Global Impact Viewed in ASU Civil War Series
April 10, 2012
Speakers will be Dr. John Klingemann of the history faculty, speaking on “Mexico, 1910,” and Dr. Rob Nalbandov of the security studies faculty, discussing “Georgia, 1989.” Dr. Kenneth J. Heineman, head of the ASU History Department will moderate the session.
The lecture is open free to the public in the C.J. Davidson Conference Center in ASU’s Houston Harte University Center. The program is the last of seven public presentations addressing various aspects of the Civil War on the occasion of its 150th anniversary.
Heineman said the international relevance of the Civil War is often forgotten, the farther we have moved from it.
“President Abraham Lincoln understood that the Civil War had ramifications far beyond the preservation of the Union,” he said. “Can a government ‘of the people, by the people and for the people,’ Lincoln asked, endure? The Civil War raised the question of whether democracies could survive. America was one of the few democracies in the world; few nations, especially those ruled by monarchs and despots, wanted the United States to succeed.
“During the Civil War, the French Empire displaced the government of Mexico and imposed an emperor,” Heineman continued. “So long as the U.S. was in a bloody civil war, the French knew that they could destroy Mexican democracy. The struggle to liberate Mexico commenced even as the guns fell silent north of the Rio Grande.
“Then, as the 20th century dawned, the Russian Empire faced a test and rejected democracy, forging a Soviet communist empire that subjugated Georgia. Only after 70 years did democracy come to the former Soviet Georgia. Today, as we live with the ruins left by the 20th century, the question Lincoln asked in the 19th century holds true: can democracies survive? What is the future of those lands that have known civil strife and oppression? As it is now, so it was then. America, Lincoln believed, was the ‘last best hope’ of humanity in the world.”
The Civil War speaker series is jointly sponsored by multiple ASU departments, including the History Department, Center for Security Studies, West Texas Collection, Multicultural Center and Air Force ROTC, as well as Fort Concho and the Concho Valley Civil War Roundtable, to commemorate the watershed event in American history.
Heineman said the discussion series has been so successful that a new round of lectures is being planned for the 2012-13 academic year under the direction of Dr. Kanisorn Wongsrichanalai, ASU’s Civil War historian. The series has brought together ASU and local historians addressing various topics related to Civil War personalities, events and ramifications.
Heineman said the goal of the lecture series has been to engage the community in reflection on the Civil War and its impact, even on contemporary society. He said the lecture series also provided a learning experience for secondary school teachers and their students.