Dietrich to host free Civil War lecture

June 19th, 2015 9:11 am

First Posted: 10/20/2014

Is there a connection between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War? Dr. Len Gougeon thinks so, and he will state his case at the Dietrich Theater in Tunkhannock at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2.

In his free lecture, Gougeon will tell why he believes the Civil War was a defining event in the development of American democracy.

According to Gougeon, the nation came into existence through a revolution that pitted the thinking of the “Old World,” dominated by aristocratic notions of privilege where social status and human rights were based on class, caste, and race against an alternative ideology, based on the concept that “all men are created equal.”

When the Civil War started, Northerners were shocked to discover that the ruling class in England, who had never accepted the idea of universal equality, sympathized with the Confederacy. This led to a conflict and a “second Revolution” where the democracy of the North not only battled the slaveholding aristocracy of the Confederacy but also, once again, the aristocracy of Great Britain.

The presentation examines that “second revolution” in its historical and cultural context.

Gougeon is Distinguished Professor of American Literature at The University of Scranton; a past-President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Society; author of “Virtue’s Hero: Emerson, Antislavery,” and “Reform, and Emerson and Eros: The Making of a Cultural Hero” and co-editor of “Emerson’s Antislavery Writings.”

Currently, he’s completing a book titled “New England, Old England, and the Civil War: A Documentary History of Cultural and Political Conflict.”

This lecture is just one of the events at the Dietrich to commemorate the Civil War Sesquicentennial. For information or to reserve free tickets, call the theater at 570-996-1500.