Retired historian Michael Holt is one of the most accomplished writers on antebellum politics. A professor at the University of Virginia for decades, he is perhaps best known for his grand 1999 book, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party. He is also the author of The Political Crisis of the 1850s, The Election of 1860, and other books. His most recent, and last (he tells us) is about president, soldier, hard drinker, and empath Franklin Pierce.
A native of Pittsburgh, Michael talks about his days as a self-professed "punching bag" for the imposing David Donald at Johns Hopkins. From there, he discusses his days on the road doing research, his take on the race issue in the 1850s, and comparing the antebellum era with today's politics. And why should we care about Franklin Pierce? Find out in this conversation from Charlottesville!