The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

History Program Events

17-18 October conference – The Antislavery Bulwark: The Antislavery Origins of the Civil War


Friday, October 17 & Saturday, October 18   Elebash Recital Hall Bringing together the best new scholarship in the field, “The Antislavery Bulwark: The Antislavery Origins of the Civil War” points toward an important new way of thinking about the origins of the Civil War. The conference considers how the activities of antislavery Americans ultimately contributed to Southern secession and war. It places less emphasis on the radical abolitionist “vanguard” than on the broader antislavery movement, especially antislavery politics, stressing the common objects and premises of an often divided crusade. The larger intellectual goal is to reaffirm the strength and significance of antislavery politics in the early national and antebellum eras. Topics include the origins and significance of the Somerset case, the legal and political ramifications of the “first emancipation,” and antislavery politics in the new nation from the Missouri Crisis to the fugitive slave crisis of the 1850s and the election of 1860.  Keynote address by David W. Blight, professor of American history at Yale University and director of the Gilder-Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition.


Free; first-come, first-served.

Friday, October 17

6:30 pm: Conference Introduction & Keynote Address

Saturday, October 18

9 am to 4:30 pm: Panels

NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. For more information, call GC Public Programs at 212-817-8215.  Co-sponsored by the Advanced Research Collaborative (ARC), the Ph.D. Program in History, the New-York Historical Society, and Harvard University.