Lincoln & Colonization: A Response to Allen Guelzo

In the Winter 2013 issue of the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, historian Allen C. Guelzo of Gettysburg College took vigorous exception to my scholarship on Abraham Lincoln’s involvement with the colonization movement, including two prior articles I have written for the same journal and my 2011 book, co-authored with Sebastian N. Page, Colonization after Emancipation: Lincoln and the Movement for Black Resettlement.

Colonization is an admittedly controversial subject matter owing to its racially charged legacy, and one that frequently generates discussion where Abraham Lincoln is involved. As a frequent contributor to that discussion, I have also invited open scrutiny of my work and historical interpretations including by sharing an extensive collection of original source material on this website.

Many historians have contributed a number of constructive insights to the ongoing colonization dialogue in the time since I first published my initial findings on this subject. Unfortunately Professor Guelzo’s recent commentary in the JALA offers little new to the discussion while heaping much scorn in the direction of my work. As a number of Guelzo’s charges cross the boundaries of professional and scholarly behavior, turning instead to personal insinuations of intentional scholarly transgression in the aforementioned volume of research, I felt it necessary – along with Sebastian Page – to offer a written response:

Lincoln, Colonization, and Evidentiary Standards: A Response to Allen C. Guelzo’s criticisms of Colonization after Emancipation