Thoughtless Lapse or Power Grab?

Apr 21st 2016 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM

W. Seward's Bid to be President, April Fool's Day 1861

Was it a coup? A humorous misunderstanding or act of treason? Renowned Civil War Historian Robert May explores one of the most bizarre chapters in Abraham Lincoln’s relationship with William Seward. The story revolves around an April Fool’s Day 1861 attempt by Secretary of State Seward to seize presidential power on the eve of the Civil War. Whether or not it was a thwarted power play, the incident led both men to take serious stock of the other, setting the stage for a friendship that carried the Union through crisis and war.

May is a Professor of History at Purdue University. He is the author of numerous books on Civil-War-era America including, most recently, Slavery, Race, and Conquest in the Tropics (2013).

Admission is $12 for museum members, $15 for the general public. Space is limited. Reservations required.