Thursday, July 08, 2010

News--- Wide Awake in 1860 America: Petersburg's Pamplin Park Offers Attractive October Conference

14th Annual Symposium: The 1860 Presidential Election and the Coming of the Civil War October 15-17, 2010

Civil War conferences have become frequent, expensive and somewhat uneven in quality. It can be fun to hunt for the best location, with the best speakers, the best tours, a couple of decent meals, and at the best price. Last October's Harper's Ferry National Park's conference on John Brown was exceptional in each category. This July's Society of Civil War Historians meeting in Richmond, Virginia met the criteria for a good conference. The following appears to receive high marks in each of the categories; it does exceed the $200 mark but comes with 5 meals and a reception. The $215/$239 registration fee is reasonable. CWL is familiar with each of the speakers' work and holds them in high esteem. Having interests in the Wide Awake Movement, the 1860 election, and the 'Inevitable Civil War' arguments, CWL hopes the October 15-17 date will be open. Hmmm. . . Is that a conflict with the Cedar Creek, Virginia Reenactment? Haven't marched on that field for about 5 years. But this conference appears strong enough that Cedar Creek [one of my favorite reenactments in which to participate] is an annual event might be skipped by CWL again this year. During the SCWH's conference a very reasonable price and very comfortable hotel was found in Richmond so the two overnight stay would be bearable.

Also, last year CWL made a first visit to Pamplin Park and, as a Civil War reenactor and academic, came away impressed. For this reenactor, the camp life and field works were top notch. For this academic and educator, the exhibits were well done and available to a wide range of ages; by the way, CWL has taught K-12with the exception of 6th grade and currently teaches undergraduate students.

Speakers & Topics

George C. Rable, University of Alabama, Author of The Confederate Republic: A Revolution Against Politics. Topic: “Not Man nor Parties: The Election of 1860 as a Crisis of Faith”

Elizabeth Varon, Temple University, Author of Disunion: The Coming of the American Civil War 1789-1859 Topic: “The Specter of Disunion in Party Politics, 1852-1860”

Gary Ecelbarger, Author of The Great Comeback: How Abraham Lincoln Beat the Odds to Win the 1860 Republican Nomination, Topic: “The Nomination of Abraham Lincoln”

Joseph G. Dawson, Texas A&M University Author of Commanders in Chief: Presidential Leadership in Modern War, Topic: “Three Southern Governors and the Election of 1860”

William W. Freehling,, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Author of The Road to Disunion: Secessionists at Bay, 1776-1854 and The Road to Disunion: Secessionists Triumphant,1854-1861, Topic: “Was Lincoln an Immediate Threat to Slavery?”

Russell McClintock, St. John’s School, Shrewsbury, Mass Author of Lincoln and the Decision for War: The Northern Response to Secession, Topic: “Lincoln, Douglas, and the Response to Secession”

A. Wilson Greene, Executive Director, Pamplin Historical Park Topic: “Avoidable Tragedy or Irrepressible Conflict: Was the Civil War Inevitable?

Registration Information and Top Image: Pamplin Park

Middle Image: "Young Men for War": The Wide Awakes and Lincoln's 1860 Presidential Campaign Journal of American History, Vol. 96, Sept. 2009

Bottom Image: Election of 1860 Campaign Flag

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