Dr. Thomas Mackey Speaks at PAT Lecture

The Browning Building, home of UC's History Department.

Dr. Thomas Mackey, professor of history at the University of Louisville, delivered the most recent Phi Alpha Theta lecture at University of the Cumberlands (UC). His lecture focused on the amendments that ended slavery and defined citizenship in the United States after the Civil War.

“Understanding and appreciating the context behind the most important amendments to the Constitution remains vital,” said Dr. Nathan Coleman, history professor and faculty advisor for UC’s chapter of Phi Alpha Theta. “Context always provides meaning, and often there’s a gulf – sometimes an unfortunate one – between the context and current understanding. Dr. Mackey’s talk helped calibrate this gulf.”

Mackey’s lecture conveyed the importance of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments in the United States Constitution. Ending slavery in the United States was a result of those amendments, but Mackey argued that the amendments went beyond their original scope. They redefined the Constitution and created a new concept of citizenship, an idea still argued today.

“They were so fundamental when they were ratified in the 1860s and 70s, and they continue to be the baseline, the fundamental mechanism, for organizing law, politics and public policy in the United States to this day,” Mackey said.

The Upsilon-Upsilon chapter of Phi Alpha Theta was established at UC in 1974. The group annually sponsors the oldest continuous lecture series on campus and has consistently been named the best chapter for Division I universities.

Located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, University of the Cumberlands is an institute of regional distinction that currently offers four undergraduate degrees in more than 40 major areas of study; 10 pre-professional programs; 10 graduate degrees distributed over eight areas, including two doctorates and seven master’s degrees; certificates in education; and online programs.