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15th Annual Presidential Symposium –Civil War and Immigration

February 24 @ 2:00 pm 5:30 pm

While the Civil War erupted over—and ultimately brought about the destruction of—domestic slavery, it was fought on the battlefield not only by black and white American-born soldiers, but also by hundreds of thousands of foreign-born immigrants. By enlisting to save the Union, these new arrivals affirmed their loyalty to their adopted country. In turn, the war and its tremendous loss of life encouraged President Abraham Lincoln to expand immigration from Europe to fill the depleted ranks of both the military and private industry. Quickly winning the right to vote, German- and Irish-born voters forever changed the face of U.S. elections. With a focus on Lincoln and his impact on immigration policy, this symposium will look back and explore the surprising role of immigration and immigrants on the battles and politics of the Civil War era and beyond. With the issues of migration and citizenship still under debate in 21st-century America, we will discuss how the lasting effects of these policies are still felt across the nation and in South Florida.

Support for this program is generously provided by Jean & Bill Soman and David Lawrence, Jr. – The Children’s Movement of Florida.

The Presidential Symposium will take place from 2:00-4:00 p.m. and a reception will follow from 4:00-5:30 p.m.

In partnership with Books & Books, Harold Holzer’s newest book Brought Forth on This Continent will be available for purchase. Additional related titles by panelists will also be available!

Register here

ASL interpretation will be available during the program. To request materials in accessible format, sign language interpreters, and/or any disability accommodation, please contact Hana Squires, Accessibility Coordinator, at accessibility@historymiami.org or call (305) 375-1621 at least two weeks in advance of your visit to initiate your request. TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service).

a close-up of a hand

Our Moderator & Panelists:

Harold Holzer, Panelist
Jonathan F. Fanton Director, Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College

Harold Holzer, winner of the 2008 National Humanities Medal and the 2015 Gilder-Lehrman Lincoln Prize, is one of the country’s leading authorities on Abraham Lincoln and the political culture of the Civil War era. A prolific writer and lecturer, and a frequent guest on television, Holzer served for 10 years as co-chairman of the U.S. Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton, and is now chairman of The Lincoln Forum. The author or co-author of 55 books, Holzer was historical advisor to Steven Spielberg’s Oscar-winning Lincoln and the recent CNN series Lincoln: Divided We Stand.  Most recently he has appeared on the new History Channel series, Lincoln. Learn more about Harold Holzer at Harold Holzer | Lincoln Scholar.

Photo: Matt Capowski

Kunal M. Parker, Panelist

Professor of Law Associate

Dean for Intellectual Life and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar, University of Miami

Kunal M. Parker is a Professor of Law and Dean’s Distinguished Scholar at the University of Miami School of Law.  He holds a Ph.D in History from Princeton University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a B.A. from Harvard University.  Professor Parker’s research interests lie in American intellectual history, the philosophy of history, the history of American legal thought, and the history of U.S. immigration and citizenship law.  He is the author of three books: The Turn to Process: American Legal, Political, and Economic Thought (2024); Making Foreigners: Immigration and Citizenship Law in America (2015); and Common Law, History, and Democracy in America, 1790 – 1900: Legal Thought Before Modernism (2011).

Hon. Frank J. WilliamsModerator
Retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island

The Hon. Frank J. Williams is the retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Rhode Island. He is a noted Abraham Lincoln scholar and author, as well as a lecturer on the subject throughout the country and one of its major Lincoln collectors. The author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books – and a contributor to many others – Williams also served as founding chairman of The Lincoln Forum, where he is now Chairman Emeritus, and President Emeritus of the Ulysses S. Grant Association.

Price: $15 for Members $30 for Non-members

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101 West Flagler Street
Miami, 33130 United States
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