by Public Relations

All ideas are inspired by something, even something as mundane as a sweatshirt.

Kevin Sims, Ph.D., professor of political science at Cedarville University, was visiting family in Arizona when a sweatshirt with three words — "Arizona: since 1912" — caught his eye. And that was all it took to spark an idea for a book.

The book, tentatively titled "A Solemn Contract," explores the establishment of Arizona during the Civil War as the first non-slave territory south of 36 degrees and 30 minutes north latitude, the line dividing free territories from the South where slavery was legal. The book also looks at the ideological connection between President Abraham Lincoln and John Stuart Mill, an English philosopher who spoke out against slavery, and examines how these two men influenced Arizona's development as a free territory. As Arizona reaches its centennial celebration in 2012, the book will provide a timely reminder of the state's profound history.

Sims' research is part of the new Scholarship Release Program at Cedarville. This pilot program is designed to release professors from teaching responsibilities for one three-credit class to give them the opportunity to be involved in research.

As soon as Dr. Sims heard about the new release program, he applied. "I suppose deep down inside, every college professor has a desire to write a book," he said. "Now I can."

"Dr. Sims' work is not only fascinating, but it will also clarify a little-known connection between Mill and President Lincoln on the pre-eminent issue of the day — the extension of slavery," said Tom Mach, Ph.D., chair of the department of history and government at Cedarville. "What has not been previously uncovered is the influence of Mill in this whole process. This work will make a major addition to the understanding of the many facets of abolitionism and opposition to the extension of slavery, while celebrating the centennial of this important state."