Events Mission in Action Museum News The Impending Crisis

2024 Spring Lecture Series


Join us for our Spring Lecture Series as we delve into the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War, from abolition through Reconstruction, as part of our extensive initiative “The Civil War & Remaking America” and prepare to open our newest exhibition, The Impending Crisis in Spring 2024!

Members of the ACWM can attend events for free with promo codes sent to their emails


march 21 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | AcWM-Tredegar

Join us for an engaging discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Leonard, Colby College’s Gibson Professor of History, Emerita, and ACWM President and CEO, Dr. Rob Havers, exploring how Butler’s prewar identity, character, and views, as well as his skills and weaknesses, shaped the Union general he would become as the war got underway.

Before the start of the Civil War, Benjamin Franklin Butler was a well-known, ambitious, and successful lawyer in his adopted hometown of Lowell, Massachusetts. He supported the idea of waged-labor, but he was not necessarily against slavery. He was also a husband, a father, a leader in his state’s militia, and a promising figure in the Democratic parties both at the state and national levels. He was even known to have voted for Jefferson Davis on more than fifty ballots at the party’s 1860 convention in Charleston.

Elizabeth D. Leonard is Colby College’s Gibson Professor of History, Emerita. She earned her Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of California, Riverside, in 1992 and is the author of several articles and seven books on the Civil War-era including: Yankee Women: Gender Battles in the Civil War; All the Daring of the Soldier: Women of the Civil War Armies; and Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky, which was named co-winner of the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize in 2012. Her most recent book, Benjamin Franklin Butler: A Noisy, Fearless Life, also named a finalist for the 2023 Lincoln Prize, won the John L. Nau III Center for Civil War Studies 2023 book prize.

April 25 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | AcWM-Tredegar

Join us for this discussion with Dr. David Blight, Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. Moderated by ACWM President and CEO Dr. Rob Havers.

In the Civil War era, Frederick Douglass transformed from a ferocious critic of the American nation to its defender and advocate. Along the way, he left a lasting imprint on how Americans imagine their democracy.

David W. Blight is Sterling Professor of History and Director of the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom; American: The Civil War in the Civil Rights Era; Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory; and annotated editions of Douglass’s first two autobiographies. He has worked on Douglass for much of his professional life and has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Bancroft Prize, the Abraham Lincoln Prize, and the Frederick Douglass Prize, among others. Blight has always been a teacher first. At the beginning of his career, he spent seven years as a high school history teacher in his hometown of Flint, Michigan. Blight maintains a website, including information about public lectures, books, articles, and interviews at www.davidwblight.com/

May 30 @ 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm | AcWM-Tredegar

Join us for this discussion with Dr. Barton A. Myers, Washington and Lee University. Moderated by ACWM President and CEO Dr. Rob Havers.

One of the most important, if often overlooked, figures of the late antebellum period is General Winfield Scott, the General in Chief of the U.S. Army. For two decades before the Civil War, he was the most critical figure in the American government. How did his unionism and his views on slavery and abolition impact his decisions during the days of1860 and 1861? Scott’s relationship with James Buchanan, John B. Floyd, Abraham Lincoln, Robert E. Lee, and other notable figures of the sectional crisis will frame a discussion of his personal loyalty.

Barton A. Myers is Professor of History at Washington and Lee University and the author of the awarding winning Executing Daniel Bright: Race, Loyalty, and Guerrilla Violence in a Coastal Carolina Community, 1861-1865 (LSU Press, 2009), Rebels Against the Confederacy: North Carolina’s Unionists (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2014), and co-editor with Brian D. McKnight of The Guerrilla Hunters: Irregular Conflicts during the Civil War (LSU Press, 2017). Dr. Myers is a recipient of prestigious grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Marine Corps Historical Center, the Filson Historical Society, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History. He speaks widely to Civil War groups and roundtables around the United States. Dr. Myers’ work has been featured in the national media, including TimeLos Angeles Times, the Richmond Times-DispatchSmerconish.com, Sirius XM’s “The Michael Smerconish Program”, CSPAN’s “American History TV”, National Public Radio’s Virginia Insight, and the Civil War Monitor. He was featured in the acclaimed HISTORY Channel documentary series GRANT, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio and historian Ron Chernow, as well as the HISTORY Channel miniseries event ABRAHAM LINCOLN, featuring President Barack Obama and produced by historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. Most recently, he served as an expert in the HISTORY series “DARK MARVELS” on the world history of diabolical military technology.