Foner, Eric

DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History


Ph.D. — Columbia University, 1969
B.A. First Class — Oriel College, Oxford University, 1965
B.A. — Columbia College, 1963


Interests and Research

Eric Foner, DeWitt Clinton Professor Emeritus of History, specializes in the Civil War and Reconstruction, slavery, and 19th-century America. He is one of only two persons to serve as President of the Organization of American Historians, American Historical Association, and Society of American Historians. He has also been the curator of several museum exhibitions, including the prize-winning "A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln," at the Chicago Historical Society. His book, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery won the Pulitzer, Bancroft, and Lincoln prizes for 2011. His latest book is Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad.

Professor Foner's new, free, online courses on THE CIVIL WAR AND RECONSTRUCTION will be available this academic year, beginning in mid-September, from Columbia University at ColumbiaX.



  • The Radical Tradition in America
  • The US in the Era of Slavery and Jacksonian Democracy
  • The US in the Era of Civil War and Reconstruction
  • Slavery and Emancipation Senior
  • Seminar in History
  • The Literature of American
  • History Colloquium on the Civil War and Reconstruction



  • Pultizer Prize in History, 2011
  • Bancroft Prize, 2011
  • Lincoln Prize, 2011
  • Festschrift in honor of Eric Foner: Contested Democracy: Freedom, Race, and Power in American History, 2007
  • John Jay Award for Distinguished Professional Achievement, Columbia College Alumni Association, 2007
  • Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, Columbia University, 2006
  • Kidger Award for Teaching and Scholarly Excellence, New England History Teachers Association, 2006
  • Silver Gavel Award, American Bar Association, 2005
  • Class of 2006 Distinguished Professor Award, April 2004
  • First Place, Electronic Product of 2003, Association of American Publishers, for Columbia American History Online
  • Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Iona College, 2002
  • Scholar of the Year, N. Y. Council for the Humanities, 1995



  • President, Society of American Historians, 2006
  • President, American Historical Association, 2000
  • Elected Corresponding Fellow, British Academy, 1996
  • President, Organization of American Historians, 1993-94
  • Elected member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1989




Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad

The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery

Our Lincoln: New Perspectives on Lincoln and His World

Forever Free: The Story of Emancipation and Reconstruction

Voices of Freedom: A Documentary History

Give Me Liberty! An American History

Who Owns History? Rethinking the Past in a Changing World

Dance for a City: Fifty Years of the New York City Ballet

The Story of American Freedom

America's Reconstruction: People and Politics after the Civil War

Thomas Paine

Freedom's Lawmakers: A Directory of Black Officeholders During Reconstruction

A House Divided: America in the Age of Lincoln

A Short History of Reconstruction

Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877

Nothing But Freedom: Emancipation and Its Legacy

Politics and Ideology in the Age of the Civil War

Tom Paine and Revolutionary America

Nat Turner

America's Black Past: A Reader in Afro-American History

Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party

Before the Civil War



Eric Foner on the Evolution of Liberalsim - The Browser