Friday, September 19, 2014

A Conference on "the Antislavery Origins of the Civil War"

[We have an announcement for The Antislavery Bulwark: The Antislavery Origins of the Civil War, a conference to be held Friday and Saturday, October 17-18, at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, 365 Fifth Ave., NY 10016.  We are told that the conference is free, albeit first come, first served.]

Bringing together the best new scholarship in the field, “The Antislavery Bulwark: The Antislavery Origins of the Civil War” points toward an important new way of thinking about the origins of the Civil War. The conference considers how the activities of antislavery Americans ultimately contributed to Southern secession and war. It places less emphasis on the radical abolitionist “vanguard” than on the broader antislavery movement, especially antislavery politics, stressing the common objects and premises of an often divided crusade. The larger intellectual goal is to reaffirm the strength and significance of antislavery politics in the early national and antebellum eras. Topics include the origins and significance of the Somerset case, the legal and political ramifications of the “first emancipation,” and antislavery politics in the new nation from the Missouri Crisis to the fugitive slave crisis of the 1850s and the election of 1860. Keynote address by David Blight.

Friday, October 17

1pm - 4 pm:  Seminar at the New-York Historical Society (170 Central Park West)

6:30 pm - 7:30 pm: Conference Introduction and Keynote Address

Elebash Recital Hall, CUNY Graduate Center
Chase Robinson, President, CUNY Graduate Center (Introduction)
David Blight (Keynote Address)

8 pm: Formal Dinner

Saturday, October 18
Panels: Proshanky Auditorium, CUNY Graduate Center

9 am – 9:15 am:  Introduction

9:15 am – 10:30 am: Late British Empire/Revolutionary Era/ Early National

John Blanton on the imperial antecedents of Somerset
Sarah Levine-Gronningsater on the first emancipation
David Gary on the Missouri Crisis
Chris Brown, Chair

10:45 am – 12 pm: Abolitionism and Antislavery Politics in the Antebellum Era

Corey Brooks on the Slave Power
Caleb McDaniel on Garrison and public opinion
Joseph Murphy on the origins of the antislavery platform
Amy Dru Stanley, Chair

1:30 pm – 2:45 pm: Political Crisis of the 1850s

Matthew Pinsker on the politics of fugitive slaves
Manisha Sinha on antislavery politics in the 1850s
James Oakes on state abolition during the Civil War
Sean Wilentz, Chair

3 pm – 4:30 pm: Panel Discussion:  Implications

Eric Foner, James McPherson, James Brewer Stewart
Catherine Clinton, Moderator