Symposium endorsed by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission

Abraham Lincoln Institute

Eleventh Annual Symposium - March 29, 2008

"The Latest in Lincoln Scholarship"

Co-sponsored by the Abraham Lincoln Institute, Inc., the National Archives, the Foundation for the National Archives, the Illinois State Society of Washington, D.C., and the generosity of individual donors; and, endorsed by the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission.

Held at the National Archives II, College Park, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C.  –  Symposium Brochure


Symposium audience - Joe Truglio, Henry F Ballone, Chris Garabrant & Bob Gerber
Conference attendees Symposium 2008.
Select Symposium 2008 Photos
Photos © Henry F. Ballone.
Entire Symposium 2008 Photo Collection


Videos courtesy of Lincoln Archives Project.

Dr. Gabor Boritt

Gabor Boritt  -  PhD, Director, Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College

Dr. Boritt is the Robert Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies as well as Director of the Civil War Institute at Gettysburg College. Born in World War II Hungary, he participated in the 1956 revolution against the Soviet Union. He is the author, co-author, or editor of sixteen books about Lincoln and the Civil War. Boritt and his wife live on a farm near the Gettysburg, PA, Battlefield.

Key Publication:  Gettysburg Gospel

Symposium Topic:  "How Some Few ‘Remarks’ Became the ‘Gettysburg Address’"
Dr. Boritt traced the course of Lincoln’s short speech at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery. Few recognized its greatness in 1863; yet, by the early 20th century, the "Gettysburg Address’ was comparable in significance to the "Lord’s Prayer."


Dr. William C. Harris

William C. Harris – PhD, Professor Emeritus of History, North Carolina State University

Dr. Harris is the author of several noteworthy books on Lincoln:

  • With Charity for All: Lincoln and the Restoration of the Union (1997)
     * Winner, Lincoln Prize, Second Place, for Civil War history, 1998
  • Lincoln’s Last Months (2004)
  •  Lincoln’s Rise to the Presidency (2007)
     * Winner, Henry Adams Prize, Society for History in the Federal Government

Symposium Topic:  "Lincoln and the Mexican-American War Revisited "
Dr. Harris provided fresh insights on Lincoln’s justification for his opposition to the war and the political effect, at the time and later, of his opposition.


Dr. William Lee Miller

William Lee Miller – PhD, Scholar in Ethics and Institutions, Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia

Dr. Miller now lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has taught at Yale University, Smith College, and Indiana University.

Dr. Miller’s previous books include:

  • Arguing About Slavery: John Quincy Adams and the Great Battle in the American Congress
  •  Lincoln’s Virtues, an Ethical Biography

Symposium Topic:  "Lincoln Does His Duty as a Statesman"
Dr. Miller described Lincoln as both a politician and statesman, one who was at once morally praiseworthy, practically successful, and enormously engaging.


Dr. David Work

David Work – PhD, Visiting Assistant Professor, Texas A&M University, Doha, Qatar

Dr. Work PhD study was concentrated on the Civil War and the Reconstruction. He has been teaching at TexasA&M University since 2004.

Key Publication:  Lincoln's Political Generals

Symposium Topic:  "Why Lincoln Appointed Political Generals"
Dr. Work discussed Lincoln’s belief that the policy of appointing politicians generals was essential to build a national coalition to wage civil war.





Discussion Topic:  "The Lincoln - Douglas Debates" – Relying on new scholarly analysis of the texts and the historical context of the Debates, the panel discussed the role of the Debates in Lincoln’s political emergence.

Dr. Rodney O. Davis

Rodney O. Davis, Ph.D. – Co-Director, Lincoln Studies Center Knox College

Dr. Davis taught American History at Knox College from 1963 until 1997, before becoming co-director of the Lincoln Studies Center at Knox College.

Dr. Davis has co-edited, with Douglas L. Wilson:

Key Publications:
  • Herndon’s Informants: Letters, Interviews and Statements About Abraham Lincoln
  •  Herndon’s Lincoln

Additionally, Dr. Davis is editor or co-editor of five other books and some 60 essays and reviews on Illinois History, Abraham Lincoln, and the United States in the Nineteenth Century.


Dr. Douglas L. Wilson

Douglas L. Wilson, Ph.D. – Co-Director Lincoln Studies Center Knox College

Dr. Wilson is the George A. Lawrence Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of English at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.

Dr. Wilson is also a two-time winner of the Lincoln Prize for:
  • Lincoln’s Sword: The Presidency and the Power of Words (2006)
  •  Honor’s Voice (1999)


Dr. Allen C. Guelzo

Allen C. Guelzo, Ph.D. – Luce Professor, Civil War Era Studies Gettysburg College

Dr. Guelzo also directs The Gettysburg Semester at Gettysburg College.

Dr. Guelzo is the author of several noteworthy books on Lincoln:

  • Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President (1999)
     * Winner, Lincoln Prize
  • Lincoln'a Last Months (2004)
     * Winner, Lincoln Prize
  •  Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America (2004)
     Lincoln and Douglas - The Debates that Defined America


Drs. Davis and Wilson recently published a new edition of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which address two realities about those encounters:

  1. The debates have long since ceased to be self-explanatory
  2. The divergent newspaper texts as originally recorded require editorial treatment

To allow the debates to be accessible and appreciated by contemporary readers Drs. Davis and Wilson have striven to place them in historical context through introductions, extensive annotations, and a glossary. By means of a critical process they reconciled many discrepancies in existing versions to more reliably relate what the speakers actually said.

Drs. Davis and Wilson, along with Dr. Guelzo, brought the debates alive with contemporary detail and thoughtful analysis.