Graham A. Peck

Dr. Graham A. Peck

Wepner Distinguished Professor of Lincoln Studies
Ph.D. American History
Northwestern University

Phone: (217) 206-6595
Office: UHB 3062

Teaching concentration: United States History to 1877, United States History from 1877, Illinois History, Historical Methods


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. Adam I. P. Smith and Daniel Peart (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015), 145-169.

“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.

Creative Work:

A Great Woman and Her Time, 8-episode podcast series on Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy (2018)

Stephen A. Douglas and the Fate of American Democracy, feature-length historical documentary installed as a permanent exhibit at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site in Chicago in October 2014 and broadcast in February 2016 on Chicago’s premier PBS station. 

Research and Creative Interests:

Prof. Peck specializes in antebellum American political history, and particularly in Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, and the origins of the Civil War, but he is also very interested in the intersection of scholarship and other forms of history. For this reason he wrote, directed, and produced a feature-length film on Douglas for use at the Douglas Tomb State Historic Site in Chicago. The film features performances by leading Douglas and Lincoln reenactors, interviews with five historians of the Civil War, and hundreds of nineteenth-century images. More recently, Prof. Peck co-directed Lincoln & Douglas: Touring Illinois in Turbulent Times, a 47-minute documentary road film about the Lincoln-Douglas debates, which he made with art professor Nathan Peck during the tumultuous Covid summer of 2020. The film features five Lincoln or Douglas reenactors and several interviews, including one with a BLM activist in Springfield who successfully urged removal of Douglas’ statue from the grounds of the Illinois State Capitol.