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Thursday, July 14, 2011

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War

A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Time: 6:00 PM–7:00 PM
Place: Lecture Hall

Amanda Foreman, author of the international best seller Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, which won the Whitbread Prize for Best Biography, will discuss and sign A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in the American Civil War. The book tells one of the least-known great stories of British and American history uncovering the pivotal and major role played by Britain and its citizens during the war. Foreman provides fresh accounts of Civil War battles and shows how the war spread to Britain and was fought just as continuously there as it was in America. The publication of A World on Fire coincides with a date famous in naval history—the battle between the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama in the English Channel. At the heart of this international conflict lay a complicated and at times tortuous relationship between four individuals: Lord Lyons, the painfully shy British ambassador in Washington; William Seward, the blustering U.S. secretary of state; Charles Francis Adams (grandson of John Adams and the son of John Quincy Adams), the dry but fiercely patriotic U.S. ambassador in London; and the restless and abrasive foreign secretary, Lord John Russell. For all their well-meaning efforts, and sometimes as a result of them, America and Britain came within a whisker of declaring war on each other twice in four years. In the drawing rooms of London and the offices of Washington, on muddy fields and aboard packed ships, Foreman reveals the decisions made, the beliefs held and contested, and the personal triumphs and sacrifices that ultimately led to the reunification of America.


Union or Secession: Virginians Decide
Monday, December 06, 2010 — Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time: Monday–Saturday 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Place: Library of Virginia, Exhibition Gallery and Lobby Cases


Virginia was central to American identity for its role in the founding of the United States and its political principles. Both the Confederacy and the Union wanted to claim Virginia's historical legacy. Union or Secession explores what Virginians thought and debated as the crisis unfolded. Explore the choices Virginians faced as they decided their fate and that of the nation—Union or Secession.

Through letters, journals, newspapers, official documents and correspondence, and maps and broadsides (the vast majority of these items from the Library's incomparable collections), Union or Secession offers insight into the complex and conflicting geographic, cultural, economic, and political factors that faced Virginians in 1860 and early 1861. The exhibition shows that Virginians' choice on the question of secession was far from certain as dramatic moves were being made outside the state.


The Struggle to Decide: Virginia's Secession Crisis
Monday, December 13, 2010 — Saturday, October 29, 2011

Time: Monday–Saturday 8:00 AM–5:00 PM and Sundays from 1:00–5:00 PM
Place: Virginia State Capitol Visitor Center, 1000 Bank Street, Richmond 23219


An exhibition presented by the Library of Virginia

In the aftermath of the election of Abraham Lincoln as U.S. president in 1860, and the beginning of the secession crisis in December 1860, Virginia had a fateful choice to make: would it remain in, or secede from, the United States of America? In Virginia, the General Assembly called for a state convention to act for Virginia during the crisis. Meeting in February 1861, the 152 men elected to the convention faced the terrible task of deciding the fate of Virginia, and perhaps the nation.

The Struggle to Decide exhibition examines the actions taken by convention delegates and the governor that had a profound effect on Richmond and the Virginia State Capitol.