Joseph T. Glatthaar, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Thavolia Glymph, Duke University
James Oakes, City University of New York, Graduate Center
Sean Wilentz, Princeton University
Few historians have written about the American past with more profound insight and impact than James M. McPherson. This panel will evaluate McPherson’s lifetime of scholarship and contributions to the historical profession. Topics will include his pioneering work in African American history; his part in reintroducing the study of the South into the national historical conversation; his groundbreaking reinterpretation of abolitionism and its legacy; his work on education, his new synthesis of Civil War history which defined the conflict as a Second American Revolution; and his reappraisal of Abraham Lincoln and his role in bringing that revolution to pass. The panelists will also discuss McPherson’s influence upon the writing of history through his invigoration of the narrative form and integration of traditional and “new” historical approaches, as well as his call for academic historians to reach general audiences and participate actively in the public market of ideas. The panel will conclude with remarks by James McPherson.