The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

by Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University

The Third Annual Bill Tuttle Lecture in American Studies was delivered by Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor of History at Columbia University and one of the country's most important historians. The title of his talk was "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery."

Eric Foner's publications have concentrated on the intersections of intellectual, political, and social history. His best-known books are Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men (second edition, 1995); Tom Paine and Revolutionary America (1976); Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (1988 and winner of the Bancroft Prize, Parkman Prize, and Los Angeles Times Book Award); The Story of American Freedom (1998); and Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World (2008).

Professor Foner is also one of the nation's outstanding college teachers. In addition, he is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the British Academy, and he is only the second person to serve as president of the three major professional organizations in history: the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians.

Recently, Professor Steven Hahn, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian, has written of Eric Foner: "Like his mentor Richard Hofstadter, he has had an enormous influence on how other historians, as well as a good cut of the general reading public, have come to think about American history. This is the result of his voluminous scholarship and of his decades as a teacher. Indeed, when one considers the chronological and topical range of Foner's many books and essays... only Hofstadter, C. Vann Woodward, David Brion Davis, and, in an earlier era, Charles Beard... would seem to be his genuine rivals in impact and accomplishment."

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