Four Score Speaker Series: Dr. Jon Grinspan

Date: 09/26/24
Location: Zoom

Join us Thursday, September 26, 2024, at 7 p.m. CT, for an in-depth discussion with author Dr. Jon Grinspan on his latest book Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force That Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War

Wide Awake is a propulsive account of our history's most surprising, most consequential political club: the Wide Awake anti-slavery youth movement.

At the start of the 1860 presidential campaign, a handful of fired-up young Northerners appeared as bodyguards to defend anti-slavery stump speakers from frequent attacks. The group called themselves the Wide Awakes. Soon, hundreds of thousands of young White and Black men and a number of women were organizing boisterous, uniformed, torch-bearing brigades of their own. These Wide Awakes--mostly working-class Americans in their twenties--became one of the largest, most spectacular, and most influential political movements in our history.

In this gripping narrative, historian Jon Grinspan examines how our nation crossed the threshold from a political campaign into a war. Wide Awake bears witness to the power of protest, the fight for majority rule, and the defense of free speech. At its core, Wide Awake illuminates a question American democracy keeps posing: the precarious relationship between violent speech and violent actions.

Jon Grinspan is a Curator of Political History at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. His work explores the deep history - and fraught present - of American democracy. He is the award-winning author of three books: The Virgin Vote, The Age of Acrimony, and most recently Wide Awake: The Forgotten Force that Elected Lincoln and Spurred the Civil War. Grinspan frequently contributes op-eds to the New York Times and elsewhere and has been profiled in The New Yorker, The Guardian, and the Washington Post. As a Smithsonian curator, he collects objects from contemporary political events (primaries, conventions, protests, etc.) to help tell the story of America's past and present to museum-goers in the future. 

Register HERE.