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Sun, 02.07.1943

Eric Foner, Historian and Author born.

Eric Foner

*Eric Foner was born on this date in 1943.  He is a white Jewish-American historian and author. 

Foner was born in New York City, New York, the son of Jewish parents, Liza (née Kraitz), a high school art teacher, and historian Jack D. Foner, who was active in the trade union movement and the campaign for American civil rights.

After graduating from High School in 1959, Foner enrolled at Columbia University as a physics major before switching to history after taking a year-long seminar on the American Civil War and Reconstruction during his junior year. A year later, in 1963, Foner graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He studied at the University of Oxford; he received a B.A. from Oriel College in 1965, where he was a member of the college's 1966 University Challenge winning team. 

After graduating from Oxford, Foner returned to Columbia, where he earned his doctoral degree in 1969. His doctoral thesis, published in 1970 as Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men: The Ideology of the Republican Party Before the Civil War, explored the deeply rooted ideals and interests that drove the northern majority to oppose slavery and ultimately wage war against Southern secession. 1989, Foner received the Avery O. Craven Award from the Organization of American Historians. 1991, Foner received the Great Teacher Award from the Society of Columbia Graduates. In 1995, he was named Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. 

In 2009, Foner was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois, and the Governor of Illinois awarded the Order of Lincoln as a Bicentennial Laureate.  Foner has published several books on the Reconstruction period, starting with Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863–1877 in 1988. In 2011, Foner's The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery (2010) won the Pulitzer Prize for History, the Lincoln Prize, and the Bancroft Prize. Foner previously won the Bancroft Prize in 1989 for his book Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution - 1863–1877. His online "The Civil War and Reconstruction" courses were published in 2014. 

In 2000, he was elected President of the American Historical Association and the American Philosophical Society in 2018. 2012 Foner received The Lincoln Forum's Richard Nelson Current Award of Achievement.  In 2020, Foner was awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Distinguished Service Award from the Organization of American Historians.  Foner is one of the most frequently cited authors on college syllabi for history courses. According to historian Timothy Snyder, Foner is the first to associate the storming of the Capitol on January 6, 2021, with section three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Foner has been married twice.  


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