Graham A. Peck
Professor of History
Areas of Specialization
Pre-Civil War American History; Illinois History; Modern Japanese History; Historical Methods; Historical Documentary Filmmaking
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, 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 teaches a wide range of history courses at Saint Xavier, including co-teaching an innovative historical documentary filmmaking course with Art and Design Associate Professor Nathan Peck. The student films made in their 2015 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 Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Battle over Freedom (University of Illinois Press, 2017), uses the history of Illinois -- and the influential national roles played by Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas -- to reinterpret the rise of antislavery politics before the Civil War. Making an Antislavery Nation won the Russell P. Strange Memorial Book Award from the Illinois State Historical Society and was selected as a finalist for the 2018 Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize. More information about the book, and an excerpt, is available at www.civilwarprof.com/book.
Professor Peck also wrote, directed, and produced "Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy," a feature-length film that was broadcast on WTTW, Chicago's premier PBS station, in 2016, and is installed as a permanent exhibit at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site in Chicago. The film debuted at the Stephen A. Douglas Symposium hosted by SXU in 2014. More information about the film, and the trailer, is available at www.civilwarprof.com/film. Professor Peck is grateful to the many Saint Xavier students who have worked with him as research assistants on the film over the past decade!
- HIST 103: United States History to 1877
- HIST 104: United States History since 1877
- HIST 230: Illinois History
- HIST 235: Colonial America
- HIST 250: Early American Republic
- HIST 245: History of Modern Japan
- HIST 250: Path of Mercy: Life of Catherine McAuley (online)
- HIST 200: Introduction to the Discipline of History
- HIST 250: Historical Documentary Filmmaking
- HIST 348: Freedom National
- HIST 395: Senior Seminar
- Finalist, Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, 2018
- Illinois State Historical Society Russell P. Strange Memorial Book Award, 2018
- 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
Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas, and the Battle Over Freedom. 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 2016.
"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.