his legal practice, and much of his substantive post-1853 communication.

Their book reveals the six element structure of the Cooper Union speech which helped make Lincoln president. It offers a startling revelation about the Declaration of Independence that connects Lincoln to Thomas Jefferson more closely than previously realized. And it shows how the structure of the legal system itself played an important role in Lincolnís greatness.

Bataviaís Daniel Van Haften, an engineer and Michigan State graduate, retired from Alcatel-Lucent in November, 2007. During his career at Bell Laboratories, AT&T, Lucent, and Alcatel-Lucent Dan worked on developing and testing telecommunication systems. David Hirsch is an attorney in Des Moines, Iowa. He has a BS from Michigan State University and a JD, with distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law. Hirsch co-authored the technology column for the American Bar Association Journal for over a decade. They have co-authored Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason and The Ultimate Guide to the Gettysburg Address.

For our 2018-19 program year, we proudly welcome these outstanding speakers:

Sept. 14th: Tim Smith on U. S. Grant and the Vicksburg Campaign
Oct. 12th: Ted Karamanski on The Civil War as an Indian War
Nov. 9th: Paul Kahan on The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War's Legacy
Dec. 14th: David Hirsch and Dan Van Haften on Abraham Lincoln and the Structure of Reason
Jan. 11th: Bjorn Skaptasan on Henry Morton Stanley at Shiloh
Feb. 8th: Rob Girardi on Gouverneur K. Warren's Last Battle
Mar. 8th: John DAvid Smith and Mark Larson on Dear Delia
Apr. 12th: Brad Gottfried on Maps of the Fredericksburg Campaign
May 10th: John Horn on The Petersburg Regiment: the 12th Virginia
June 14th: Greg Biggs, The Nevins-Freeman Address: Logistics of the Atlanta Campaign

Copies of recorded meetings are available for a small charge. Click here for a printable list of recorded meetings. More current meetings can be viewed on Youtube.

Our meetings are held at:

Holiday Inn O'Hare
5615 N. Cumberland, Chicago, IL 60631
Parking at the Holiday Inn is FREE
Map and Directions

Dinner $40.00 Members and Non- Members
Cocktails at 5:30, Dinner at 6:30

Presentation only is $10 per person.
Payable at the door, cash or check. Be there by 7:15. For those attending the presentation only, your reservation is appreciated but not required.
Dinner reservations should be received by Sunday evening prior to the meeting.
Please make your reservation in advance by emailing DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org with the names of your party or by calling (630) 460-1865
Cancellations: email us at DinnerReservations@ChicagoCWRT.org  or call (630) 460-1865

Dinner choices. The CWRT has gone to a buffet style dinner. The buffet will include caeser salad, pasta, garlic bread, two meats (grilled chicken, meat balls, or Italian sausage) and dessert.