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About this Lecture:
From abject poverty to undisputed political boss of Pennsylvania, Lincoln’s secretary of war, senator, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and a founder of the Republican Party, Simon Cameron (1799–1889) was one of the nineteenth century’s most prominent political figures. In his wake, however, he left a series of questionable political and business dealings and, at the age of eighty, even a sex scandal.

In his fascinating lecture, Dr. Paul Kahan, the author of Amiable Scoundrel, will put Cameron’s actions into a larger historical context by demonstrating that many politicians of the time, including Abraham Lincoln, used similar tactics to win elections and advance their careers. This study is the fascinating story of Cameron’s life and an illuminating portrait of his times.

Proceeds from this lecture will help the Historical Society operate two nationally significant structures in Crawford County as well as bring future educational and inspirational programs to our region.

About Paul Kahan:
Dr. Kahan earned a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Temple University where he worked with William W. Cutler, III. Prior to that, Dr. Kahan earned his M.A. in Modern American History & Literature from Drew University and B.A.s in history and English (with minors in medieval/Renaissance studies and music) from Alfred University.

In 2008, Dr. Kahan published his first book, Eastern State Penitentiary: A History. This book explores the penitentiary’s history and is written for a popular audience. In February 2012, Peter Lang published Dr. Kahan’s second book, Seminary of Virtue: The Ideology and Practice of Inmate Reform at Eastern State Penitentiary, 1829-1971. His third book, The Homestead Strike: Labor, Violence, and American Industry, was published by Routledge in late 2013. In 2016, Dr. Kahan published The Bank War: Andrew Jackson, Nicholas Biddle, and the Fight for American Finance, the first narrative overview of this turning point in American political history in more than half a century as well as Amiable Scoundrel: Simon Cameron, Lincoln’s Scandalous Secretary of War. His most recent book is The Presidency of Ulysses S. Grant: Preserving the Civil War’s Legacy.