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How to Save a Penny and More at Franklin’s Grave

Last week the Philadelphia newspapers ran a short article about an effort to preserve the gravestone of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin. That marble stone, in the Christ Church Burial Ground across from Independence Mall, has developed...Show More Summary

Dismantling of Louisville’s Confederate Monument Begins

In just the past few hours workers have begun work to dismantle Louisville’s Confederate monument in preparation for its relocation in Brandenburg. I believe this is the first large American […]

“Seeing him buried under Liberty Tree”

On 22 Aug 1774, the Boston Gazette carried a small item at the end of its front-page news from Britain:Died, a few days since, at Backway, near Cambridge, Philip Billes, Esq: possessed of a considerable fortune, which he had left to two gentlemen, no relations, on condition of seeing him buried under Liberty Tree at Boston, in New England. Show More Summary

The Retreat of the Confederate Battle Flag Continues

A number of you emailed me a story that appeared in The New York Times about the supposed resurgence of the Confederate battle flag during the 2016 election. It is […]

Thomas Machin “employed in ye. Colony service”

I left off yesterday with Gen. George Washington asking the Massachusetts government to release Lt. Thomas Machin from his project surveying a canal through Cape Cod and join the Continental Army around New York. Washington needed engineers to build fortifications.On 10 June, Washington’s military secretary Robert Hanson Harrison told Gen. Show More Summary

Lt. Machin and the Cape Cod Canal

On Saturday I’m going to Sandwich to speak to the Cape Cod Sons of the American Revolution about The Road to Concord. So I decided to look for something interesting about Revolutionary Sandwich.That led me back to one of my favorite characters from the siege of Boston: Thomas Machin. Show More Summary

Design of Emancipation Proclamation memorial was easy, now where to place it?

A former slave-dependent Virginia county plans to unveil a monument to commemorate the Emancipation Proclamation once a decision is made about where to place it. It may be the first such memorial in the state or anywhere in the former Confederacy. The Board of Supervisors of Fluvanna County voted to create the memorial last year. […]

Jonathan Sewall on John Adams

The new books about John Adams and his thoughts on aristocracy give me a chance to quote one of my favorite passages about him, from his old friend Jonathan Sewall.Sewall became an attorney for the Crown, then a Loyalist, then a very depressed shut-in. Show More Summary

Trumpism, local and global

Below the fold you will find what I had to say about the election before the election. This excerpt comes from a paper I wrote for a conference about the Obama presidency; the papers were due October 28. In the New York Times story about the conference, you will read that “the overwhelmingly liberal group” […]

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Cotton”

Came across this excerpt from a sermon delivered in 1860 in South Carolina by Rev. William O. Prentiss. The title is, “The Power of Slave Labor.” Three hundred and fifty…

Luke Mayville on John Adams and Aristocracy

There are actually two books about John Adams’s political thinking on aristocracy coming out this year. In addition to the one author Richard Alan Ryerson will speak about tomorrow, there’s also John Adams and the Fear of American Oligarchy...Show More Summary

Ryerson on Adams’s Political Thinking, 16 Nov.

On Wednesday, 16 November, the Massachusetts Historical Society will welcome back Richard Alan Ryerson, once editor of the Adams Papers. He will speak about his new book, John Adams’s Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many, published...Show More Summary

My 2016 Best Picks For Civil War Monitor

Once again I had the chance to highlight a couple of my favorite Civil War titles of 2016 for The Civil War Monitor magazine. In addition to my picks, you…

A Hogarth Begging for Another Look

Last month the Print Shop Window reported on a new expert ruling about a painting attributed to William Hogarth in the collection of the National Gallery of Art. (Ours, not Britain’s.) The website’s story, cleverly titled “The Fake’s...Show More Summary

Smithsonian’s Grievous Editorial Failure

Over the years I have accumulated a large file of print mail and emails from individuals who have taken issue with what I have written on this site and in…

Did Donald Trump Just “Blow Up” History?

The reference to ‘blowing things up’ has been used by political pundits to describe the frustration of the American electorate and what it hoped to accomplish in electing Donald Trump…

A “(Mostly) True” Picture Book Landing Now

On Publishers Weekly’s new list of the best picture books of the year is A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785, written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Show More Summary

Confederate Heritage in the Age of Trump

There is a good deal about the outcome of this week’s election that I do not understand. There are also elements of it that I understand all too well. Even…

The Brief Army Career of John Anthony Aborn

Quoting from Donald A. D’Amato’s Warwick: A City at the Crossroads, this website about the history of Warwick, Rhode Island, describes the experiences of the Aborn family:The fort at Pawtuxet was manned by the Pawtuxet Rangers who are officially ranked in the state militia as the Second Independent Company of the County of Kent. Show More Summary

We Still Need to Fix the Electoral College

Hillary Clinton won our vote.“Our” meaning the choice of us the people of the United States of America. Everyone agrees that she won the plurality of the votes we cast leading up to Tuesday, 8 November.But because of the Electoral College,...Show More Summary

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