Apr 4, 2014
By EJ Schodzinski
ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio – Dr. Brian Schoen, associate professor of history at Ohio University, will give a presentation on secession and the origins of the Civil War at the University’s Eastern Campus on Thursday, April 17, at 7 p.m. in Room 219. In his talk Schoen will examine how the Southern states’ vibrant international cotton trade caused them to believe that disunion from the North was desirable and would be welcomed abroad.
This lecture is being presented in conjunction with the exhibition, “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War,” which is on display at the Eastern Campus during the month of April. Several local historical societies, including Great Stone Viaduct Organization, Grave Creek Mound Museum, and Historic Fort Steuben, will also set up informational displays for viewing at 6 p.m. before the lecture.
“As Crimean voters (aided by Russian soldiers) took to the polls and voted for secession and annexation to Russia, we are reminded of the unique challenges that defining nations and regions in a global context present, even today,” said Schoen. “This talk will take us back to some Americans’ own fateful decision to secede and the war that resulted. It will look at the ways that international developments, economic and political, shaped Americans' own decision to go to war with one another. Ultimately it will consider what secession meant to Americans and the rest of the world.”
Schoen’s teaching and research focus on the political, social, economic and intellectual history of the early United States from its early struggles through its near dissolution in the midst of the Civil War. His research examines how international developments shaped regional perception, politics, commitment or opposition to slavery, and relationships to and within the federal union.
Schoen is the author of “The Fragile Fabric of Union: Cotton, Federal Politics, and the Global Origins of the Civil War,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press and winner of the 2010 Southern Historical Association's Bennett H. Wall Award. He is co-editor of “The Old South’s Modern Worlds: Slavery, Region, and Nation in the Age of Progress” and has authored several articles and book chapters on politics, southern history, slavery and the Civil War. He has been a commentator on several radio and TV programs and is currently working on a new book-length study of the statecraft of the sectional and secession crises.
Schoen completed his undergraduate work at the University of Arkansas (B.A.) and received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. Before coming to Ohio University in 2006, he was a post-doctoral fellow at the Library Company of Philadelphia and taught at Georgetown University and California State University, Sacramento.
“Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” will be on display in the art gallery Mondays through Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. now through May 1. The National Constitution Center and the American Library Association Public Programs Office organized the traveling exhibition, which was made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH): great ideas brought to life. The traveling exhibition is based on an exhibition of the same name developed by the National Constitution Center.
The traveling exhibition is composed of informative panels featuring photographic reproductions of original documents, including a draft of Lincoln’s first inaugural speech, the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment.
Ohio University Eastern is conveniently located off I70, exit 213, just west of St. Clairsville.