David Dixon, Santa Barbara, CA: Union General August Willich: Warrior for Social Justice
September 17 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Union General August Willich: Warrior for Social Justice is the biography of a Prussian army officer who renounces his nobility and joins in the failed European revolutions of 1848. He emigrates to America, edits a daily labor newspaper in Cincinnati, and becomes one of the most accomplished generals in the Union Army. This story sheds new light on the contributions of 200,000 German-Americans who fought for the Union in the Civil War.
Willich’s life offers an intimate glimpse into the international dimension of America’s Civil War. In an age of global social, economic, and political upheaval, transatlantic radicals helped affect America’s second great revolution. For Willich, the nature and implications of that revolution turned not on Lincoln’s conservative goal of maintaining the national Union, but on issues of social justice, including slavery, free labor, and popular self-government. The Civil War was not simply a war to end sectional divides, but to restore the soul of the nation, revive the hopes of democrats worldwide, and, in Willich’s own words, “defend the rights of man.”
David Dixon earned his M.A. in history from the University of Massachusetts in 2003. His first book, The Lost Gettysburg Address, told the unusual life story of Texas slaveholder Charles Anderson, whose speech followed Lincoln’s at Gettysburg, but was never published. It turned up 140 years later in a cardboard box in Wyoming. David has given nearly 100 talks to audiences across the country. He appeared on Civil War Talk Radio and other podcasts. He hosts B-List History, a website that features obscure characters and their compelling stories. You may download free pdf versions of his published articles on that website at www.davidtdixon.com.