12:00 pm

Michael Pierson, Assoc. Prof., UMass Lowell Dept. of History “Prelude to the Civil War: The State of the Union 150 Years Ago”

It took less than a year for the United States of America to fall apart. In April 1860, the Democratic Party met in Charleston, South Carolina, to select a candidate for the U.S. Presidency. By April 1861, Charlestonians saw a vastly different spectacle: a new country, the Confederate States of America, opened fire on the U.S. flag. Only weeks later, Massachusetts troops had to force their way through Baltimore, at the cost of several lives, including Lowell's own Luther Ladd and Addison Whitney, to save the nation's capitol from capture. This talk will chart this year of turmoil in order to understand what pushed Lowell residents and others to the brink of civil war.