A new birth of scholarship

Sorry, I could not resist the play on words. I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying the end of the year. As we approach 2009, I can not help but think about the coming bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. I must say that I am looking forward to seeing what new scholarship and other historical related material will come out in the next year. I have been watching Ken Burns’ The Civil War, which was a long-overdue present to myself and while it is a great production, it is also almost twenty years old. I am looking forward to see if new films on Lincoln and the war will come out during the next year. In addition, I await the new Lincoln monographs that will surely appear in 2009.

It is important to note that the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth also is not far away from the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. That said, the years 2009-2015 will likely represent a new birth of scholarship on the war period. This represents a challenge to scholars, as my adviser mentioned to me that the number of books on the war is equivalent to a book per day every day since the war ended. There are only so many subjects and interpretations and I wonder when we will run out of things to write on. Anyway, it is my hope that new scholars (myself included) will be able to enjoy the renewed interest in the war that will grow in the coming years.

As we enter a new year, let us all resolve to do more research and get out and write on subjects relating to Lincoln and the war and build upon the great scholarly tradition that has come before. This will be an exciting time to be a scholar on Lincoln and the war, and I hope you all get a chance to visit the many sites dedicated to the war and Abe. Have a Happy New Year and I’ll see you in 2009.