Benjamin Franklin Butler was one of the most important and controversial military and political leaders of the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Remembered most often for his uncompromising administration of the Federal occupation of New Orleans during the war, Butler was a man whose journey took him from childhood destitution to wealth and profound influence in state and national halls of power. Prize-winning biographer Elizabeth D. Leonard chronicles Butler’s successful career in the law defending the rights of the Lowell Mill girls and other workers, his achievements as one of Abraham Lincoln’s premier political generals, and his support of slavery’s fugitives as the nation advanced toward emancipation. Leonard also highlights Butler’s personal and political evolution, revealing how his limited understanding of racism and the horrors of slavery transformed over time, leading him into a postwar role as one of the nation’s foremost advocates for Black freedom and civil rights, and one of its notable opponents of white supremacy and neo-Confederate resurgence.
Dr. Elizabeth Leonard’s previous books include “Lincoln’s Forgotten Ally: Judge Advocate General Joseph Holt of Kentucky,” winner of the Lincoln Prize. She is the John J. and Cornelia V. Gibson Professor of History at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
June 16 @ 19:00
7:00 pm — 8:00 pm (1h)
Dr. Elizabeth Leonard