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James M. McPherson: Historian of the American Civil War

Interview with historian James McPherson: 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation

By Tom Mackaman, October 29, 2012

McPherson is professor emeritus of history at Princeton University and the author of a number of books on the Civil War, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Battle Cry of Freedom.

150 years ago: The election of Abraham Lincoln touches off secession crisis

By Shannon Jones, December 24, 2010

On December 20, 1860, six weeks after voters of the United States elected Abraham Lincoln as the 16th president, South Carolina seceded from the union. Other Southern states soon followed, leading within little over five months to the outbreak of the American Civil War, the bloodiest conflict in US history, and ultimately to the freeing of 4 million slaves.

The American media and the Lincoln bicentenary

By Tom Eley, David Walsh, February 17, 2009

The US media’s attempts to portray Obama as the heir of Lincoln’s legacy involve a grotesque historical and political falsification. While Lincoln will forever be associated with one of the great progressive causes of history—the ending of slavery through the Civil War—Obama bears an entirely reactionary relationship to today’s great political questions.

A conversation with historian James M. McPherson

How the US Civil War became “a remorseless revolutionary struggle”

By David Walsh, February 28, 2003

A recent conversation with historian James McPherson of Princeton University was prompted by two events: the appearance of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, which purports to deal with an episode of the Civil War, and the publication of Professor McPherson’s most recent work, Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam, which studies one of the turning points in that same conflict.

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 3

By David Walsh, May 21, 1999

This is the third part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality . Explanatory notes to assist the reader follow the article.

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now and Lincoln's legacy—Part 2

By David Walsh, May 20, 1999

This is the second part of an interview conducted by WSWS editorial board member David Walsh with James M. McPherson. Walsh spoke to McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era, in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution ; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality .

An interview with historian James M. McPherson

The Civil War, impeachment then and now, and Lincoln's legacy—Part 1

By David Walsh, May 19, 1999

WSWS editorial board member David Walsh recently spoke to James McPherson, the distinguished historian of the Civil War era in his office at Princeton University. Professor McPherson's works include Abraham Lincoln and the Second American Revolution; Battle Cry of Freedom [a Pulitzer Prize winner]; For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War and The Struggle for Equality.

Historian James M. McPherson and the cause of intellectual integrity

By David Walsh, May 18, 1999

Starting tomorrow we will be presenting on the WSWS a lengthy interview with James M. McPherson, probably the leading contemporary historian of the American Civil War era. We hope that readers will find that the subjects of the discussion—the political turmoil of the period leading up to the Civil War, the violence of the war, Lincoln's legacy, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson—are of interest and that they shed some light on contemporary events.

"There is a big idea which is at stake"—Corporal in the 105th Ohio, 1864

For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, by James M. McPherson, New York, Oxford University Press, 1997

By David Walsh, November 3, 1997

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, November 3, 1997]

An exchange with a Civil War historian

By David Walsh, June 19, 1995

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, June 19, 1995]

James McPherson's What They Fought For: When great ideals gripped the American people

By David Walsh, December 5, 1994

[Originally published in the International Workers Bulletin, December 5, 1994]