Historian to deliver 2016 Brose lectures

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Gregory P. Downs, associate professor at the University of California, Davis, will deliver three lectures on "The Second American Revolution: Cuba, Mexico, Spain, and the U.S. Civil War," for the 2016 Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series, on Oct. 27, 28 and 29. All lectures are free and open to the public at Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, Penn State, University Park.

Sponsored by the Richards Civil War Era Center in College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, this series of lectures will explore the U.S. Civil War not only as a conflict that remade the United States, but as a crucial moment in a forgotten wave of revolutions that also remade Mexico and, for a time, sparked hopes for permanent transformation of Spain and Cuba. The U.S. Civil War influenced world affairs by turning the globe's most committed defender of slavery to, momentarily, its most committed opponent. But the war also was in many ways itself a product of these global struggles, as republicans from Cuba and Mexico utilized the U.S. conflict to press their hopes for reforming their own nations between the 1850s and 1870s.

Seeing the U.S. Civil War as a part of a revolutionary wave helps us see more clearly the transformational nature of the war, and its leaders' dependence upon force to accomplish permanent changes in politics that could not be completed through other means.  At the same time, it helps us see the important roles of individuals like Cuban exile Pedro Santacilia, U.S. general Daniel Sickles, and Spanish republican Emilio Castelar who saw the conflicts as intertwined struggles for home rule, liberalism, and republican forms of government.

The schedule is as follows:

-- 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, "The Civil War the World Made: Cuba, Spain, Mexico and the Collapse of U.S. Politics in the 1850s"

-- 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, "Dual Revolutions: The U.S. Civil War, the Mexican Wars of the Reform and the Intervention, and the Rebirth of Republicanism"

-- 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, "The End of the Age of American Revolutions: Cuba, Spain, Slavery, and the Limits of Revolutionary Change."

Downs is the author of two prize-winning works of history: "After Appomattox: Military Occupations and the Ends of War" and "Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908," as well as a prize-winning collection of short stories, "Spit Baths."

The Steven and Janice Brose Distinguished Lecture Series is supported by an endowment established by the Broses in 1998.

For more information on the lectures, the speaker, or the Richards Center, contact the center at 814-863-0151 or visit the website at http://richardscenter.la.psu.edu/.

Last Updated October 25, 2016