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Posted at 1:44 PM ET, 02/10/2011

Prestigious Lincoln Prize goes to Eric Foner

By Linda Wheeler

Prominent historian Eric Foner will receive the 2011 $50,000 Lincoln Prize for his book, “The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery” according to an announcement this morning by prize sponsors Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. He will receive the award on May 11 at the Union League Club in New York.

Foner, the DeWitt Clinton professor of history at Columbia University, wrote in Fiery Trial about the evolving attitude of Lincoln toward slavery and slaves as the Civil War unfolded. The 16th President, who always said he abhorred slavery, initially sought to eradicate it by promoting colonization of other countries by former slaves. Later he changed that opinion and sought full citizenship for African Americans in this country.

A Kirkus review said, “Foner is particularly impressive in explaining the hesitations, backward steps and trial balloons …that preceded [Lincoln’s] embrace of emancipation.” The Library Journal wrote, “To Foner, Lincoln both operated within and transcended the politics of slavery in his day. His capacity for growth was the lodestar of his greatness as an instrument for freedom.”

The three-member Lincoln Prize jury reviewed 106 entries. They were 2010 Lincoln Prize winner Michael Burlingame; Paul Finkelman, senior fellow in the Government Law Center at Albany Law School; and Jacqueline Jones, University of Texas at Austin history professor and author of “Saving Savannah: The City and the Civil War.”

The other six finalists for the prize were each awarded an honorable mention, an unusually large number in the 21-year history of the prize. They are Kate Masur, author of “An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle Over Equality in Washington, D.C.” and a panel member of the Washington Post’s Civil War Project; Robert Bray, author of “Reading Lincoln”; Lorien Foote, author of “The Gentlemen and the Roughs: Violence, Honor and Manhood in the Union Army”; Mark W. Geiger, author of “Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri’s Civil War, 1861-1865”; Stanley Harrold, author of “Border War: Fighting Over Slavery Before the Civil War”; and Howard Jones, author of “Blue and Gray Diplomacy: A History of Union and Confederate Foreign Relations.”

By Linda Wheeler  | February 10, 2011; 1:44 PM ET
Categories:  News  | Tags:  eric foner  
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Congrats to Mr. Foner! He is a great historian!

Posted by: persingerce | February 11, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

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