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Breakfast with Charles Lee and Spado

On 31 May 1776, Samuel Johnston wrote a letter to his sister Hannah Iredell from Halifax, North Carolina, describing what people were talking about in that town. Instead of politics, the general topic of conversation in this place is...Show More Summary

W.E.B. DuBois on Robert E. Lee

Yesterday I shared a brief passage from W.E.B. DuBois on Confederate monuments. Below is an short essay from DuBois on Robert E. Lee’s legacy published in 1928. Robert E. Lee […]

Isaiah Thomas and a Woman of Pleasure

In 1786, the London bookseller Thomas Evans wrote to Isaiah Thomas, who had finally established himself as a printer in Worcester: “The Memoirs of a W. of P. which if you must have, [I] must beg you will apply to some of the Captains...Show More Summary

W.E.B. DuBois on Confederate Monuments

Thanks to all of you who have offered suggestions on how to improve #NOLASyllabus. The list has expanded and deepened in a number of ways, though I am still trying […]

A Celebration in North Stratford, Connecticut

On 5 June 1783 the Vermont Gazette of Bennington published an “Extract of a letter from Stratford, in Connecticut, dated May 27, 1783.” It read:Yesterday the inhabitants of North Stratford convened for a rejoicing for the memorable declaration of peace and American independence. Show More Summary

The Civil War Sacrifice of the Brobst Family: Simon and Salome & John and Sarah

This Memorial Day, as we pause to honor the nation's fallen and pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that this country may live, it is only appropriate, I think, that we also pause to consider the families of those honored dead, who also paid so dear a price upon that altar of freedom. Show More Summary

Defining “Context” in the Context of Confederate Monuments

If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend watching the panel discussion about New Orleans and Confederate monuments that I took part in on Al Jazeera this past week. […]

“Curnul putnum Com & ordered us down”

Here’s the rest of Pvt. James Stevens’s account of his Andover company’s fight along the Chelsea shore on this date in 1775.When we left Stevens on the night of 27 May 1775, the Royal Navy schooner Diana had run aground near the ferry...Show More Summary

Pvt. James Stevens Goes into the Chelsea Fight

On 27 May 1775, the New England army went into their first sustained fight against the British military since the Battle of Lexington and Concord. That skirmish has been overshadowed by larger and more consequential battles in the previous and next months. Show More Summary

Calling Out Irresponsible Journalism by David Love and theGrio

I have shared my thoughts about the ongoing debate concerning Confederate monuments in numerous blog posts, published articles, in the classroom and on the speaking circuit. My ideas have evolved […]

Looking through Jefferson’s Eyes

Another provocative recent article about the eighteenth century is Maurizio Valsania’s “French Hovels, Slave Cabins, and the Limits of Jefferson’s Eyes” on the Oxford University Press blog.Valsania, a professor of American history at...Show More Summary

Interviewed on Al Jazeera About Confederate Monuments

Yesterday I took part in a panel discussion about the removal of Confederate monuments in New Orleans on Al Jazeera’s, “The Stream.” It was a very lively discussion and I […]

The Downfall of James Otis

Earlier this month the Smithsonian magazine website shared Erick Trickey’s article on James Otis, Jr.—“Why the Colonies’ Most Galvanizing Patriot Never Became a Founding Father.”In the 1760s, only Patrick Henry and John Dickinson rivaled...Show More Summary

Introducing #NOLASyllabus

I have been blown away by the amount of thoughtful commentary that has come out over the past few weeks in response to the removal of monuments in New Orleans. […]

Jean Fritz’s Revolution

The author Jean Fritz died earlier this month at the age of 101. Obituaries in the New York Times and Washington Post described how she was born and raised in China, a daughter of American missionaries, and started to research her country’s history from afar. Show More Summary

Architecture Seminar at Redwood Library, 10 June

The Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, Rhode Island, is hosting its annual seminar on Saturday, 10 June. This year’s gathering is on the theme of “Colonial Classics: The Redwood Library & American Architecture in the 18th Century.”The...Show More Summary

Remembering the Battle of the Crater Out in Paperback

I had my doubts, but the University Press of Kentucky came through and just released my first book, Remembering the Battle of the Crater: War as Murder, in paperback. They […]

Interpreting Civil War Monuments: Further Reading

What follows is a short list of books for those of you who have been following the recent removal of monuments in New Orleans, as well as the broader debate, […]

“It was easy to discover that he was a curious Character“

Yesterday I quoted Abigail Adams’s description of visiting Carisbrooke Castle in England in 1788.That passage from her travel account continues:We returnd to Newport to dine. After dinner a Gentleman introduced himself to us by the Name of Sharp. Show More Summary

Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Lost Cause

I don’t want this weekend to slip by without a quick comment about Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s address on Friday. The New Orleans mayor chose the removal of the Robert E. […]

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