CLEMSON — It was 150 years ago on April 9 that Robert E. Lee surrendered the last major Confederate army to Ulysses S. Grant, marking the end of the Civil War. Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed less than a week later.

Clemson University’s Abraham Lincoln and American South expert Orville Vernon Burton discusses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, popular misconceptions and his impact on South Carolina.

His book, “The Age of Lincoln”, won the Chicago Tribune Heartland Literary Award for Nonfiction and was selected for the Book of the Month Club, History Book Club and Military Book Club.

During a recent interview, Burton tackled the following topics:

  • How Lincoln changed the world;
  • Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech in 1858, setting the tone for his eventual legacy, perhaps even calling for a civil war;
  • Lincoln agreeing that slavery would never be abolished in South Carolina;
  • The correlation between Lincoln, Fort Sumter and South Carolina’s ordinance for secession from the United States;
  • Why John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln;
  • Popular misconceptions about Lincoln, including his relation to Clemson University; and
  • Similarities between the political climates today and 150 years ago.

Burton has received numerous awards and honors for his teaching and research on the American South. He obtained his Ph.D. in American history from Princeton and began teaching at Clemson in 2010.