Buchanan’s Legacy to Lincoln

Buchanan’s Legacy to Lincoln

On Thursday, September 28, join LancasterHistory as we welcome Dr. Louise Stevenson, Professor Emerita at Franklin & Marshall College, to discuss the intersection of the African slave trade, the circulation of Chinese labor, and American foreign policy in the 1850s.

James Buchanan is recognized for many things, but few know about his advocacy of humanitarian reform in Cuba before the Civil War. During his presidency, Buchanan’s foreign policy aimed to end the horrors of the human trafficking of African and Chinese peoples to Cuba. To satisfy the sweet tooth of Europeans and Americans, the sugar industry boomed in Cuba, resulting in the increase of labor required to keep meeting demand. Cuban demand for laborers created a lucrative trade of enslaved Africans and forcibly indentured Chinese individuals. Pro-slavery Democrats and Buchanan projected that the brutal human trafficking would end if America annexed Cuba, but slavery would continue in the United States. How do we make sense of Buchanan’s humanitarian concern for Cuba but apathy towards slavery in the United States? Join us on September 28 for this interesting lecture to learn more!

Louise Stevenson, Ph.D.

Louise L. Stevenson, Ph.D., Professor emerita of history and American studies at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, writes about nineteenth-century American cultural and intellectual life in its transatlantic context. Her most recent book, Lincoln in the Atlantic World (Cambridge, September 2015), follows her Scholarly Means to Evangelical Ends: The New Haven Scholars and the Transformation of Higher Learning in America, 1830-1890 (Johns Hopkins, 1986), The Victorian Homefront: American Thought and Culture, 1860-1880 (1991, new ed. Cornell, 2001), and articles on books and reading in everyday life from the best sellers of the eighteenth-century through Harry Potter. President Clinton nominated her as a trustee to the James Madison Memorial Scholarship Foundation. For almost three decades, she has served as an officer of the Lancaster County League of Women Voters.


This event is expected to take place in person at LancasterHistory on Thursday, September 28, 2023. Doors open and the reception begins at 5pm. The lecture will begin at 5:30pm. The lecture will also be livestreamed to Zoom at 5:30pm for those who wish to join us virtually.

This program is free and open to the public. In-person attendance requires advance registration in order to guarantee a seat. Due to capacity restrictions, tickets may not be available at the door. Virtual attendance requires advance registration in order to receive the Zoom link. Register online by clicking the appropriate link below or by calling (717) 392-4633. Registration will close online on Thursday, September 28 at 5:30pm. The online version of this program will also be recorded and uploaded to LancasterHistory’s YouTube channel after the event.



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In-Person Event Lecture Online/Virtual Event Reception

September 28, 2023 In-Person at LancasterHistory & Online via Zoom 5PM Reception | 5:30PM Lecture FREE | Registration Required