Image - Congress at War
San Francisco


Congress at War

Accounts of the Civil War almost invariably put President Lincoln at the center. But Fergus Bordewich shows how four Republican congressional leaders often led the way, pushing Lincoln to do more and even defying him at times. Thaddeus Stevens, Pitt Fessenden, Ben Wade, and the proslavery Clement Vallandigham, all members of the newly empowered Republican party, passed the drastic measures to defeat the Confederacy; planned Reconstruction; created the forerunner of the Internal Revenue Service; laid the foundation for the Federal Reserve System; passed the Pacific Railway Act to link the heartland with California; created the Land-Grant Colleges Act, which laid the groundwork for public state university systems nationwide; demanded emancipation of the slaves before Lincoln was ready to consider it and in the process laid the foundation for a strong central government. Congress at War is a timely reconsideration of the conflicts of power between the White House and Congress that will change the way we understand both the Civil War and our own future.

MLF Organizer
George Hammond

MLF: Humanities

Banner images: Thaddeus Stevens (left) by Mathew Brady; William Pitt Fessenden (right)

March 12, 2020

The Commonwealth Club
110 The Embarcadero
Toni Rembe Rock Auditorium
San Francisco, 94105
United States

Image - Bordewich
Fergus Bordewich
Author, Congress at War: How Republican Reformers Fought the Civil War, Defied Lincoln, Ended Slavery, and Remade America

5:30 p.m. check-in
6 p.m. program
7 p.m. book signing