Slavery, Freedom, and Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation with Ben Rubin

Slavery, Freedom, and Civil War: The Emancipation Proclamation with Ben Rubin


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The Emancipation Proclamation is one of the most misunderstood documents in American history, shaped in equal parts by radical philosophy, political compromise, and military expediency. It liberated millions from bondage, changed the goals of America's war effort, profoundly reshaped post-war society, and partially fulfilled the unmet promise of the Declaration of Independence.

At the same type it was a deeply unsatisfactory document, shaped by opportunistic military strategy, riddled with hypocrisy that left millions in bondage, and failed to fully live up to the idealism that created it. In just a handful of paragraphs, it managed to be simultaneously one of the most transformative and disappointing statements of American ideals.

Led by an expert in early American history, Ben Rubin, this interactive seminar will examine the Proclamation in the full context in which it was issued. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the complexity and contradictions of one of the country's most significant documents.

Ben Rubin is a public historian specializing in the American Revolution and Early America. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, he holds a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Political Science from Hanover College, a Master’s in American History from Western Carolina University, and is a Ph.D. candidate in History and Culture at Drew University, as well a graduate of the School of Criticism and Theory at Cornell University. Ben taught history and writing at Bloomfield College for five years before leaving academia to start his own music education business, JC Instrumental. He continues to work in public history with Context Travel, leading both in-person walking tours and virtual conversations on early American history, and at Southern Campaigns of the American Revolution, where he has been a fellow since 2007. His work has been published in both academic and public history journals, and you can hear him most recently as a featured guest on the History Happy Hour podcast. He currently lives in Jersey City, New Jersey with his wife Dana, daughter Sylvie, and dog Oslo, and spends his free time playing music, rock climbing, playing board games, and following Cincinnati Reds baseball.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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