George Rable Delivers 2018 Fortenbaugh Lecture

George Rable Delivers 2018 Fortenbaugh Lecture

The 57th annual Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture, held annually on November 19, featured Dr. George Rable, who presented Fighting for Reunion: Dilemmas of Hatred and Vengeance. The program began at 7:00 pm at the Majestic Theater (25 Carlisle Street, Gettysburg). The lecture was live-streamed for those unable to attend in person.

Rable’s lecture examined a central paradox for supporters of the Union during the Civil War. Any war, including a civil war, inevitably generates hatred of the enemy and calls for vengeance. But reunion (which remained the most important northern war aim) also made intense hatred of the Confederates problematic. During the war, northerners debated the nature and limits of hatred and vengeance. This at times tamped down expressions of hatred toward the “rebels” even as many northerners expressed considerable partisan and racial hostility.

George Rable is Professor Emeritus and formerly the Charles G. Summersell Chair in Southern History at the University of Alabama. His books include: God’s Almost Chosen Peoples:  A Religious History of the American Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), which won the 2011 Jefferson Davis Award; Fredericksburg! Fredericksburg! (University of North Carolina Press, 2002), which won the Lincoln Prize, the Society for Military History Distinguished Book Award in American Military History, the Jefferson Davis Award, and the Douglas Southall Freeman History Award; The Confederate Republic:  A Revolution Against Politics (University of North Carolina Press, 1994); Civil Wars: Women and the Crisis of Southern Nationalism (University of Illinois Press, 1989); and But There Was No Peace:  The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction (University of Georgia Press, 1984).

Rable served as President of the Society of Civil War Historians from 2004-2008. His most recent book is Damn Yankees! Demonization and Defiance in the Confederate South (Louisiana State University Press, 2015), which won the James I. Robertson, Jr. Literary Prize. He is currently working on a book on the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and George B. McClellan.

The Robert Fortenbaugh Memorial Lecture is presented each year on November 19, the anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. The goal of the lecture is to speak to the literate general public without abandoning solid scholarly moorings.