Meet Our Faculty and Staff

Graham A. Peck

peckProfessor of History

Email: gpeck@sxu.edu

Degrees Earned

Ph.D., Northwestern University, 2001

M.A., Northwestern University, 1993

B.A., California State University, Hayward, 1991, Summa Cum Laude

Areas of Specialization

Pre-Civil War American History; Illinois History; Modern Japanese History; Historical Methods; Historical Documentary Filmmaking

Favorite Quote

Abraham Lincoln is my nam[e]
And with my pen I wrote the same
I wrote in both hast[e] and speed
and left it here for fools to read
-Abraham Lincoln's copybook verse


A native of Oakland, California, and a fan of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, Professor Peck graduated from California State University, Hayward in 1991 with a B.A. in history. After relocating to Evanston, Illinois, in 1992, he received his Ph.D. in American history from Northwestern University in 2001. He spent a year as a visiting professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis before coming to Saint Xavier University in 2002. Professor Peck has taught a wide range of courses in history at Saint Xavier, including co-teaching an innovative six-credit hour dual enrollment historical documentary filmmaking course with Art and Design Associate Professor Nathan Peck in spring 2015. The student films made in that course can be viewed on the Library's Mercy Mission web page.

Professor Peck's scholarly and creative work is focused on antebellum Illinois. He has published three articles on Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association, an article on the early Illinois Republican Party in the Journal of Illinois History, and a chapter on the antebellum party system in Practicing Democracy (2015). His book manuscript, The Battle over Freedom and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics in the Antebellum North: Illinois, 1809-1860, will be published by the University of Illinois Press in 2017. He also has written, directed, and produced a feature-length film on Douglas that is installed as a permanent exhibit at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site in Chicago and was broadcast by WTTW, Chicago's PBS station. The film debuted at the Stephen A. Douglas Symposium hosted by SXU in 2014. Professor Peck is grateful for the wonderful work of the many Saint Xavier students who have assisted him in his research or on the film over the past decade!

Courses Offered

HIST 103: United States History to 1877 (PDF)

HIST 104: United States History since 1877 (PDF)

HIST 235: Colonial America (PDF)

HIST 250: Early American Republic (PDF)

HIST 230: Illinois History (PDF)

HIST 245: History of Modern Japan (PDF)

HIST 200: Introduction to the Discipline of History (PDF)

HIST 250: Historical Documentary Filmmaking (PDF)

HIST 395: Senior Seminar (PDF)

Selected Honors

Illinois State Historical Society Superior Achievement Award, 2015

Saint Xavier University College of Arts and Sciences Teacher-Scholar Award, 2013

Saint Xavier University Scholar Recognition Award, 2005-2006

Nominated for the Saint Xavier University Excellence in Teaching Award, 2004-2005

The Abraham Lincoln Institute's Hay-Nicolay Scholars Prize, 2003

J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management Dispute Resolution Research Center Fellowship, 1998

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Award, 1997

Illinois State Historical Society's King V. Hostick Fellowship, 1996

Selected Publications and Productions

The Battle over Freedom and the Triumph of Antislavery Politics in the Antebellum North: Illinois, 1809-1860. Forthcoming, University of Illinois Press, 2017.

"Was There a Second Party System? Illinois as a Case Study in Antebellum Politics," in Practicing Democracy, eds. Daniel Peart and Adam I. P. Smith (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), 145-169.

“In the Throes of Democracy,” Gettysburg Replies (Guilford, CN:  Lyons Press, 2015), 142-143.

Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy, 57 minute historical documentary, premiered April 26, 2014, installed as a permanent exhibit at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site in Chicago in October 2014, and broadcast on WTTW, Chicago's PBS station, in February 2017.

“How Moderate Were the Moderates? Reconsidering the Origins of the Republican Party in Illinois.” Journal of Illinois History 17 (Autumn 2014): 158-182.

"New Records of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate at the 1854 Illinois State Fair:  The Missouri Republican and the Missouri Democrat Report from Springfield."  Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 30 (Summer 2009): 25-80.

"Abraham Lincoln and the Triumph of an Antislavery Nationalism."  Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 28 (Summer 2007): 1-27.

"Was Stephen A. Douglas Antislavery?" Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association 26 (Summer 2005): 1-21.