The Tsar and the President: Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, Liberator and Emancipator

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In 1861 Abraham Lincoln had just been inaugurated as the sixteenth President of the United States. Fort Sumter had surrendered to Confederate forces, and soon the Civil War would tear the nation in two. Half a world away in Russia, Tsar Alexander II proclaimed his Manifesto liberating twenty million serfs, one of the most transformative legislative acts in Russia’s history. Alexander’s liberating reforms would soon be mirrored by Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, freeing Americans held in slavery.
    The Tsar and the President, a companion volume to a museum exhibition, documents the fascinating parallels in the lives of Alexander II and Abraham Lincoln, lives that each ended in assassination. Though separated by upbringing, class, rise to power, and geographical distance, Lincoln and Alexander II were both reformist leaders who faced violent dissent on the homefront. This book features nine essays by historians that examine the diplomatic relations between Russia and the United States in the 1860s, the similar challenges faced by Alexander and Lincoln, and each leader’s early years, path to office, vow to liberate, and tragic assassination. The volume includes excerpts from diplomatic dispatches and letters and more than fifty paintings, portraits, illustrations, and photographs of artifacts related to Russian-American relations of the era.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A revelation, not only for a better understanding of their times, but of our own.”—James M. McPherson, author of Battle Cry of Freedom
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780978720117
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 2/10/2009
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Marilyn Pfeifer Swezey is curator for the American-Russian Cultural Cooperation Foundation of Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

    Dr. James H. Billington
    The Hon. James W. Symington
    Alexander P. Potemkin
Time Line, Emperor Alexander II
Time Line, Abraham Lincoln
The Tsar and the President
    Marilyn P. Swezey
Alexander II, Tsar-Liberator
    Andrei D. Yanovskiy
Accession to Power and the Coronation
    Ludmila M. Kanaeva
The Tsar's Special Attribute
    Tatiana F. Bulgakova
Lincoln in Life
    John Sellers
The Naval Mission to Russia of Gustavus Vasa Fox
    Edward Kasinec with Robert Davis, Jr.
Lincoln and Slavery
    James O. Horton
A Royal Visit: The Grand Duke Alexis in the United States
    Suzanne Massie
The Final Years of the Tsar-Liberator
    Ludmila M. Kanaeva
Excerpts from historic letters and dispatches
Checklist of Objects

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