Programs & Events

Seminar Summit, July 19-22: Slavery, Abolition, and Their Afterlives in the Long Nineteenth Century

Due to the growing health crisis and restrictions on in-person gatherings, the Gilder Lehrman Institute will not be able to offer in-person Teacher Seminars this summer. We are working on an alternative offering for the summer. Please visit for updates.


Manisha Sinha, Draper Chair in American History, University of Connecticut


This seminar will examine the problem of slavery and the struggle to abolish it in the United States. It will discuss the entrenched place of racial slavery in the nation’s and the global political economy. We will also trace the emergence of abolition, a radical, interracial social movement, from the American Revolution to the Civil War, illustrating the hundred-year history of emancipation. The seminar will explore how slave resistance, especially fugitivity, laid the foundations for the movement of the enslaved to Union Army lines during the Civil War, which initiated the emancipation process culminating with President Lincoln’s Proclamation. Emancipation made black citizenship a touchstone of redefining American democracy after the war during Reconstruction. The seminar will conclude with a discussion of the attempt to establish an interracial democracy in the postwar South and its ultimate overthrow through a combination of racial terror, political reaction, legal retrenchment, and northern apathy. Slavery and its afterlives lay at the heart of the contest over democracy and citizenship in the long nineteenth century.

Travel & Accommodations

This seminar is part of the 2020 Teacher Seminar Summit. During this inaugural Summit, the Institute will offer twelve concurrent seminars ranging from the Age of Discovery through the Vietnam War. The Summit is expected to serve more than 400 teachers. Each attendee will participate in a seminar with a lead scholar and master teacher, and will have the opportunity to attend book talks where they can hear other eminent historians discuss their major works. This unique format will also give all participating teachers a chance to network with each other.

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements; the Institute will provide a stipend of $350 for travel expenses. Read the policy hereGettysburg College is located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The closest and most convenient airports are Harrisburg International Airport (a 45-minute drive) and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (a 75-minute drive). The college provides shuttle service to campus from many of the major transportation hubs in the area. Call Transportation Services, 717-337-6923, to make arrangements.

The Harrisburg Amtrak Station is about 45 minutes from campus. Again, the college provides shuttle service so long as you call ahead.

If you plan to drive, the Gettysburg College website will provide you with detailed instructions.

Workshop participants will stay in on-campus housing in private bedrooms with a shared common bathroom and common space. The rooms are air-conditioned. The college will provide sheets, a blanket, a pillow, and one towel. You are welcome to bring your own fitted sheets. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, irons, hair dryers, and shower shoes.

Participants should plan to bring laptops, as computer access on campus will be limited.


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


Please be sure to review the Institute’s policies on independent school teacher participation and travel stipends before applying.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

Seminar Year: 2019-2020