Distinguished Lecturers
Don H. Doyle

Don H. Doyle

Don H. Doyle is a professor emeritus of history at the University of South Carolina and the author of two recent volumes on the American Civil War and Reconstruction that break out of the familiar national narrative to recast these American events within a fresh cosmopolitan framework. The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (2014) explores the Civil War as seen through the eyes of foreign journalists, political leaders, and soldiers who viewed the war as an epic battle that would decide the future of democracy and freedom for all nations.
 
In his new book, The Age of Reconstruction: How Lincoln’s New Birth of Freedom Remade the World (forthcoming 2024), Doyle chronicles international reaction to Lincoln’s assassination which set the stage for what he calls “international Reconstruction.” No longer fearful of European intervention on behalf of the Confederacy, U.S. foreign policy sought successfully to create a zone of friendly, independent nations surrounding America. Major foreign events and democratic reforms included: the British Parliament passing suffrage reform; Britain proclaiming the Dominion of Canada with home-rule autonomous polity; Russia’s sale of Alaska to the United States; France withdrawing from Mexico, ending monarchism; Spain withdrawing from Peru and Chile and facing rebel Cubans demanding an end to Spanish rule and slavery; Spanish revolutionaries toppling the throne of Bourbon Queen Isabella II which promulgated a short-lived but exciting democratic regime; French republicans overthrowing Napoleon III and ushering in the Third Republic; Italy fulfilling its Risorgimento, making Rome its capital and reducing the once vast temporal power of the pope to Vatican City.

Doyle is also the author of Nations Divided: America, Italy, and the Southern Question (2002) and Faulkner's County: The Historical Roots of Yoknapatawpha (2000); the editor of Nationalism in the New World (2006), Secession as an International Phenomenon (2010), and American Civil Wars: The United States, Latin America, Europe, and the Crisis of the 1860s (2017); and a coeditor of The Transnational Significance of the American Civil War (2016).

Doyle has taught abroad in Italy, England, Brazil, and France. He spent most of his career teaching at the University of Michigan (Dearborn), Vanderbilt, and the University of South Carolina. He is now retired and lives in Folly Beach, South Carolina.

NEW IN 2024:  The Age of Reconstruction: How Lincoln's New Birth of Freedom Remade the World (Princeton University Press)

OAH Lectures by Don H. Doyle

This lecture examines several foreigners who interpreted the meaning of the American Question for a broader world and an American translator, Mary Louise Booth, who gave the French an American voice. They include: William Howard Russell, the famed war correspondent from the London Times; Agenor Gasparin, a French intellectual exiled in Switzerland; Edouard de Laboulaye, a history professor in Paris; John Bright, a maverick democrat in Britain; and Karl Marx, a communist who wrote freelance articles on the American war.

Half the nations of the modern day arrived in what we cheerfully call the “family of nations” through ugly political divorces, that involved violent rebellions, civil wars, foreign intervention. This lecture views the American Revolution and the American Civil War as major historical precedents on secession or separatism and its dangers.

Based on his book Faulkner’s County, Doyle examines the relationship between Faulkner’s apocryphal Yoknapatawpha County and the actual Lafayette County, Mississippi, and also explores some unexpected parallels between fictional and scholarly interpretations of the past.

In this lecture, Doyle explores the story of the Lincoln administration’s invitation in September 1861 to the Italian hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi, to command a Union Army and Garibaldi’s reply.

Based on Doyle's book, The Cause of All Nations:  An International History of the American Civil War, this lecture shows the American conflict as part of an historic international struggle between liberal republicanism and reactionary forces in the US, Europe and Latin America. It interprets the Civil War through the eyes of foreign journalists, political leaders, and soldiers who viewed the war as an epic battle that would decide the future of democracy and freedom for all nations.

In this lecture, Doyle provides an overview of the international reaction to Lincoln’s assassination, setting the stage for what he calls “international Reconstruction.” No longer fearful of European intervention on behalf of the Confederacy, U.S. foreign policy sought successfully to create a zone of friendly, independent nations surrounding America. Surrounded by European adversaries during the war, the U.S. watched France leave Maximilian to his fate in Mexico. Days later, Russia sold Alaska to the U.S., Britain announced the Dominion of Canada, a home-rule autonomous polity, and Spain agreed to pull out of wars it had provoked with Peru and Chile, and the following year, faced rebel Cubans demanding an end to Spanish rule and slavery. The Cuban Revolution failed, but the U.S. played a crucial role in pressuring Spain to put slavery on the road to extinction; Brazil followed. In Europe, British workers mounted massive public demonstrations that forced Parliament to grant suffrage reform in 1867. Spanish revolutionaries toppled the throne of Bourbon Queen Isabella II the next year and promulgated a short-lived but exciting democratic regime. French republicans overthrew Napoleon III in 1870 and ushered in the Third Republic. The same year, Italy fulfilled its Risorgimento, making Rome its capital and reducing the once vast temporal power of the pope to Vatican City.


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