Skip to main content

tv   2021 Lincoln Prize  CSPAN  August 24, 2021 10:26am-11:33am EDT

10:26 am
to six minute video that affects you or your community. the competition has $100,000 in total cash prizes and a grand prize of $5000. entries will begin to be received wednesday, september 8. for this and more information, visit our website at >> c-span shop is the online store. browse to see what is new, your purchase will support our nonprofit and you still have time to order the congressional directory with members of congress and the joe biden administration.
10:27 am
>> hello, welcome, everyone. i'm a member of the student advisory council. several colleges including georgetown, brown and we are here with you this evening. one of the most t prestigious awards to celebrate with you in person, drawn by more than a and studentshers across the country. >> that includes professor david reynolds who won an award for
10:28 am
his book. we will be hearing remarks from both of our guests tonight. and additionally we will hear remarks, the host of other distinguished guests as well. we encourage audience members to submit a question at the bottom of the screen. the program will begin as it traditionally does, the graduate and former trustee and the nations leading advocate for leaving research on veterans. and i could even come everyone. as a trustee of the lincoln prize i want to welcome you to
10:29 am
our virtual celebration. behindnd me he is signing the emancipation proclamation. >> it was a longtime trustee of the college in 1832 lord, god, we need to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary work of two eminent historians. that includes a new history of the civilnd war. in ahe sweeping narrative and te bold interpretation, and brings abraham lincoln to life within the culture of a turbulent age.
10:30 am
also in taking a moment for his monumental contribution and we pray for his partner and our partner and more than a century and a half, we continue to have scholarship and research of the lincoln era. and we pray that the legacy of the men and women that suffered the horrors of war and the injustices of oppression will be a shining light of future generations of americans and we pray that the ideals and ideas and the goals, unions and unity, dignity for all inspiring them so that from the scourges of pandemic, civil strike in terrorism, we are brought
10:31 am
together in peace and liberty. and we ask your blessing on those who have joined it tonight. >> president of american history, let me welcome you to the 30th and 31st lincoln prize award ceremony. in the world of webinar weariness, thank you for taking the time to join us. covid-19 kosice to postpone our ceremony, but tonight we combine that with the 2021 award and a special double presentation and we are able to do that thinks the efforts of diane brennan and cassie and thanks also to the
10:32 am
stamina and those that agreed to serve the chair, the professor and former president of the university of richmond and the trustee of the agency, thank you for making this ceremony possible. only 2 about 250 people are able to attend. the silver lining to be virtual is that tonight we have more than 1000 people in our audience. many are teachers and students tuning in from every state in the union. and tonight viewers will be able to hear we owe the lincoln prize than 30 years ago at gettysburg
10:33 am
college had the vision to create this book prize at a time when the pulitzer prize was only 5000. the boldness of their vision has shaped the fieldld of history ad the landscape of book prizes ever since. we lost addict in may of last year when he died three weeks short of his 80th birthday. but we have this message tonight delivered by his son as many in the audience know, he is not only a successful businessman and philanthropist and leader, he is a historian and widely published author whose many books l include lincoln up your data in 2810 lincoln, statesmen at war in 2013. today he was the cofounder and the shaping force, which lies at the heart of programs and resources that the institute provides to a network of 29,000 schools and more than 7 million
10:34 am
k-12 students. for a brief message now after which we will see a short videow about his read of the lincoln prize.e. smack good evening, i'm happy to share these words of my father with you on the occasion of the lincoln prize. you all know how much our work together means to him and we are grateful for your continued support. imagine my father's unmistakable presence and voice before you. distinguish friends, we at the institute are finding ourselves grateful f to you for so many things, your investments, encouragement, your belief in our educational purposes and we
10:35 am
gather tonight to celebrate namerican history, one of the greatest things ever told. 2 my dear friend, you know well how dedicated we are to the studying and appreciating of american history and we aspire of whatever age we know and embrace the price of patrimony that we have inherited from generations past. let it be said that we are committed to this mission unselfconsciously because we believe that the study and teaching of american history is one indispensable moral formation of confidence and responsible american citizen. both history makers at yale university deeply believe that
10:36 am
there must open the garden path to every immigrant and citizen so that each can become an american in full combat is part of the institute of american history. >> in a time of unprecedented strike, president abraham lincoln took the reins of national leadership and reunited the press america. named in honor of the 16th president,an started in 1990, ad it has been awarded for the work on abraham lincoln.
10:37 am
uninspired leadership of richard andd lewis, we have considered more than 3200 and awarded more than 1.5 million in prizes and the award has honored scholars such as barbara wallace, doris kearns goodwin, steven spielberg and tim burns the prize asset the scholarly award standards and shines a bright light on the legacy of lincoln as well as the heroes of the civil war. the men although america may change and grow, the memory and the words remain fresh.
10:38 am
with charity for all, let us strive to finish the work we have, and with our nation. >> sponsored by the builder lehrman institute at gettysburg college. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> it is my privilege not to introduce the president of the gettysburg college area a distinguished lawyer, editor of the law review while a student at law school and a former appeals court clerk and former prosecutor, he was a senior vice president and general counsel at
10:39 am
harvard where he led many initiative and had trusted advisers. in the midst of a covid-19 strike, heroic and successful and efforts to weave the college to this challenging time, bob is also a member of this and i can tell you that he is an ardent and happy participant. and here is president bob juliano. >> good evening, everyone. it is truly an honor to join you for this special celebration. we've had a long and strong relationshipte for a good many years and it has been a joy to be so intimately involved with the presentation to deserving
10:40 am
honorees. that not only recognizes the work of exceptional scholarship but it has a way of a shining le on our shared past and the offering of all new understanding of how we navigate the understanding of our world today. it speaks powerfully to the education that we seek to erprovide for students at gettysburg. one grounded that knowledge in the past is critical to the formation of a well reasoned creative response and it's precisely because of our past that we, as others have a special capacity and this and
10:41 am
this most sequential at times. the history of gettysburg college is deeply entwined. and then known as the pennsylvania college stood in the midst of union and confederate versus. sweeping through the heart of our campus then serving as an academic and residential space forse students to treat the wounded soldiers in both armies. it remains at the heart of our campus today and it serves as a vivid reminder to me and how it informs our values and then also in the battle, the story turns
10:42 am
to a man by the men of david mills of the class of 1851, saying a few appropriate remarks and the next morning on novembes walk to the town square and followed president lincoln to the national cemetery in here is the iconic address firsthand. [inaudible] here lincoln's words, over the next four years, the member of the academic community and how they can continue the promise of
10:43 am
those words throughout their lives. for me it is clear that consequential educations are inspired by consequential players and that includes in our country. leaders like lincoln and eisenhower and so many others throughout the storied history have had a profound impact on who we are today and the change that we believe is possible. it's a legacy that is part of this belief that is strengthened by event like her annual lectures and civil war done and the summer. students compared her college in this place surrounded by history andy opportunity and that
10:44 am
includes the unfinished work of making a better world. and we are honored that the builder lehrman institute continues to play an important part in these efforts. and i want to congratulate our author on this publication. and all he did during his distinguished life including the support, i also wish to thank his vision and we thank you all for joining us for this special event. i look forward to connecting you in the years ahead, take care, everyone. >> thank you, bob. i am a senior in a number of the
10:45 am
institute of american history and i'm pleased to announce that i have been accepting pre-colleges, syracuse, manhattan and iona college and i am honored to introduce to you a professor of history, the winner of the 2016 prize including the 2020 price. take away, mark. cemented my honored tonight to introduce the finalists for the 2020 lincoln prize. they were chosen by a jury of distinguished scholars from a pool of more than 100 books that were nominated for the prize. including the finalists, these
10:46 am
historians join a group in our first finalists is a 2020 for the civil war and reconstruction which traces the arc of three amendments, the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. and also photography, human bondage and modern politics in america, which explores the world of poverty and shaping the understanding of slavery in the 19th century. with stephanie rogers for her book, slave owners in the american south and
10:47 am
how they use it for economic and social damage. and it tells the extraordinary story henrietta, with this finalists for her book, grow in black-and-white, the story of mary williams and the abolition group, which looks at how photographed of this child galvanized the way sympathy. the pursuit of freedom and equality in the twilight of slavery and that includes aftermath of the perspective and experiences.
10:48 am
david and his book for raising the social and cultural meaning of surrender. congratulations to all of the 2020 finalists, i am now going to turn things back over to the president of the institute. >> we present the lincoln prize and it's now my pleasure to introduce john who is a tremendously successful businessman and philanthropist that heads up more boards and good causes and you y can imagie including a various times the national parknd foundation, the battlefield trust in the university virginia board of visitors and for 15 years the texas historical commission. and that includes chair of the
10:49 am
advisory council where he served for nine years. he is a generous supporter that is in partnership with laura bush, creating a national history teacher of the year program operating in all 50 states. and now he is the founder for civil war history with illustrious faculty and programs. when they selected him as the a winner, we immediately asked if he would represent us in presenting the prize to her. here to do that right now is john. >> thank you for that kind introduction. it is my honored to join you to present the lincoln prize on the half of those here at the builder lehrman lincoln prize
10:50 am
that is awarded for the fine scholarly work on i abraham lincoln, the american civil war soldier or the american civil war hero. the 2020 lincoln prize is awarded to elizabeth for her exceptional book armies of deliverance, new history of the civil war. come up she is t one of the leading historians of the civil war era and we are very fortunate to have her leadership located at the university of virginia. i've had an interest since i was a young boy in the civil war, starting with battlefield tours on family trips, as a young undergraduate starting at uva in the fall of 1964 i was surprised when registering for classes that there were no history h classes on mid-19th century
10:51 am
america. over the years i made up my mind that if i ever have the capacity i would work to establish mid-19th century history classes. i am proud of the work of the center here in the role that it plays in the study of the american civil war. liz has played a significant role in helping to shape the programming at the center and this includes the graduate and undergraduate levels. she has trained a number of students and many have sought admission to the program to work with her and she has published five books about the american civil war that underscores her impressive range of interests and she has received accolades for her books for writing and
10:52 am
impeaching that have made a i significant impact playing a critical role in sustaining the outstanding reputation and civil war history. tonight we celebrate her outstanding scholarship, providing a thorough and readable history of the war. congratulations to the lincoln prize winner, doctor elizabeth varon, for "armies of deliverance."vi congratulations, and thank you, everyone. >> thank you, john. i'm grateful for this award and the opportunity to address you all tonight. and that includes my fellow honoree, if ever there was a moment to celebrate for the our
10:53 am
country's history and educators, the moment is now. we have been reminded again and again that we need to make the collectible scholarship and teaching accessible to the general public. that includes at the heart of the civil war, the legacy of slavery and the issue that america has never needed history educators and a thriving generation of student teachers. i set out to write it is with public outreach and mine. including the analytical insights on the modern sensibilities including scholarship in the 21st century and the title of the book had captured the argument of the
10:54 am
feel of deliverance is a key to understanding the war aims of abraham lincoln and the union. the soldiers marched off, believing that their mission saved both southern people and that includes an adaptable political scene, enabling abraham lincoln for winning the civil war. i try to explain the emotional appeal of deliverance rhetoric, particularly on motivation, trying to explain how was, even in the face of massive evidence in my book concludes that it helped the union when the war and that includes confederates
10:55 am
to a accept peace or black freedom. , be particular insides and the first is that the union and confederacy are complex constructs internally divided by race, class, gender, ethnicity and so on. generalizations aboutge the war must account for the complexity. including a striking example. that includes equating the south of the confederacy, but we shouldn't do so, doing so is profoundly distorting and that includes unionists, including highlighting the role of black southerners and lincoln's coalition in the way that they were liberators.
10:56 am
it was given a powerful impetus. researchers and educators in charlottesville has been hard at work recovering a suppressed history of unionism in the e region. ando the efforts were redoubled and they have made a difference in recognition of the fact that over half of the population in virginia was enslaved on the eve of the civil war and then then public history by a wide range of educators and researchers havee afforded us with new ones
10:57 am
are viewing us. the second way in which they informed my book, grand narratives are more compelling when they includes blending the range of historical methodologies and so on. cthat includes the integrationf the events of the battlefront and shoving the past. i was determined in my book, "armies of deliverance", to experience the throughout the narrative, nurtures, reformers and spies, teachers and so on. and for their commentary on political pronouncements. also those who are politicians of a private reflection of
10:58 am
civilians and soldiers they are internalized, perhaps the most illuminating research discovery, was that it wasme ubiquitous in the letters that soldiers wrote home from countless battlefields be given as they were surrounded by evidence and of its toll. they had deeply internalized the idea that they could change southern hearts and minds. the third and final illustration in this insides of and sensibility is rejections of false equivalence between the union and confederacy. frederick douglas said that there is a right side and a wrong side, which no sentiment
10:59 am
should cause us to forget. it is meant to help us appreciate famous words and their continued relevance, pleading that there's a there's a right side in the wrong side as reconstruction was running aground on the shoals of racism and insisting that the right side will on the border. not claiming that it was morally purer blameless. he had spent his life against southern slavery and racial discrimination. and that it was fundamentally a war of ideas between the old and the new, slavery and freedom, barbarism and civilization. the conflict was so better because of the ideas that drove
11:00 am
it, many were sharply opposed. so the 21st century americans could readily agree that the right side won the war, but we saw many sobering reminders about false equivalency in the idea that the union and others have made a comeback in american culture. .. .. >> any more than douglass did that all northerners were say abouts and all southerners were demons --. but even after we've accounted for the costs, the human suffering and fallibility and cruelty on both sides, it are remains irrefutable that on the central issue of slavery, union
11:01 am
and con fed if rate ideology -- confederate ideology were darkly to posed. union ideology was on free labor ande that slave holders should o longer rule the country or the framework in which change and progress were possible. not inevitable, not easy, but possible. figures like frederick douglass and harriet tubman had cracked open the door to change. confederate ideology, by contrast, with its defense of slavery and of the political supremacy ofef slaveholders, flatly rejected the possibility of progress. confederates were the a avowed enemies of change, and they sought to close that door to freedom and chain it shut. ..
11:02 am
the right side won the war and fell to us still to fulfill the promise of that victory. thank you. >> hello, everyone. my name is agatha, i am a junior at madison high school and a member of the student advisory council of the institute of american history. i'm honored to introduce our next guest this evening, larry walker, who will be acknowledging the finalists. larry is a businessman and civic leader, an alum and trustee of gettysburg college and a member of the group which ultimately determines the prize winners. we're honored to have him with us tonight. larry, please tell us about the 2021 finalists. tonight on the t ever online lincoln prize event. in the year marked by national crisis and division, scholarship
11:03 am
dealing with lincoln's legacy reminds us that unity is possible through great leadership and it is my honor to acknowledge the 2021 prize finalist whose work contributed to preserving and advancing that legacy. the first finalist for the 2021 lincoln prize was alice bombarden for their book, south to freedom, runway slaves to mexico and the road to the civil war which examines how mexico's abolition of slavery and 1837 and antislavery policy helped spark the civil war in the united states, the second finalist for the 2021 lincoln prize was adrian, colassal ambitions. which looked out our leading confederate thinkers he the relationship with the united states. the third finalist for the 2021
11:04 am
prize was -- for her book the women's fight, the civil war's bat littleles for home, freedom and nation which provides a comprehensive new history of women's lives and contributions during the civil war and how women were essentially and full i engaged throughout the war. the fourth finalist for the 2021 prize was ken ken which investigates the ways that weather climbed shaped the outcomes of civil war battles. congratulations to all the finalists and now going to turn things back over to pauline ya. >> hello again. our next speakers is valerie rockefeller presenting the award to the 2021 lincoln prize winner. valerie has been a trustee of the institute for five years, and is one of its most active and generous supporters.
11:05 am
a former classroom teacher who serves on the board of teachers college at columbia university, a major civic leader to chairs the board of the rockefeller brothers fun, a private foundation advancing social change that contributes to more sustainable and peaceful world. valerie will now introduce the winner of the 2021 lincoln prize. >> i'm honored to introduce the winner of the 2021 lincoln prize. professor david reynolds. david is a rhode island native who receive degrees from amherst college and uc berkeley and taught american lit tour and american studies at northwestern university, bar understands college, new york university, rutgers university. since 2006 a professor at the graduate center of the city university of new york and teaches english and americansides. the author 0 editor of 16 books and books have won the bran croft prize, the gov aired the ambassador book ware and the outstating book award and one book is a finalis foss the national book credittic circle
11:06 am
award. his book "abe" is a beautifully with live of lincoln set in a cultural context of the time. the "new york times" book review called eight lieu sitsly rendered exposition of the character and thought of the 167th present through prism of the -- "the wall street journal" deemed it's marvelous cultural biography that accupuncture tires lincoln and his full unless. the jury notessedly to innovative research the book of the settings and knowledge of america's religion, literature, humor and politics, allows him to populate lincoln's nation in detail. it's with great flurry i on behalf over the institute of american history presented the 2021 lincoln prize to david reynolds. congratulations. now i turn it over to professor reynolds to tell us about his
11:07 am
book. >> thank you so much for those kind remarks and thanks to the institute for this wonderful recognition . jim basker, bob, ed ayers and others on the committee, i truly appreciate it, and last year's winner of the award,ful we earlier but the mission of the institute and its outreach to high schools. congratulations to her and her explanation of her book. and browns -- background of my book, "abe" i want to mention lynn nesbitt who circulated a book proposal and one paragraph in it on lincoln caught the eye of scott moyer of penguin and scott and i discussed things and i realized i had a book inside of me that had been kind of growing for years and years, and
11:08 am
scott kind of pulled it out of me and thanks so much to lynn and school and thanks also to where i teach, the graduate center of city university of new york. a stimulating scholarly environment from the student cohort to the faculty members to the administration. thank you so much to cuny and particularly two professors, colleagues, in the history program, james doaks, the biggest winner of the lincoln prize twice, and david wallstriker who were kind enough to read my long manuscript when it was still on the screen. couldn't believe it. and gave me such wonderful insights and edits, and -- edits and outside of kanye want to thang douglas wilson, lincoln scholar and mason lawrence, a wonderful americanist who also
11:09 am
read the manuscript, and above all my family who have stuck by me through thick and thin, and it was both a great challenge and great fun to be writing my book while my wife was working on her book on creativity in neuroscience and humanities, and when my manuscript was finished she sat down and very carefully read through chapter by chapter and was a wonderful command tater so thank you -- commentator. i was going i say that walt whitman in his poem, his wonderful eulogy written after the death of lincoln, when lilacs last in the door areas broomed, he described lincoln as the great western star, illuminating the landscape americans landscape, and in a sense that is what lincoln always was to me.
11:10 am
this kind of beautiful, wonderful, star but also a little bit removed, and someone inaccessible. didn't see him attached to his contemporary culture and i thought but the culture, the greatest literary period in american literary history, and emmer union, thorough, melville, emily dickenson, walt whitman and then frederick douglass, harriet beecher stowe, john brown, william lloyds garrison and just so much going on, such a wonderful period, and wall -- walt whitman in 1856 fantasized but a president coming from across the alleghenies from the west, at that time illinois was considered the west. and he didn't know but lincoln at all but said some boatman or raftsman in working man,
11:11 am
bearded, shrewd, working person, honest, would -- and whitman said i wish he would step across the allegheny and write -- ride into the white house. at the time of james buchanan and other inferior presidents and low lo and behold four years later here comes abe, and he is sold as a -- the illinois rail splitter, honest abe, old abe, and lincoln didn't particularly like that name, nor did he like mr. president or mr. lincoln or anything like that. he preferred lincoln. but he did say, i know i was not going to get elected with the image of abe. and that's why i call my book "abe." it's but the interception between him and -- intersection between him and what got him elected which was his knowledge
11:12 am
of his contemporary america, and emerson said about lincoln, there's no hero in history who encompassed culture all ranges of cultural from the very highest to the lowest, on the high side lincoln could recite shakespeare by the page, and many other poets -- not to brag because these lines meant something to him and he liked bawdy jokes and frontier humor and everything in between. sappy parlor songs and soing for. so he did bridge the whole range of culture, and he strongly believed that people are shaped by conditions, outside conditions, indelibly shaped but at the same time, he stated he believed in the individual's capacity to shape, to in turn feed back into culture and for the individual to shape it and my book is really about the
11:13 am
whole interchange between him and his surrounding culture and how that guided him into the presidency and through the civil war, and it was a nation divide, of course, over slavery, and in that division he was compared often to -- the famous tightrope walker who went back and forth across niagra falls, no net, backwards, forwards in chains, on stilts, pushing wheelbarrow, carrying a man over, and many cartoons portrayed him as -- and he compared himself to blondon, and people poo say can't you go faster on slavery in the says i charles blonde don were going across onagra would we tell him to tilt this way to the left or right? have to stay centered here. if i don't, some people will say i'm too slows, others i'm too pham if i don't something bad is going to happen. for example we could lose a
11:14 am
border stated. we lose kentucky we'll lose everything. we're just going to lose everything. so i have to stay centered. and he was also confronted with a culture that was turn lent, rowdy -- turbulent, rounds. >> fragmented. he once called america a mobocracy and full of white supremacy mobs that were attacking african-americans and immigrants and also abolitionists, and he really called for a strict respect of positive law in that case, and also he -- it was a fragmented nation, full of what we call callisms"," such as spiritualism and no-nothingism and utopian socialism and free love and on and on, and temperance main lawism, and he was very much aware of all theseisms" and he said -- his words -- we have to concentrate on oneism."
11:15 am
douglassism was the possible spread that threatened spread of slavery to the west that was opened up by stephen a douglas when he called for sovereignty in the western territories and lincoln put his foot down and said we have to stop douglass and that's what we have to son ken traits on -- concentrate on and he did that in the war and what was initially largely a war to preserve the union and as liz was saying earlier for deliverance, became a war specifically to get rid of slavery which fortunately lincoln lived too toe see with the passage of the 13th 13th amendment. it passes congress just a few months before he was assassinated; so he did live and became the first president to publicly endorse the vote for african-americans. so, one thing that helped aim lot lot was poetry.
11:16 am
loved poetry and on april 9, 1865, when he was on a boat from virginia to washington, and that was the day lee surrendered to grant and everyone on the boat was saying in effect, mission accomplished. this is great, we won. he preferred to read poetry for a few hours, and poetry about death. poetry spoke to him. thinking perhaps out the 800,000 people who died in the civil war. that's where his thoughts were. it wasn't so much about how great i am or the north but i was at outreach through poetry and poetry is the most channeled concentrated language and focuses feeling and meaning so wonderfully and has greatest speeches are prose poems. the short, like gettysburg agrees and the inaugural address
11:17 am
but so pithy and poetic and what lives with us today besides his example is his language, the better angels of our nature, malice toward none, of the people, by the people, for the people, language that still survives and in his honor i guess since he loved poetry so much i would like to recite the poem of langsston hughes who fewer years after the lincoln memorial with its grand columnss and wonderful marbling stat sure opened and langston wrote the poppled called washington's mon. lincoln mon independent washington. let's go see old abe, sitting in the marble in the moonlight. sitting lonely, in marble and
11:18 am
the moonlight, light for 10,000 centuries. old abe. quiet for a million, million years, quiet and yet a voice forever. against the timeless walls of time. old abe. thank you. >> thank you so much professor reynolds. we'll begin the q & a portion of the program. i'd like to remind audience member if you have a request use the q & as as button. annabelle has a question. why did you become an historian, professor varon. >> that's a wonderful question. i was inspired by my parents, my parents both immigrants to this country, from turkey and
11:19 am
germany, and they felt they wanted to get to know the place where they found themselves, which happened to be northern virginia and they took me to smithsonian institute to the various historic sites in the region. remember the smithsonian american human of american history and the civil war exhibit captured my imagination. it really caught my attention, and their on love for history and their own sense that u.s. history was important as fascinating as their own backgrounds were. they inspired me to be immersed in this story, and again, sites, museums. there's just no substitute for
11:20 am
getting to see and hold artifacts and imagine yourself in a place and so on, and all historians are so grateful to those who make those verse rallying, tang ilk experiences possible for us? thank you, professor varon. in the we for professor reynolds. what surprised you most but the lincoln during your research process about abe. >> thank you for that great question. i think what surprises me was that too many of our opinions of lincoln are just formed from today's perspective. we have to understand him in his own time. one can cherry pick here and there, particularly in his early speeches when he was in illinois, which is kind of a racist environment and he was
11:21 am
running for offers against stephen douglas and you can cherry pick certain things he said at the time to sound quite backward and forth, but i really surprised by his sincere closeness to african-americans that stretched from springfield when he lived in the neighborhood where w where there were some 20 african-americans through this presidency where frederick douglass who met him in the white house and sojourner truth, the african-american feminist and martin delany, a real radical and med him and they found him really the least prejudiced person they had met and they were quite honest about that, and so it kind of helped for me to understand why he does become the first president to publicly endorse the vote for
11:22 am
african-americans. >> thank you for that answer 'the next question from martha for professor varon, the question what did researching and writing for your book illuminate for you the endeavor of changing heartses and minds in a moment of polarization? >> so, i think that this -- in a sense brings us back to lincoln. lincoln put forward over the course of the war a vision of american reunion, one that i think grant would eventually take up after the disastrous presidency of andrew johnson in which he attempted to blend a sort of desire for unity with the commitment to principle, and so we see lincoln midway through the war promulgate a policy of
11:23 am
amnesty to confederates who seemed ready to change their hearts and minds. this is a policy that is less well-known in his eemancipation pollingly but very important and asked confederates to pledge future loyalty to the union and lincoln hoped to recreate the loyal core in the to union occupied states through the pledges of future loyalty. so that was an olive branch, but at the same time lincoln stood by his principles, though there were voice in north, the opposition party, the democrats, agitating for a negotiated peace, one in which the union would perhaps give up emancipation -- make concessions to the confederacy, concede perhaps even confederate independence. some so-called copperheads democratics willing to go that far. lincoln wasn't willing to accept peace on his enemy's terms.
11:24 am
write a book but the surrender at an mott mocks and they were on the same page and said weeing be mag national mountain but we occupy the moral high playground and is a magnanimity is to fake your repentance and essentially the message of lincoln and grant to the con fed was say was we don't want to punish you. we want you 0 cheng and unfortunately the message back was that the confederates would consider the demand for change as a form of punishment. >> thank you for that thoughtful answer. our next question is from dawn, professor reynolds hutch more civil war history is yet to be discovered? >> well, i'm a great believer in what herman melville said, he said all subjects are infinite
11:25 am
and the more that we learn about a subject, the more infinite it becomes. i think that there's a lot more civil war history to be discovered. i think that book after book after book that reveals more and more dimensions, and let me just tell everyone that now more than ever there's a lot to be discovered. buy and many, many newspapers, pamphlets, books, speeches, that used to be very, very hard to get, you would have to travel -- i don't know where -- california or here, there and every -- they're online and you can word search them through databases like accessible archives, early english books and on and on and on. so, i think we could be at the dawn of a whole new era of civil war scholarship and just scholar sharp in i teach a class called
11:26 am
mining archives. and beyond archives are wonderful. there's a lot of promise out there. there really is. >> okay. we have time for one more question and we would love ha hear from both of you. professor varon was there an instance when you changed your mind during one aspect of your research or writing the book? >> i would say that, yes, you know, i was looking at union motivation. primarily historian of the south and studied the south a great deal so for me the learning curve with regards to union motivation and i read a lot of public deliverance discourse and i was tempted initially to sort of dismiss this propaganda as the things politicians say to build a certain kind of case and to promote their own power and success. it was when i read soldiers,
11:27 am
letters and diaries and saw those echos to in the moment sources, the private sources of that deliverance rhetoric i realized that i had as i said briefly to account for the emotional appeal of this discourse because its really sunk in, in the northern population, and as david said, we have this wonderful access to both public resources and digitized letters and diaries so we can compare and cross-referencing at the heart of or work, compare and contrast the public pronouncementses with the private ones, retroactive pronouncements with the in the moment ones. >> thank you. dioutside change your mind but one speck of your subjects during the research, professor reynolds. >> i think i changes my mind at
11:28 am
the very beginning, and lot me explain very briefly. originally i was thinking but a book on lincoln and religion, but i edited a book for norton, lincoln's select its write examination found so much intersection with his contemporary culture and how that explained a lot of his activities and his thoughts that i broadened it and became a biography-what i call a cultural biography that tries to encompass the culture. we influences by our family culture, local school culture, church, and how that intersects with strands in the larger culture, and i found this really did apply to lincoln. so, this whole broadening from that early focus to a full scale biography was really the major
11:29 am
change. >> thank you so much, professor varon and professor reynolds. we appreciate you're questions and i'm sorry we didn't goetz answer more of them. i'm going to turn things over no fell linen who will be closing on the program. >> what a great q & a. thank you both again for taking questions from the audience. both of our prize winners have been features on book breaks, free online program where authors discuss their books in depth. if you enjoyed tonight's program and want to learn nor, we encourage you to view road recordings of those sessions. wire sharing links in chat to the book page and you can purchase the books as well as copies of all the finalists books. the institute has a whole range of public programs and lee sources for teachers, students and histories lovers.
11:30 am
we hope that you will check out our website for more information on upcoming programs and to get further engaged with the institute. in particular we'd like to invite everyone here tonight to join is a month from today for our annual gala online for the first time ever. you can learn more burst the guardrail through the link in chat. we would like to our doctors this. prize helps to ensure that civil war scholarship is sweated the mainstream0. 0 american history education deep bryly grateful for your support. if you enjoyed the program and want to support the lincoln prize you can do so through the link in the chat. with that, thank you for joining us this evening and congratulations again to professor david reynolds and professor liz varon. i hope everyone has a nice evening and we hope to see you
11:31 am
>> weekends on c-span2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday, american history tv documents america's stories, and on sundays, booktv brings you the latest onion fiction book -- on nonfiction books and authors. >> your opinion matters. with c-span's student video competition. a documentary that answers the question how does the federal
11:32 am
government impact your life. your 5-6 of minute video, c-span's student cam competition has $100,000 in total cash prizes, and you have a shot at a grand prize of $5,000. entries will begin to be received wednesday, september 8th. for competition rules, tips and more information on how to get started, visit our web site at ♪ >> is c-span's online store. there's a collection of c-span products. browse to see what's new. you still have time to order the congressional directory with contact information for members of congress and the biden administration. go to >> hello, everyone, and


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on