Stephen A. Douglas Symposium

Stephen A. Douglas Symposium

Visualizing the American Past: Remembering Stephen A. Douglas in the Age of Ken Burns

A Symposium at Saint Xavier University
Chicago, Illinois
April 26, 2014

In commemoration of the bicentennial of the birth of Illinois Senator Stephen A. Douglas on April 23, 1813, Saint Xavier University and the Stephen A. Douglas Association held a one-day public symposium on April 26, 2014 to assess Douglas' historical legacy and portrayals of it.

The symposium brought together a talented roster of middle school and high school teachers, professional historians, historical reenactors, community historians and filmmakers in four plenary sessions and a keynote address, and used scholarship, community outreach, performance and film to share diverse perspectives of Douglas with the broader public.

One session premiered Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy, a 50-minute film directed and produced by Saint Xavier Associate Professor of History Graham A. Peck, who made it with assistance from the university's students and staff, and Associate Professor of Art Nathan Peck. The film features distinguished historians from University College London, Purdue University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Illinois Chicago, and Saint Xavier University; voiceovers of Stephen A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln by leading historical reenactors; and images of Douglas' autograph letters and other unique artifacts from the Stephen A. Douglas Papers at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center.

The keynote featured WTTW filmmaker Dan Andries, who explored the unique opportunities and challenges of making TV from history. Attendees had the opportunity of registering for an optional Q&A dinner with Dan Andries that following his keynote address.


Presented by Saint Xavier University and the Stephen A. Douglas Association.

Sponsored by Saint Xavier's College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History and Political Science, Department of Art and Design, School of Education and Center for Instructional Design and Technology.