Tonight, I had the amazing privilege of listening to Dr. Daniel W. Crofts, Civil War expert and Professor Emeritus of History at the College of New Jersey deliver his speech, “The Paradoxical Emancipator: Abraham Lincoln and the Other Thirteenth Amendment.” His work primarily focuses on the North-South sectional crisis that eventually led to the Civil War and his literary work truly captures the essence of the troubles that plagued the United States during the 1860’s.
The aspect of Dr. Croft’s speech that I found to be the most fascinating was his evaluation of President Abraham Lincoln. President Lincoln is naturally an iconic figure as a result of our basic knowledge of history, but Dr. Croft delved a little bit deeper during his lecture. He heavily focused on how Lincoln had always heartily opposed the concept of slavery in the United States, even before he became involved in politics. He examined Lincoln’s relationship with the early Republican party, saying that members of this government party such as Congressmen Joshua R. Giddings actually opposed slavery as well and that the South was highly offended by this opinion. Dr. Croft demonstrated that aside from the basic facts we already knew, Abraham Lincoln was truly passionate about ending slavery and promoting social justice around the United States, something that we students here at Siena College value very highly.
Were you able to come to Dr. Croft’s presentation? If you did, let me know in the comments what you think! I’ve also listed Dr. Croft’s books and articles below, so go check them out!
Julia Lowney, Student Intern
Reluctant Confederates: Upper South Unionists in the Secession Crisis (1989)
Old Southampton: Politics and Society in a Virginia County (1992)
A Secession Crisis Enigma: William Henry Hurlbert and the Diary of a Public Man (2010)
Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The Other Thirteenth Amendment and the Struggle to Save the Union (recent)
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/author/daniel-w-crofts/?_r=0 Dr. Croft’s articles for the New York Times “Disunion” blog