War Between Neighbors: The Coming of the Civil War
Edward Ayers, President of the University of Richmond, discusses his prize-winning book, In the Presence of Mine Enemies: War in the Heart of America, 1859-1863. Based on an archive of documents that Professor Ayers collected from two counties, one in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania, he explores the way that sectionalism grew in these communities before and during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln: A Biographer's Notes
Richard Carwardine is Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University, author of Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, and winner of the 2004 Lincoln Book Prize. In this lecture, he discusses different aspects of Lincoln's life. Why is Lincoln a mythic figure? How early in his career did he develop his views against slavery? What role did religion play in his life? Professor Carwardine analyzes Lincoln's greatness as well as his humility.
The Civil War
The collective memory of the Civil War differs throughout America. To some the bloody conflict was a fight for emancipation and equality. For others, it represents the noble, but ultimately failed, attempt by the Confederacy to assert its sovereignty. In this wide-ranging lecture, delivered at the London School of Economics, Civil War historian David Blight examines American memory of the Civil War and how it has both hindered and facilitated justice and healing it its wake. Arguing for a history that is not just "frozen into formulas," Blight delivers a moving meditation on a part of American history that is still very much alive today.
The Civil War in American Memory
Gary Gallagher, John L. Nau III Professor in the History of the American Civil War at the University of Virginia, discusses different Civil War narratives that emerged in the popular consciousness after the war. From the "Lost Cause" rhetoric of the defeated Confederacy to the "Emancipation Cause" advanced by the Union, Gallagher explains the ways in which these narratives created a new American identity.
Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation
Henry L. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era and Professor of History at Gettysburg College, Allen Guelzo examines Abraham Lincoln's motivations for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863. Guelzo contends that the proclamation is among the most misunderstood of the Civil War era, a necessary and even desperate attempt by Lincoln to enact a form of emancipation that would pass legal muster. Guelzo traces the evolution of Lincoln's views on emancipation with particular emphasis on the strategic and moral calculus that factored into the momentous proclamation of 1863.
The Bondwomans Narrative
Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of African American History at Harvard University, recalls his thrilling search for the true author of The Bondwoman's Narrative, and the real-life Civil War Era counterparts to the novel's cast of characters.