Talks

Available Presentations…

“Enemies No Longer”: The Great Gettysburg 50th Anniversary Civil War Veterans Reunion of 1913

  • Delivered at the 150th Anniversary celebration at Gettysburg    National Battlefield Park, closing weekend, July 2013.
  • Synopsis: It was the largest Civil War reunion ever held. More than 50,000 veterans came together for the “Golden Jubilee” of Gettysburg, to commemorate each other, to find peace, and to observe a milestone anniversary.
              Much has been written of that Grand Reunion, yet most of the stories revolve around particular events of the week. What is often overlooked is the bigger picture. What had happened to those aging veterans since the war’s end? What were they looking for when they returned to these hallowed grounds? What was the state of their lives by the summer of 1913?

The Fortress War: Effects of Union Forts in the American Civil War 

  • Delivered to the Civil War Round Tables of Bowling Green and Huntsville.
  • Based on Flagel’s doctoral dissertation
  • Synopsis: Long overlooked, Civil War forts played a far greater role than previously believed. By 1864 more than 500 major fortifications pockmarked the North American continent, especially in the upper south. More than just defensive positions, these structures became epicenters of disease, emancipation, occupation, and primary players in the war’s outcome. 

“Lee Defeats Meade”: An Alternate Gettysburg

  • Delivered at the 149th Anniversary celebration at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park, July 2012.
  • Synopsis: What if Lee had won at Gettysburg? Hypotheses abound on this often debated scenario, and its potential effect upon the course of the Civil War. Taking an algebraic approach to the variables involved, historian Thomas Flagel explores the range of probabilities, and offers a new conclusion outside the most common assumptions.

Abraham Lincoln: Divorce Lawyer       

  • Delivered at the “Polk’s America Lecture Series,” James K. Polk Museum, Columbia, TN, May 2012.
  • Synopsis: In a law career spanning a quarter century, Abraham Lincoln was involved in more than 140 divorce cases. In a multimedia presentation, author Thomas Flagel delves into the particulars of these cases to reveal how Lincoln worked, what he believed, and how his society operated.
          In addition, Flagel’s investigation sheds new light on the strength of Lincoln’s own marriage, a bond that was often portrayed as strained and painful. Lastly, Flagel examines how Lincoln viewed the institution of marriage in regards to the nation as a whole, and how it actually related to the secession crisis as he entered the presidency.

Appomattox : The Place of Lee’s Surrender and a National Resurrection

  • Delivered at the Civil War Round Tables of Baton Rouge, Huntsville, Knoxville and Nashville.
  • Synopsis: Famous is the story of luckless Wilmer McLean, who moved from the ravaged Manassas battlefield to seek peace and quiet at a tiny place called Appomattox. Less known is the ironic life of Appomattox itself. Transformed overnight from a humble county seat to an instant national icon, what can this fateful and hallowed ground teach us?

“Messengers of Death”: How the Press Reported the Civil War

  • Delivered at the Civil War Round Tables of Cincinnati, Franklin. Huntsville, Knoxville, and at Gettysburg.
  • Synopsis: While we in the twenty-first century have a rather detailed account of the “Brothers’ War,” sewn together from decades of archival research and mountains of collected materials, what about Americans – North and South –in that pivotal moment in time? What did the conflict look like to them?
             Foremost, citizens turned to their daily and weekly newspapers, gleaning every line for shreds of truth amidst the tangle of rumors. For them, it was in these gray pages where history literally unfolded.

Flagel also speaks on a multitude of topics, including World War II and the American Presidents, and can customize presentations as needed.

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