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tv   The Civil War  CSPAN  June 7, 2015 10:00am-10:46am EDT

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land. that was a big deal with the homestead act. each of the sisters took a homestead near their father's ranch. they each built a small house on th homestead, which was part of the homestead act. they would take turns staying in each other's house and working on each other's farm. the sisters pulled together and made it in nebraska. announcer: watch all our events from nebraska today on american history tv on c-span3. >> the congressional directory is a guide to congress with color photos of every senator and house member, contact information, maps, and a look at
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congressional committees. order your copy today. $13.95 plus shipping and handling through the c-span online store at paul quigley, director of the civil war center for studies talks about the malleability of lincoln's image for various causes. this lincoln group of d.c. talk is about 45 minutes. moderator: our first speaker today is paul quigley. he's the bud robertson professor
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of civil war studies and director of the civil war studies at virginia tech university. a native of manchester england he holds degrees from lancaster university and the university of north carolina at chapel hill. he lectured in american history at the university of edinburgh. his first book, "shifting grounds: nationalism and the american south," was published in 2011 and won both british and american historical awards. he is currently working on a book on preston brooks, whose infamous beating of charles sumner on the floor of the senate exacerbated tensions that led to the war. professor quigley has distinguished himself among historians who are bringing new perspectives to the study of the american civil war. his contribution is to highlight the international dimensions of the war and today he will talk about the impact of abraham
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lincoln, particularly on great britain. paul. [applause] paul: thank you very much. and thank the audience for coming out today for the program. one solution to the missing speakers would have been to ask the remaining speakers to speak for twice as long, but i think we'll all be happier with shorter talk and free afternoon. it is nice to be with you this morning in these splendid surroundings. i cannot help but think about the importance of place in history in this magnificent building. the building has changed a lot since lincoln's days. in fact it is an entirely new building. but even inhabiting the same space, walking the same grounds as lincoln did during the civil war i think is very inspiring
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and makes it a real treat to be able to spend the morning here discussing president lincoln. i have been mindful of the importance of location ever since i moved two years ago from the united kingdom to virginia. the epicenter of civil war history. it has been a real treat to be able to visit the archives, the battlefields and the civil war sites without getting on a plane and i discovered that my daily walks to work takes me over some ground that was probably traversed by union soldiers in may of 1864 as they were withdrawing back to last virginia after the battle of floyd's mountain. as you might being here in virginia and being in washington today gives me a much closer connection to civil war history than i have in the united kingdom when i was teaching. i went to say even and adam bryant -- even an edinburgh
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there is one visible reminder of civil war history and it is a statue of abraham lincoln and i'm going to blow up these images later so you will be able to see them. so that the statue in the city center and in the old burial grounds of lincoln and it was really nice when i was teaching civil war history in scotland to be able to go on a field trip and that we could walk and i would take my students to the statute of lincoln and i would talk about him and talk about the civil war. that is not the only lincoln statue in the united kingdom. there are three. the middle one is manchester which is my hometown and the third one is in london. it is not quite a foreign invasion, but it is a visible presence for a foreign leader and a leader from a different century. when people hear about these statues, the question they ask
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the question probably most of you are asking -- which is why why do these statues exist 3,000 miles away from here? after all, lincoln never stepped foot in these cities and never visited the united kingdom and never traveled to any overseas country. even his name wasn't really known overseas until the last few years of his life. yet these statues are physical proof that even if lincoln himself didn't travel overseas, the idea of lincoln, the image of lincoln has traveled very very widely. so what i want to do this morning is answer the basic question of why those statues are there. and in order to answer that question, i'm going to tell you about the specifics of each of the three statues and what i also need to do is tell you about the wider context about why lincoln has mattered to the rest of the world and why the civil war has mattered to the rest of the world as well,
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because i think to understand why those statues are there, we need to understand why people around the world have been interested in lincoln why they , were interested in the civil war as it was occurring and why they continue to be interested in the civil war ever since then. the first thing to note is that the civil war mattered greatly to people around the world as it was happening. trade, migration, political ideology human interests, the , global history of slavery and emancipation, these were all reasons why people sought an -- felt an investment in american events. and because they felt an interest in the civil war, they felt an interest in the leader of the union effort. towards the end of his life, lincoln was already beginning to acquire something of a global reputation. it was after his death and i think in the u.s., his reputation evolved quite radically after his death. his international reputation
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certainly did. and it was after the assassination that lincoln really began to acquire legendary status around the world. there's a convenient way to gauge his reputation around the world immediately following his death. in 1866, the u.s. state department published a volume of letters of condolences that had been sent from around the world. they gathered these letters into a volume and published it. the volume is easily available online for those who are interested in reading more. you can download the pdf and read transcriptions of individual letters. it's a very, very interesting volume indeed. there are over 1,000 documents in there. they come from all of the world. the large majority were either from latin america or europe. those were two big places sending letters in 1865, but there were also letters from hawaii, morocco, egypt, liberia,
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india, japan, china. this really is a global undertaking. the country with the greatest volume of letters was great britain. if you include the british empire as a whole, they sent 437 documents, which is almost 40% of the total. wherever they came from, the letters tended to be written by political leaders. a lot from presidents, heads of states. let's also -- lots also from local political officials, town mayors and that kind of thing. but there are lots and lots of letters from ordinary people as well, groups of people who got together. they referred to themselves as the citizens of this town, residents of this city sometimes used phrases like the working men of wherever. they came from trade organizations, religious groups,
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fraternal orders and anti-slavery societies as well not surprisingly. what did the letters say? first and foremost, the one common theme that runs through them all is that they were all expressions of sympathy, of condolence for mary lincoln and her family, for the u.s. government and the american people as a whole. that's the primary content of these letters. they tended to be declarations of shock, indignation, anger. many asked the question how could anyone commit such an act. in addition the letters reveal , the emerging status of lincoln as a global icon. this was unprecedented as an outpouring of grief. and i think it reflected the unprecedented nature of lincoln's reputation as it evolved after 1865. the letters involved many of the same images of lincoln that
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we are familiar with today. there was lincoln, the self-made man, the man of the people. lincoln the republican, usually around the world the small r version of that word, committed to equality of all people, committed to economic opportunity for the masses and this kind of thing. this lincoln was particularly admired by the many people around the world seeking to overthrow monarchy and seeking to overthrow any quality in various forms -- inequality in various forms. and there was the great emancipator for ending slavery in the united states and reinvigorating freedom around the world as he did so. there are major strands. but what really stands out from these letters is they all tended to reflect local concerns. even though there are those common themes, you see lots of variety, lots of local concerns in the letters, from latin america places like chile and argentina you see the phrase the , great republican. that is how they knew lincoln. and that was partly because he
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was, there's a strong case to be made. but also because in those places, that's what they cared about in their own time in place -- they were involved in establishing fledgling republics and lincoln was an inspiration. likewise, the antislavery societies tended to dwell on the great emancipator image. the working man's society talked about lincoln's promotion of working class interests. and this is really important point. something that underlines everything that i'm saying today, the point that people have often memorialized lincoln for their own ends. and this isn't going to come as a surprise, they have emphasized those aspects of the lincoln legend that mesh with their own priorities and agendas. and this isn't to say we shouldn't take these images of lincoln seriously. it is not like they were inventing them from nothing. but still, i think it means that we should interpret these images
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within the local contexts from which they emerged. there is a fantastic volume of essays that i recommend to you all if you are interested in reading more called the "global lincoln.” it was edited by richard cowered ardine. and it's a collection of essays which provides a sense of just how widely the lincoln legend traveled from latin america to europe, asia, africa. and what is abundantly clear and one of the main things of that volume is the malleability of lincoln's image. the same thing that emerged from the letters in 1865 and 1866. in spain, lincoln's image evolved over the decade and in the late 19th century he tended to be known as the great emancipator. this is the time, that decade following the civil war, that
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there is an active abolitionist movement in spain. by the 20th century during the franco regime, lincoln changes slightly in spain becoming a conservative figure and conservative work ethic that fits well with what franco is trying to do. somewhat paradoxically, he has been attractive over the decades as a symbol for independence movements around the globe. india, one example. the irish leader eamon de valera famously had a portrait of lincoln on his wall and a lincoln bust on his desk and he called him, the support of lincoln, as he was trying to argue for the unity of ireland. lincoln was venerated on his firm wartime leadership. this is another form lincoln takes around the world. and this was especially true during the two world wars, in
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great britain, prime minister david lloyd george and churchill venerated lincoln. both tried to learn from lincoln about how to act as a statesman during wartime. so the specific forms that that lincoln has tainaken had ferried across time and space. and the three statues that i mentioned provide some great examples of that. and the first one was in edinburgh. the story begins in 1890. the widow of a man who was scottish but had fought for the union in the civil war visited the u.s. consulate in edinburgh. looking for help in securing a pension for his union war service. the consul were taken by this
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woman's story and disturbed upon hearing that the man had been buried in an unmarked grave. so they decided that they wanted to build some monument and then it expanded out to include scottish-american soldiers in general who fought for the union during the civil war. wallace bruce, the consul, took this on as a personal project . the next time he returned to the u.s. as a visit he started to raise money. somewhere along the way he decided, not sure why he took this decision, he decided the statue, instead of representing the soldiers themselves, the statue should be of abraham lincoln. it makes sense lincoln even by , then, in the 1890's was the recognizable signal of cash symbol of the cause -- the most recognizable symbol of the union
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cause. and it would make sense that he would lincoln as the embodiment. he started raising money. almost all of the money came from americans rather than scots. he commissioned the statue from the sculptor george bissell and it was unveiled on august 23 1893. it was quite an impressive crowd to witness it by all accounts, even though it was limited somewhat by the weather and having lived there, i can sympathize with the accounts of the weather that day. even though it is late august, the rain was falling and the wind was blowing and the umbrellas were no match. but a sizeable crowd came out and took part in the commemoration ceremony. and here's the statue. as you can see, hopefully you can see, it is very strikingly a statue of abraham lincoln as the great emancipator and similar to
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thomas ball's friedman'eedman's memorial right here in washington, d.c., that presents lincoln standing tall and the freed slave reaching out in gratitude for the gift of freedom. this made a wonderful teaching tool when i took my students to visit the statue it opened up all kinds of conversations about lincoln and race, drawing on the recent scholarship on lincoln's attitudes towards race and the emancipation decision and so on and so forth. this became a great teaching tool for me. interestingly though, race and emancipation were not central themes at the unveiling ceremony. the two main speakers, the consul and the lord provost of edinburgh presented the statue
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as a representation of anglo-american friendship. the consul talks about how much he admired reddish history -- british history. and spreading liberty around the world and saw the united states as playing an important part in that history in the 19th century. so this wasn't only a monument to the men who fought, even though that's where the idea began. it became, in his words, another bond of love and friendship between great britain and the united states of america. set the context is anglo-american relations, not only in political sense but racial sense, a phrase that both speakers used that day was the angelo-saxon race and that was the ideology in 1898. that underpinned both british imperialism and american
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expansion. this was the narrative that both are placing on this lincoln statue. it may not be a narrative he would have placed himself in. but in the 1890's, this is where he is. the manchester and london statues and merged partially out of that context as well, anglo-american relations. the origins are a bit more complicated. they are also intertwined the , manchester and london statues emerge out of the same story. and it began with with an organization founded in 1909 the committee for the celebration of the 100th anniversary of peace among english-speaking peoples. so the idea is that they are going to celebrate the end of the war of 1812, the last time that britons and americans had fought against each other in a major war.
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and in the early 1910's, there were branches of this organization working together on both sides of the atlantic trying to figure out how to do this and how to commemorate this 100th anniversary of peace among english-speaking people. a british delegation visited the united states. they visited chicago. and what did they see in chicago, but the statue of lincoln by augustus saint-gau dens. i am sure many of you have seen this statue. well, they were quite taken by this statue and they decided this was the lincoln they wanted to bring to london. and by 1914, they established that they would commemorate the anniversary with three things, a statue of lincoln in london. a statue of queen victoria in washington, d.c., and statue of the historian francis parkman in
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ottawa. the surprising one out of the three . the other two make a lot of sense. i'm not sure where the idea of the statue for parkman came from. it did not amount to anything in the end. everything was settled. and three statues would embody the peace between english-speaking people across the atlantic. but you will notice the significance of that date, 1914, other things were happening in europe, the beginning of the first world war intervened and the committee was distracted. they never got around to beginning to raise money for these statues, so the project stalled for a couple of years. in the meantime, there was a new development, william howard taft whose older half brother charles taft had been involved in commissioning the lincoln statue that now stands in cincinnati, the one created by george bernard.
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some of you may have seen this. and charles taft, who had bank rolled the undertaking, liked the statue so much that he decided he wanted to pay for a replica to be made and sent to london. he wanted this to be the lincoln to travel across the atlantic and be there. he offered to do this and pay for the replica of the bernard statue. and this sounded good for the british committee, their plans for the saint-gaudens replica had stalled. this was an easy solution. they said we'll take the bernard replica. the firestorm began. quite a few people did not like the way lincoln was being represented in the statue. they did not like the fact that it was being put in cincinnati and didn't like the fact that it was going to be a replica sent
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to london. there was talk of another replica being sent to paris. the most prominent critic was none other than robert lincoln who had a major stake in how his father was being presented to the world. the son of one former president wrote to another former president, william howard taft and asked his brother to talk it out of this plan. lincoln described the bernard statue as a monsters figure grotesque as a like of president -- likeness of president lincoln and defamatory as an effigy. i don't think i would be quite that extreme, but i understand the critics. and if you have a close look at this statue, you will see that lincoln isn't presented in a particularly dignified light. this has been the ju gist of most of the criticisms. his skin is wrinkled, his clothes are wrinkled, over-sized hands and feet and clutching his
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stomach as though he has got some sort of digestive complaint. so this later became known as the stomach ache statue. the "london times" dubbed it the tramp with colic. that word can have a different connotation in america. they meant it in the hobo sense of the word. the complaint was he doesn't look very presidential here. this resulted in a big debate, a big brouhaha in 1917 and in 1918 british press and american press as well. and behind the scenes at quite high levels involving woodrow wilson. he got involved in this debate. the outcome in late 1918, just after the war had finished is that the committee decided they wanted to revert to the original plan and stick to the saint-gau dens statue.
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the carnegie endowment agreed to pay for it and everything was set. one question remained, what to do about this replica of the bernard statue. charles taft still wanted to pay for it and send it some where even if the londoners didn't want it. they looked around for suitable venues. the lord mayor of manchester expressed interest and said we would love to have it. that was it and that was the solution and ended up going to manchester instead. the statue was unveiled on september 15, 1919 at platt fields, which is a part just outside manchester city center. by all accounts the ceremony was , a bit underwhelming and didn't get much press. at least not outside manchester. the taft's did not show up. william howard taft dedicated the one in cincinnati but neither he nor his brother charles.
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didn't show up. the sculptor the u.s. ambassador did show up after hemming and hawing for a while. and deciding at the last moment i guess i will go. the highest ranking british official there was the lord mayor of manchester. no representation from the national government. but still they got the statue , and the local newspaper nicely observed, london in possessing the saint-gaudens statue will have lincoln the president. manchester has lincoln the man. and it was especially appropriate that this kind of scruffy lincoln would end up in manchester because of its identity as a working class city. i spent some time in pittsburgh as an undergraduate, and kind of similar in their vibe. and it was also appropriate given the famous correspondence in the winter of 1862 and 1863 and lincoln and the
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self-described workingmen of manchester. this wasn't present at the original location, but the 1980's the statue was moved to a city center location, which you can see here and on the base of the statue, you might be able to make out some words and those words are excerpts from that correspondence between lincoln and the working men of manchester. and this emerged from a letter that the manchester working men wrote to lincoln in the winter of 18 62-1863. they wrote to him praising his leadership in the union war and praising his decision to issue the emancipation proclamation. and they connected the freedom of american slaves with their own struggles for class equality across britain. lincoln agreed, he wrote back we are fighting for similar things, universal human equality.
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there it still stands. you can go and visit that if you happen to be in manchester. it isn't a big tourist destination. not that many people know about it. those who do seem to enjoy the connection of civil war history and the connection with the united states. it still has its critics. one review on awards it only two stars out of five. and grumbles "lincoln had enormous hands and untiedy hair. possibly the artist was having a bad day." people still pick up on the same aspects of the statue. it is not often that i get to use trip advisor as a source in a lecture as a civil war historian. back to london, it was july 1920, the year after the manchester dedication that they finally unveiled the statue in london. and this was a much grander affair.
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presenting the statue was u.s. secretary of state elihu root. there was a lot more press coverage than there was in manchester and the british prime minister david lloyd george gave a speech accepting the gift on behalf of the american people. a different speech from a different lincoln event. david lloyd george gave a great speech. he was a fan of lincoln. not just on this occasion. i want to quote from what he said, because i think it captures so well the power of the lincoln image in post world war i britain. "i doubt whether any statement whoever lived sank so deeply into the hearts of the people as
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abraham lincoln did. i'm not sure you in america realize the expense that he is also our possession and our pride. his courage, patience, humanity, clemency his trust in the , people, his belief in democracy and may i add some of the phrases that he gave expression to those attributes will stand out as beacons to guide troubled nations, resolute in war, he was moderate in victory. misrepresented, misunderstood, underestimated, he was patient to the last. for the people believed in him all the time and they still believe in him. in life, he was a great american. he is no longer so. he is one of those great figures of hwhom there are very few in history that lose their nationality in death. they are no longer greek or hebrew, english or american, they belong to mankind." and lloyd george's idea that lincoln was a truly global icon,
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that speech captured it so nicely, has reverberated down the decades since 1920. in 1936, on a visit to springfield, the japanese reformer hiroyukitagawa said lincoln doesn't belong to this country alone, he belongs to the world. in 1981, castro claimed lincoln belongs to us. that repeated word belongs indicates how often people have tried to claim lincoln for their own causes. and throughout the 20th century, it's still going on in our own time. there is a convenient way to take the temperature of lincoln's reputation around the globe. during the runup of the 150th anniversary of the
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assassination, somebody at the lincoln presidential library and museum had a wonderful idea, they decided they were going to contact the modern-day counterpart of people who wrote the letters back in 1865 and ask them for an update, what does lincoln mean to you. wonderful idea. i wish i had come up with it myself. and you can see these results on-line quite easily as well for those interested in seeing more. they received fewer letters this time around, 140 are available online. but they still come from all around the world, israel, italy, jordan, lots from great britain and you see some of the same themes that you would expect in 2015 as in 1865. one slight variation is that the
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gettysburg address has become much more widely recognized than it was in 1865. lots and lots of these letter writers mention the gettysburg address, most of them focusing on the magical words "government , of the people, by the people for the people." but the thing that has changed the most is that people less interested in expressing sympathy and expressing outrage, surprise, indignation. and this is only to be expected of course. no one today is shocked to hear of lincoln's assassination. that jumped in the 1865 letters. just how much of a shock and surprise this was. now that isn't the case. the writers in 1865 put pen to paper voluntarily to give expression to emotions they were feeling, where as in 2015, these letter writers are writing because they have been invited to do so and been contacted and asked.
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so that changes the tone and the style of the letters as well. but what you see is that many of them decide that the way to handle this is to draw connections between lincoln and their own time and place. so, for example, the mayor associated lincoln with her own region's history. what she termed a hotbed of progressive politics. the u.s. ambassador to beirut wrote that the lebanese people identified with the suffering of the civil war and the damage done by political assassinations, something they have had to deal with multiple times. a local official from ireland spoke of the influence that robert burns had had on lincoln. two leaders from england wondered whether a local bond had influenced lincoln's fight against slavery and went on to make a point that several letter
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writers made that slavery, even though the form that it took in the united states in the 19th century is now gone, still exists and is still a problem to tackle today. and one of my favorite example greece's ambassador to the united states expressed in his words, my personal awe to discover how well versed he was in the teachings of euclid. people are trying to make their connection with their own circumstances. lincoln continues to be many things to many people. you can trace the different themes rising and falling over the decades. for example, the anglo-saxon racial ideology isn't present anymore, but many of those other themes are. lincoln has endured as a global icon not list because the issues he confronted endure as global problems.
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we are still reckoning with the ideal of human quality and the realities of endemic inequality. the problems of nationalism, the centralization of political power, the tensions between morality and political pragmatism. the question of when to use force, the question of whether war can ever be righteous. no matter whether his clothes have wrinkles in them or not or how dignified his posture, lincoln left as his gift to us all and unparalleled coffer of words and deeds with the capacity to guide us through the world's greatest challenges. he has never been the same lincoln to everyone but he continues to be important around the world. thank you. [applause] paul: did i leave time for
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questions? i would love to hear your questions, comments. audience member: one question to get you started. i, a while back, lived in edinburgh for three months and i don't remember seeing the statue. where exactly is it located? peter: it is in the old calton burial ground. if you are on princess street and head east out of the central shopping district, you will come to it and it's on the right. there is one of those old forbidding stone door ways that you have to get to to get into the grave yard. there are a number of other monuments. you may have noticed in the image i showed, the lincoln statue is right next to the
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miserly in commemorating david hume -- the mausoleum commemorating david hume. it is an important place for this kind of thing. audience member: in the modern-day writeups of lincoln's influence, was there any noticeable backtracking from the u.k.'s stance during the civil war, which was in some places very pro confederate? paul: that was something that they forgot or neglected to mention or weren't aware of. one thing that did jump out at me, that even though some of the letters were thoughtful and represented real understanding of lincoln and who he was many , of them didn't know that much about lincoln. i certainly got the impression they wouldn't have been the details of britain's take on the civil war. it's something they just didn't mention.
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they even in 1865, there was a quick about-turn in britain in which that generation fairly quickly forgot attraction towards the confederacy. audience member: i confess that i was a little surprised to find out that someone who taught university in a different country would choose to focus on the american civil war. so, whether from a personal standpoint or at a higher level, could you simply comment or explain how this came to be. paul: for me, the personal story is quite a straightforward one. i took american history classes as a university student and fell in love with the subject first got interested slavery and
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the antebellum south. from there i was drawn to the civil war. it really is a popular subject in britain in general. and there are a number of universities where they have specialists in civil war history. it is very popular among the students. the three really popular areas of american history that british students tend to go for is slavery, civil war and civil rights. they are very interested in race in american history. audience member: you said that lincoln is a venerated in england as a republican icon. is there anyone in england that would be comparable to lincoln with that type of status? paul: that's a good question. i don't think anybody comparable
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in terms of the extent of his status and reputation or anything like that, but certainly figures throughout british history. one from lincoln's own time is john bright who was a politician. he was commemorated. but no one, i don't think, with the stature of lincoln. audience member: what would you say is the most egregious use of lincoln internationally? paul: that's a very good question. and i didn't come across in the research for this lecture anything that i would call egregious. there were some occasions that i felt they didn't have much knowledge of lincoln, but to be honest, i didn't come across any instance where i felt that lincoln was being grossly misused. i'm sure there are examples, but i haven't come across them. audience member: with all the
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debates over scottish independence, did anyone call on lincoln one way or the other? paul: that is a really good question. i can't think of examples off the top of my head, but i wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the better together campaigners, the one trying to keep the u.k. whole, i wouldn't be surprised if they enlisted lincoln because they -- it would tread so well with previous instances of lincoln. as i mentioned before,, eamon de valera, who was promoting the unity of the island of ireland in the early or middle part of the 20th century. it would make sense. i didn't notice any during the time of the debates, but it before,, would certainly make sense. audience member: you didn't cover it in your remarks today but could you share with us, what was going on with the english government during the civil war and the debate over recognition of the confederacy and how much sympathy there was for the union at the time. i know that one of president lincoln's motivations for the emancipation proclamation was to
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cut off that avenue and move the war, other than the union, keeping the union together, but to a higher level of ending slavery. would certainly make sense. paul: during the civil war opinion in great britain was mixed and evolved over time as well. but at the beginning of the war, one of the important considerations was the cotton trade, which britain relied upon the american south and its links with the south. that was an important consideration. british people in general gravitated towards the status quo because a country with the standing of great britain has investment in maintaining stability and international relations. that was another consideration and in terms of the official government response to the civil war, it was to wait and see,
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especially during the first couple of years of the war, to wait and see who won and let that determine who great britain supported and whether they recognized the confederacy or not. i always say the most important consideration was self-interest. great britain evaluated its own interests how they were affected , by the civil war and that included consideration of the cotton trade. it also included the trade britain enjoyed with the union states, financial connections and so on. it also involved the threat from the union and from secretary of state seward in particular that if britain did recognize the confederacy and aligned itself with the confederacy that the , union would declare war.


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