July 15 – 21, 2012 Location: Columbia University Seminars



Matthew Pinsker, Associate Professor of History, Pohanka Chair in American Civil War History, Dickinson College

James Oakes, Professor of History, The Graduate Center, The City University of New York



Historians James Oakes and Matthew Pinsker will explore Lincoln's evolving views on slavery, from his earliest anti-slavery expressions in the 1830s and 1840s to the development of his presidential emancipation policy during the Civil War. The seminar will consider how Lincoln grew in his attitudes about slavery and race, but also how certain of his natural rights principles remained constant throughout his career. Participants will examine a wide variety of primary source documents in the course of the week. The discussions will also strive to place Lincoln in the context of his day, offering particular attention to the ideas of abolitionists and Republicans and also to the often complicated legal arguments in the courts and Congress that preceded the abolition of American slavery. Finally, participants will consider how historians have debated these issues and how textbooks and teachers might more effectively incorporate these controversies into their classrooms as the 150th anniversary of emancipation approaches.

Please find below important information regarding Lincoln and Emancipation.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include:

Foner, Eric. The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery.  New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2010.

Oakes, James. The Radical and the Republican: Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.

Travel & Accomodations

There are several options for traveling to and from Columbia University. LaGuardia Airport is the closest to the campus; a taxicab ride is about $30.00 (including a 15% tip), and the M60 city bus goes directly from LaGuardia to the campus every half hour for $2.25 (change only). For visitors arriving at any area airport (including Newark International Airport), shuttle bus service is available to the Port Authority Bus Terminal or to Grand Central Station. The Columbia University website also provides detailed driving directions.  Parking is not available on campus, participants who drive will need to park in public parking lots.

Workshop participants will be housed in an on-campus dormitory. Participants will be placed in private rooms, but will share bathroom facilities. The university provides bedding and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring fans, alarm clocks, shampoo, hangers, irons, hair dryers, etc. There are telephones in each room, but they require a calling card to make outside calls. Every room is equipped with an Internet connection, but ethernet cables are not provided. Participants will have access to computer clusters, but many choose to bring laptops. Every floor has a lounge and a full kitchen.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.

Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses.

Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State College to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers.

Teachers are required to submit a reaction paper and a copy of one primary source activity completed during or immediately after the seminar.

Teachers will also be given an opportunity to take additional online and distance coursework that counts toward an MA in History from Adams State College.

Enroll and learn more about the course.
For more details, please contact: Edward R. Crowther, Ph.D.

To ensure that your credit appears on your transcript as summer-term class work, you must enroll by August 3, 2012.


E-mail the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.



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