Paul Escott
Paul Escott
Reynolds Professor (Emeritus)
Region: United States


Paul D. Escott earned his B.A. degree cum laude from Harvard College and his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Duke University.  He taught at UNC Charlotte before coming to Wake Forest, where he served for nine years as Dean of the College.  He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, has received fellowships from the Whitney Young, Jr., Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, and twice won an award for the best non-fiction book published by a resident of North Carolina. His most recent book is Lincoln's Dilemma: Blair, Sumner, and the Republican Struggle over Racism and Equality in the Civil War Era. He comments: “The history of the Civil War Era looms large in our nation’s struggles to overcome racism and realize its ideals of freedom and equality. Even today popular culture misrepresents the reality of the Civil War era in ways that obscure our understanding of our society’s past.  Excessive glorification of the Confederacy or the Union can blind us to the nature of the problems that the United States has had to surmount or struggles with still.”


B.A.      Harvard College 1969
M.A.    Duke University 1972
Ph.D.    Duke University 1974

Academic Appointments
Wake Forest University.  Reynolds Professor (1990-present); Professor (1988-1990)
UNC-Charlotte.  Charles H. Stone Professor of American History (1987-88); Professor (1983-1987); Associate Professor (1979-1983); Assistant Professor (1974-1979)

Administrative Appointments
Wake Forest University.  Dean of the College (1995-2004)
UNC-Charlotte.  Chair of History Department (1985-1988)

Click here for the complete CV.



  • HST 263  The Civil War and Reconstruction
    This course examines the political and military events of the war and the economic, social, and political readjustments that followed.
  • HST 368 The Sectional Crisis, 1820-1860
    This course examines the deepening crisis that led to Civil War in the United States, with special attention to politics, culture, reform, economics, and questions of causation, responsibility, or inevitability.
  • HST 390 The Confederacy
    This course provides research opportunities for students in the political, social, cultural, and military history of the Confederacy.  The end product of this course will be a well-written and well-argued 25 – 30 page paper based on primary and relevant secondary sources.
  • HST 390 The Road to Civil War
    This seminar will provide opportunities to research the deepening sectional conflict that led to civil war in 19th century America.  Resources are abundant for studying the political, social, and cultural causes of conflict.
  • HST 391 Honors Seminar
    This seminar examines the problems of historical synthesis and interpretation.  Permission of Instructor is required to enroll in this course.

Monographs and Edited Collections

  • "What Shall We Do with the Negro?":  Lincoln, White Racism, and Civil War America (Charlottesville:  University of Virginia Press, 2009).
  • The Confederacy:  The Slaveholders' Failed Venture (Santa Barbara:  Praeger/ABC-CLIO, 2010).
  • Uncommonly Savage: Civil War and Remembrance in Span and the United States (Gainseville: The University Press of Florida, 2014).
  • Lincoln's Dilemma: Slavery, Racism, and Equality in the Civil War Era (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014).

For a complete list of publications, click CV.