The 2019 Center Austria Prize in Transatlantic History was was awarded in Innsbruck, Austria to Mr. Benedikt Kapferer for his paper:
The Nation’s Hallows. Abraham Lincoln, Culture of Remembrance and the „National Unity“ of the USA
For US-American nation building, Abraham Lincoln played such a vital role that he became a major focal point in US politics, society and culture. His significance even reached dimensions of religious worship, which represents a key characteristic of US culture of remembrance. Especially in modern, pluralistic democracies, such an intertwining of nationhood and religion may cause societal tensions. This paper deals with Lincoln’s efforts to create a religion of the nation, establishing a hegemonic culture of remembrance. Based on the concept of „civil religion“, it investigates the meaning and implication of religious elements, particularly the „Pledge of Allegiance“, and the role of history in the contemporary USA.