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One of the nation's preeminent historians, Eric Foner has been on the faculty of Columbia University since 1982. His work ranges from the early history of the Republican Party to Reconstruction and slavery, and he has written extensively on the topics of liberty and freedom. His most recent work, "The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery" (Norton), has been honored with the Pulitzer, Lincoln and Bancroft prizes. He was elected president of the American Historical Association in 2000.