A native of Milwaukee, Kenneth Stampp received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1941 and then taught at the University of Arkansas and the University of Maryland. In 1945 he joined the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, where he is currently Morrison Professor Emeritus of American History. Stampp has served as Harmsworth Professor at Oxford, Commonwealth Lecturer at the University of London, Fulbright Professor at the University of Munich, and visiting professor at Harvard University and Colgate University and Williams College. A past president of the Organization of American Historians, in 1993 he received the Lincoln Prize from the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute of Gettysburg College. Stampp touched off a revolution in the study of slavery with the publication of The Peculiar Institution (1956), which vigorously refutes the long-prevailing Dunning-Phillips interpretation and demolishes a host of myths about the master-slave relationship. His further works on the sectional conflict and its causes established him as a leading authority on that subject as well.
James M. McPherson is the author of Battle Cry of Freedom: The Civil War Era, which won a Pulitzer Prize in history, and For Cause and Comrades: Why Men Fought in the Civil War, a Lincoln Prize winner. He is the George Henry Davis Professor of American History at Princeton University in New Jersey, where he also lives. His newest book, entitled Abraham Lincoln, celebrates the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth with a short, but detailed look at this president's life.