During the American Civil War Abraham Lincoln stated that his paramount object was to save the Union, leading many since to question his reputation as “The Great Emancipator.” Emancipation and the nation’s unity were indivisible in Lincoln’s mind, and it was for the fusion and pursuit of these two ideas that British and other foreign progressives of the time esteemed him so highly. What were the international repercussions of Lincoln’s actions? Even more basically, what were his actual motivations?
Richard Carwardine, previously the Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University, and now President of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, addressed these questions in a presentation to the Washington History Seminar on May 13. He has a particular interest in the politics and religion of the Civil War era. His political biography, Lincoln: A Life of Purpose and Power, won the Lincoln Prize in 2004. An essay collection, The Global Lincoln, co-edited with Jay Sexton, appeared in 2011.
A webcast of this session is available here, thanks to C-SPAN, which aired it as part of their American History TV series.