“The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

— From Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address, March 4, 1861


It was Abraham Lincoln’s first inaugural address. The country was being torn apart. Seven states had already seceded from the Union, and over the next four months, five more would join them. At this crucial moment, when Lincoln could have easily resorted to the rhetoric of divisiveness, he had the courage to appeal to our better angels — the basic human instinct to do the right thing.

Lincoln knew the sacrifices that had been made less than a century before to create these United States. He believed deeply that the things that united us would eventually prove more powerful than those that divided us.

In our time, when the rhetoric of divisiveness has become, it seems, louder than ever, The Better Angels Society is dedicated to preserving America’s history, presenting it in a meaningful way to current and future generations, and inspiring and supporting others who share this mission.

“Documentaries are one of the most powerful tools in education, both inside the classroom and for lifelong learners. The Better Angels Society’s support of Ken Burns and other documentary filmmakers etches an indelible understanding of our shared history to help educate for the future. I could not be prouder to support those efforts.”

-Greg Golkin, Better Angel 


Through the Resnick Foundation, we were pleased to contribute a $1 million gift to The Better Angels Society to further the educational outreach associated with Ken Burns’s watershed documentary, The Vietnam War. We believe Vietnam is a defining moment in U.S. history and wanted to address the fact that little about this war is covered in American classrooms.
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Aspen Daily News: ‘An evening with Ken Burns:’ Famous filmmaker to preview his latest project, “Country Music,” in Aspen
Despite his more than 30 years of telling stories of war and other equally heavy subjects, Ken Burns was not prepared for the level of emotion he would experience while creating his latest documentary: “Country Music.”
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