The American Civil War has proved to be a controversial topic among contemporary libertarians and the history of the conflict and its aftermath remains politically controversial. Dr Phil Magness will put forward a distinct libertarian viewpoint on the war that neither embraces the Confederacy as an invaded “victim” by default nor endorses the Union on account of the consequence of ending slavery. Specific themes include: a causal explanation of the war that examines the centrality of slavery to secession as distinct from the outbreak of the war; a critical but non-demonized look at Lincoln; and a critical look at the abuses of civil and economic liberties by the Union and Confederate governments.
Dr Magness is Policy Historian and Academic Program Director at the Institute for Humane Studies. His research area encompasses the two great political problems of the 19th century United States: slavery and taxation. Dr Magness is the co-author of the critically acclaimed book Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement (University of Missouri Press), offering a re-examination of Abraham Lincoln’s anti-slavery and freedmen’s policies during the American Civil War. He has also written extensively on the history of the federal income tax, the American free trade movement, and the history of abolitionism. His historical writings have appeared in the Journal of the Early Republic, the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, Constitutional Political Economy, and Slavery & Abolition, as well as popular outlets including the New York Times.