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The Peace That Almost Was

Mon, Sep 28, 2015, 4:30pm - 6:00pm

You are cordially invited to a book lecture for

The Peace That Almost Was:
The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War

with author
Mark Tooley
President, The Institute on Religion and Democracy

Monday, September 28, 2015
4:30 PM

The Institute of World Politics
1521 16th Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
Parking map


Please contact Sarah Dwyer at with any questions about this event.

The Peace that Almost WasAbout the book: A narrative history of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference, the bipartisan, last-ditch effort to prevent the Civil War, an effort that nearly averted the carnage that followed. In February 1861, most of America’s great statesmen — including a former president, dozens of current and former senators, Supreme Court justices, governors, and congressmen — came together at the historic Willard Hotel in a desperate attempt to stave off Civil War. Seven southern states had already seceded, and the conferees battled against time to craft a compromise to protect slavery and thus preserve the union and prevent war. Participants included former President John Tyler, General William Sherman’s Catholic step-father, General Winfield Scott, and Lincoln’s future Treasury Secretary, Salmon Chase — and from a room upstairs at the hotel, Lincoln himself. Revelatory and definitive, The Peace That Almost Was demonstrates that slavery was the main issue of the conference — and thus of the war itself — and that no matter the shared faith, family, and friendships of the participants, ultimately no compromise could be reached.

About the author: Mark Tooley is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington, DC. His writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review Online, The Washington Examiner, The Chicago Tribune, The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Christianity Today, World, and Gettysburg. He writes regularly for The American Spectator and The Weekly Standard and lives in northern Virginia.