GCC to offer Lecture Series to Commemorate Beginning of Civil War

In an effort to commemorate the opening of the Civil War 150 years ago, GCC historians will deliver a series of four lectures in March and April (3/22, 3/29, 4/5, 4/12) – with the last to coincide with the date when the War began. The lectures will be free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested. Those interested may contact the BEST Center to register.

Beginning on Tuesday, March 22nd, the series will be held every Tuesday evening from 7:00-9:00pm in the Conable Technology Building on the Batavia Campus. Professors Derek Maxfield, Garth Swanson, and Peter Francione will take turns offering topics ranging from the coming of the war to a consideration of Union cavalry.

The first lecture, in room T122 on March 22nd, will be entitled “Prelude to Disaster.” Derek Maxfield will examine how the young republic held the seeds of sectional conflict from the very beginning:

“As early as George Washington’s administration, political figures like Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson quarreled over the future of the country – Hamilton seeking to create a strong central government operated by and for the elite, and Jefferson who preferred most power left to the states and had faith in the virtue of the average man. The country quickly began to expand westward, and the institution of slavery exploded across the Deep South with King Cotton, and a powerful new evangelical revival movement – The Second Great Awakening – would push Americans to make this world better in preparation for Judgment Day. It was like a recipe for disaster. One by one the ingredients would be added. Tensions between interests, sections, reformers, and politicians would create much heat. Looking back on it, it is easy to see what they were cooking. But the better question is: did they?”

To register for the lectures please contact The BEST Center at 585-345-6868.

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About Derek Maxfield

Associate Professor of History Genesee Community College
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