An exchange of well-wishes between a first-year president and the world's oldest republic is the latest find of the Springfield-based Papers of Abraham Lincoln, a foundational research arm of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. The Northern Italian republic of San Marino, dating to 301, had an interest in the American Civil War. “San Marino takes great pride in … being the world’s oldest republic, and so they were very concerned” about the preservation of its form of government in the United States, says Daniel Stowell, director of the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, “in a world that, to (San Marino), at least, in Europe, appeared to be going backward toward monarchy.”
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Stowell says a South Carolina professor, writing on the New York Times’ Disunion blog about the Civil War, called his attention to the existence of the papers, and San Marino then sent him digital copies of the letters.