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'A Conversation with George S. McGovern' at UAlbany

Icon of Democratic party discusses his new book, 'Abraham Lincoln,' part of University's Constitution Day activities, Wed., Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m., University Hall Atrium

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150



George S. McGovern

George McGovern's latest book, Abraham Lincoln, offers unique insight into how the 16th president transformed the Civil War from a political dispute to a moral crusade. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 23, 2009) -- Former presidential candidate and liberal icon George S. McGovern will visit the University at Albany, Sept. 30, 3:30 p.m. , University Hall Atrium, to discuss his latest book, Abraham Lincoln  (New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2008).

"A Conversation with George S. McGovern" will be hosted by UAlbany political science Professor Bruce Miroff, author of The Liberals' Moment: The McGovern Insurgency and the Identity Crisis of the Democratic Party (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2007). McGovern will sign copies of his book immediately following the discussion.

In Abraham Lincoln, McGovern offers a unique insight into the 16th president, and shows how Lincoln sometimes went astray, particularly in his restrictions on civil liberties, but how he adjusted and transformed the Civil War from a political dispute to a moral crusade. McGovern’s account is a reminder of why we hold Lincoln in such esteem and why he remains the standard by which his successors are measured. Abraham Lincoln is part of the Times Books’ American Presidents series.

Democratic and fervent Vietnam War opponent George McGovern was defeated by Republican incumbent Richard Nixon in the 1972 presidential election. A year later the victory was overshadowed by the revelation that Nixon campaign operatives broke into Democratic Party offices in the Watergate Hotel during the election to steal information on political enemies.

McGovern, the son of a South Dakota Presbyterian-Methodist minister, was appointed by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 as director of the Food for Peace program. After two terms in the House he was elected U.S. Senator from South Dakota. During his time in the Senate he launched two presidential bids, including his first run in 1968, which ended in a primary loss to Hubert Humphrey, and the subsequent loss to Nixon in 1972. President Gerald Ford named McGovern to the United Nations General Assembly in 1976, and two years later President Jimmy Carter named him a United Nations delegate for the Special Session on Disarmament.

Since leaving the Senate in 1980, McGovern, who earned his doctorate in history and government from Northwestern University, has lectured at Columbia University, Northwestern University, Cornell University, American University, and the University of Berlin.

In 2001, McGovern became the United Nations Ambassador on World Hunger, and in 2008 he and Senator Bob Dole became World Food Prize Laureates for their campaigns to end global hunger. The recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom lives in Mitchell, South Dakota.

The conversation is part of UAlbany's observance of Constitution Day, in recognition of the completion and signing of the United States Constitution in 1787.

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