Acclaimed Civil War Historian Discusses Lincoln’s Legacy in Lawrence University Address

APPLETON, WIS. — Pulitzer Prize-winning author and renowned Civil War historian James McPherson delivers the opening address in Lawrence University’s two-part Robert S. French Lectures on the Civil War Era.


McPherson, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History Emeritus at Princeton University, presents “Lincoln’s Legacy for our Time” Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 4:30 p.m. in the Warch Campus Center cinema. The event is free and open to the public.

When President Lincoln transformed the Civil War into a “Second American Revolution,” he launched a national debate over the nature of American equality and freedom that still rages today. McPherson will discuss how the unfulfilled promise of that revolution represents Lincoln’s legacy – and challenge – for modern Americans.

One of the country’s most honored historians, McPherson spent 42 years on the history department faculty at Princeton before retiring in 2004.

He has written extensively about the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, abolition and Reconstruction and is the author of 15 books, including the national best seller “Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era,” which earned the 1989 Pulitzer Prize in history. In 1998, he received the Lincoln Prize, which is awarded annually for the finest scholarly English work on Abraham Lincoln, the American Civil War soldier, or a subject relating to their era for his book “For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War.”

Most recently he wrote 2007’s “This Mighty Scourge: Perspectives on the Civil War” and 2008’s “Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief.”

McPherson has served as a consultant on the 1993 film “Gettysburg,” and two PBS television documentaries, Ken Burns’ “The Civil War” and “Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided.”

The French Lectures on the Civil War Era are supported by the Wisconsin Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, the Lawrence University Excellence in History Fund and the Lawrence history department.