The Triumph of Abolitionism


The Triumph of Abolitionism



A leading historian of 19th century America spoke Sept. 12 at the University of Mississippi on “The Triumph of Abolitionism” as part of the Gilder-Jordan Lecture in Southern Cultural History.

James Oakes, distinguished professor and chair of humanities at the City University of New York, has an international reputation for path-breaking scholarship. In a series of influential books and essays, he tackled the history of the United States from the Revolution through the Civil War. His early work focused on the South, examining slavery as an economic and social system that shaped Southern life. By studying abolitionism, Oakes aims to clarify exactly what was at stake in the Civil War. The title of his lecture highlights his main point.

His pioneering books include The Ruling Race (1982), Slavery and Freedom: An Interpretation of the Old South (1990), The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics (2007) and Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865 (2012). The latter two garnered the 2008 and 2013 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, an annual award for the finest scholarly work in English on Abraham Lincoln or the American Civil War era.

His most recent book is The Scorpion’s Sting: Antislavery and the Coming of the Civil War (2015).

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The Triumph of Abolitionism