Please note: Due to unforeseen circumstances, Harold Holzer is no longer able to participate in this program.
Many pre-Civil War antislavery proponents advocated for peaceful abolition: if slave states were surrounded by free states, mass numbers of slaves would be compelled to escape, the Southern economy would be undermined, and voluntary state abolition would be imminent.
In collaboration with the New-York Historical Society and Oxford University Press, the Bryant Park Reading Room presents a series of free lectures to stimulate your mind on popular topics including politics, biography, Civil War history, and more.
William Henry Seward was one of the most important Americans of the nineteenth century: progressive governor of New York, outspoken federal senator, secretary of state during the Civil War and its aftermath, and a target of the assassins who killed Lincoln. Join us for an illuminating conversation about a complex and pivotal figure, Lincoln’s closest friend and adviser, and an early architect of America’s empire.
The late 18th and early 19th centuries were a time of upheaval and revolution. In conjunction with the new exhibition, Revolution!, historians examine the tumultuous 30-year period which saw the American and Haitian Revolutions and the end of the transatlantic slave trade to the U.S. and the British colonies. How were these events related and what forces combined to effect so much social change in such a short span?
This program transports us to the 1963 centennial celebration of the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation to explore how Americans made sense of the suffering, loss and liberation that had wracked the United States a century earlier. David W. Blight and Drew Gilpin Faust discuss how four of America’s most incisive writers—including Robert Penn Warren, a white southerner who recanted his support for segregation, and James Baldwin, the searing African-American essayist and activist—explored the gulf between remembrance and reality.