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10/10/2011

Silverman's Book Will Cover Lincoln's Unexplored Views on Immigration

Quick Facts

 Silverman said his book will provide an important perspective on a president who welcomed immigrants but who also made derogatory comments about ethnic groups who were parts of the immigrant population. It is due out in 2016.
 “Lincoln and the Immigrant” will become part of the Concise Lincoln Library Series, a new series of concise books on the life, times, and legacy of Lincoln published by the Southern Illinois University Press.

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Jason Silverman
ROCK HILL, S.C. – President Abraham Lincoln is the subject of some 15,000 books, making him the most studied and written about American figure. The Library of Congress reports a Lincoln book is released weekly.

Yet there are still some unexplored areas of the 16th president’s life, according to Winthrop history professor Jason Silverman. He recently wrote a journal article on Lincoln’s views on immigration and ethnicity and has secured a deal to expand it into a book.

“Lincoln and the Immigrant” will become part of the Concise Lincoln Library Series, a new series of concise books on the life, times, and legacy of Lincoln published by the Southern Illinois University Press. The primary audience consists of general readers, but these books are also of interest to scholars, specialists and students.

Sylvia Frank Rodrigue, executive editor of the Southern Illinois University Press, said many of the previous books about Lincoln have covered his background, the Civil War, the emancipation of slaves, Lincoln’s law practice and any number of other subjects. “Lincoln’s views on immigration are a different take on a widely covered president,” Rodrigue said. “We’re excited to work with Dr. Silverman on this project.”

Silverman said his book will provide an important perspective on a president who welcomed immigrants but who also made derogatory comments about ethnic groups who were parts of the immigrant population. It is due out in 2016.

"It is extremely exciting to be working on an unexplored aspect of Lincoln's life,” he said. “It's like being an academic pioneer."

Silverman, a specialist in the history of the Old South and the Civil War, joined the Winthrop faculty in 1984 after teaching four years at Yale University. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia and his graduate degrees at Colorado State University and the University of Kentucky.

Named last year as the inaugural recipient of the Ellison Capers Palmer Jr. Professorship at Winthrop, Silverman plans to use his four-year tenure to complete the Lincoln book. He also plans to use the award to provide financial support for students to collaborate with him on these projects, thus giving his students important learning opportunities as they do primary research in the National Archives in Washington D.C. and in other locations. 

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