civil war

  Sidney Blumenthal's A Self-Made Man: The Political Life of Abraham Lincoln Vol. I, 1809 - 1849 is the first of a multi-volume history of Lincoln as a political genius - from his obscure beginnings to his presidency, assassination, and the overthrow of his post-Civil War dreams of Reconstruction. This volume traces Lincoln from his painful youth, describing himself as “a slave,” to his emergence as the man we recognize as Abraham Lincoln.

From his youth as a “newsboy,” a voracious newspaper reader, Lincoln became a free thinker, reading Tom Paine, as well as Shakespeare and the Bible, and studying Euclid to sharpen his arguments as a lawyer.

Lincoln’s anti-slavery thinking began in his childhood amidst the Primitive Baptist antislavery dissidents in backwoods Kentucky and Indiana, the roots of his repudiation of Southern Christian pro-slavery theology. Intensely ambitious, he held political aspirations from his earliest years.

  The struggle between individual rights and the good of the community as a whole has been the basis of nearly every major disagreement in the history of the United States, from the debates at the Constitutional Convention and in the run up to the Civil War to the fights surrounding the agendas of the Federalists, the Progressives, the New Dealers, the civil rights movement, and the Tea Party.

In American Character, Colin Woodard traces these two key strands in American politics through the four centuries of the nation’s existence.

  In the new book, The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan illuminates the dawn of the great Irish-American story -- with all its twists and triumphs, is told through the improbable life of one man, Thomas Francis Meagher.

A dashing young orator during the Great Famine of the 1840s, in which a million of his Irish countrymen died, led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony. He escaped and six months later was heralded in the streets of New York — the revolutionary hero, back from the dead, at the dawn of the great Irish immigration to America.

  In The Black Calhouns, Gail Lumet Buckley—daughter of actress Lena Horne—delves deep into her family history, detailing the experiences of an extraordinary African-American family from Civil War to Civil Rights.

Beginning with her great-great grandfather Moses Calhoun, a house slave who used the rare advantage of his education to become a successful businessman in post-war Atlanta, Buckley follows her family’s two branches: one that stayed in the South, and the other that settled in Brooklyn. 

Utica Commemorates Abolition History Day

Oct 30, 2015

  It has been 150 years since the passage of the 13th Amendment, which ended slavery in the United States. The amendment was ratified after the end of the Civil War, but the fight to end slavery took place over decades. One battle fought in 1835 in downtown Utica was commemorated last week.

More than 150 people packed into Utica’s oldest black church last Wednesday  to celebrate Utica’s abolition history day,  a day that helped change Utica and the nation’s history. They got a lesson in history and human rights.

  This Saturday, the Washington County Historical Society will present the program: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again: 150 Years since the End of the Civil War and the Return of Our Own 123rd Regiment” in Salem, NY.

Joining us: Pat Niles, retired high school history teacher from Salem who is a Washington Co. Historical Society board member and is scheduled to be the next WCHS president. Also joining us is Mike Russert who is a retired teacher from Hoosick Falls Central. He is an expert on local history with a particular interest in the 123rd Regiment from Washington Co. He will be a speaker at the 9/26 event.

Debi Craig is a board member and former president of the WCHS, she is the Event Coordinator for “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again” and chairperson of the Programming Committee.

  Walt Whitman’s Drum-Taps: The Complete 1865 Edition is the first publication of Whitman’s original Civil War poetry collection since the bard himself published Drum-Taps over 150 years ago. Many of the poems in Drum-Taps eventually found their way into Leaves of Grass.

Lawrence Kramer is an English professor and musicologist at Fordham University and is especially interested in the sonic elements of Whitman’s poetry. He has set several of Whitman’s poems to music and has a unique perspective on this great American poet’s work as a result.

Prof. Kramer will be reading from and speaking about Drum-Taps at Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, NY on Wednesday, August 5th.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

One hundred fifty years ago this coming week was a ceremony that most Americans believe ended the Civil War - the surrender agreement at Appomattox Court House. What is wrong with the way we understand that event and the end of the war?

Greg Downs, Gregory Downs is an Associate Professor at the City College & Graduate Center, CUNY, and is the author of the just-published After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, is here to tell us.

  They met in person only four times, yet these two men—Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee—determined the outcome of America's most divisive war and cast larger-than-life shadows over their reunited nation. They came from vastly different backgrounds: Lee from a distinguished family of waning fortunes; Grant, a young man on the make in a new America. Differing circumstances colored their outlooks on life: Lee, the melancholy realist; Grant, the incurable optimist.

  When Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address in 1863, he had broader aims than simply rallying a war-weary nation. Lincoln realized that the Civil War had taken on a wider significance—that all of Europe and Latin America was watching to see whether the United States, a beleaguered model of democracy, would indeed “perish from the earth.”

In The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War, distinguished historian Don H. Doyle explains that the Civil War was viewed abroad as part of a much larger struggle for democracy that spanned the Atlantic Ocean, and had begun with the American and French Revolutions.

  In Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War, Karen Abbott illuminates one of the most fascinating yet little known aspects of the Civil War - the stories of four courageous women - a socialite, a farmgirl, an abolitionist, and a widow - who were spies.

  On the eve of the Civil War, one soldier embodied the legacy of George Washington and the hopes of leaders across a divided land. Both North and South knew Robert E. Lee as the son of Washington’s most famous eulogist and the son-in-law of Washington’s adopted child. Each side sought his service for high command. Lee could choose only one.

In The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, former White House speechwriter Jonathan Horn reveals how the officer most associated with Washington went to war against the union that Washington had forged. This extensively researched and gracefully written biography follows Lee through married life, military glory, and misfortune.

  For well over a century, traditional Civil War histories have concluded in 1865, with a bitterly won peace and Union soldiers returning triumphantly home.

In his new book, Marching Home: Union Veterans And Their Unending Civil War, Civil War historian Brian Matthew Jordan creates an entirely new narrative. These veterans— tending rotting wounds, battling alcoholism, campaigning for paltry pensions— tragically realized that they stood as unwelcome reminders to a new America eager to heal, forget, and embrace the freewheeling bounty of the Gilded Age.

  Jacopo Della Quercia is an educator and history writer who has authored more than 100 articles for the comedy website Cracked.com. His work has been featured in The New York Times best-seller: You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News.

His new book is the historical thriller, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy. The book is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. It follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, the books describes a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century.

  This week in our Ideas Matter segment, we are joined by representatives from The Vermont Humanities Council to discuss their Fall conference which is entitled: A Fire Never Extinguished; How the Civil War Continues to Shape Civic and Cultural Life in America.

    

  This Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (April 11 – 13), The Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region will present their 13th Public History Conference. This year’s conference is entitled Slavery and the Underground Railroad: the Larger Context, the Lingering Legacy and is co-sponsored by Russell Sage College, The Department of History and Society at Russell Sage College, and the Rensselaer County Historical Society.

Here now to tell us all about it are Brea Barthel, a co-coordinator of the Conference, and Professor at SUNY Albany and RPI and Paul Stewart, Scholar in Residence at Russell Sage College and co-founder of the Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region.

    Stephen Lang is a Tony Award-nominated American actor and playwright who is also well known for his film work - including his roles as George E. Pickett in Gettysburg, Stonewall Jackson in Gods and Generals, Colonel Quaritch in Avatar and many others.

This Sunday at 4pm The Chatham Film Club and the Columbia County Historical Society present an exciting combination of theater, film and music that tells the story of the Battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of Union officer and Medal of Honor Winner James Jackson Purman.

The program features a one man show written and performed by Stephen Lang, original music composed by Robert Kessler and performed by virtuoso double-bassist Timothy Cobb, and the a screening of the short film The Wheatfield, written and performed by Lang, and directed by filmmakers, Alexander and Adrian Smith. The program is hosted by historian Harold Holzer.

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m., University of Kentucky history professor Amy Murrell Taylor will lecture on the role of New York women in the civil war. The lecture is at the New York State Museum’s Huxley Theatre and is free to the public. Professor Taylor is a former University at Albany history professor. She says her talk will focus on the domestic struggles of the Civil War.

  We are very happy to continue our new regular feature on The Roundtable, entitled – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter. This morning we spotlight the Civil War sesquicentennial.

The New York Council for the Humanities offers reading and discussion programs about the Civil War and Lincoln's speeches.

David Carlyon is a writer and independent scholar. He has a Ph.D. in theater history from Northwestern University and was a clown with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

    Of the half-dozen full-length histories of the battle of Gettysburg written over the last century, Gettysburg: The Last Invasion is the first to dive down so closely to the experience of the individual soldier, or looks so closely at the sway of politics over military decisions, or places the battle so firmly in the context of nineteenth-century military practice.

    In The Civil War in 50 Objects, Lincoln scholar Harold Holzer sheds new light on the war by examining fifty objects from the New-York Historical Society’s acclaimed collection. A daguerreotype of an elderly, dignified ex-slave, whose unblinking stare still mesmerizes; a soldier’s footlocker still packed with its contents; Grant’s handwritten terms of surrender at Appomattox—the stories these objects tell are rich, poignant, sometimes painful, and always fascinating. They illuminate the conflict from all perspectives—Union and Confederate, military and civilian, black and white, male and female—and give readers a deeply human sense of the war.

Ever since the establishment of our democracy, citizens of the United States have demonstrated both pleasure and disgust with their government by exercising their right to vote.

Harold Holzer

Nov 14, 2012

Harold Holzer is one of the country's leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and frequent guest on television, Holzer serves as chairman of The Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation.

This week marks the 150th anniversary of the first in a series of Civil War battles during which New York regiments would suffer thousands of casualties.  WAMC’s Tristan O’Neill reports…

According to historians at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs, the first of the Seven Days Battles occurred on June 25, 1862 when New York's Excelsior Brigade spearheaded an attack against Confederate forces outside Richmond, Va.

APM performs works from the Civil War era, augmented by period images and readings of letters from Civil War soldiers on Saturday, June 9 at EMPAC in Troy, NY. David Griggs-Janower and Bob Bullock join us to tell us more about the event.