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The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wooldridge

Thomas Wooldridge (often called Woolridge) returned to London by September 1773, having cultivated a relationship with Secretary of State Dartmouth and made contact with merchants in multiple North American ports. Through his father-in-law,...Show More Summary

Sons of Confederate Veterans Kicked Out of Lee Chapel

This week the Stonewall Brigade of the Sons of Confederate Veterans learned that they will not be allowed to use the Lee Chapel on the…

Phillis Wheatley and Susanna Wooldridge

Yesterday I proposed that Phillis Wheatley wrote her “Ode to Neptune” about Susanna Wooldridge (sometimes spelled “Woolridge”). Here’s my argument.On 29 Aug 1771, the New-York Journal ran this piece of news from London:Saturday lastShow More Summary

Kids on the Meaning of the Confederate Flag

This video comes to us from a t-shirt company that caters to customers with a social conscience. You can explore what the company has to…

The Mystery of “Mrs. W——”

Yesterday I quoted Phillis Wheatley’s “Ode to Neptune,” published in London in 1773 with the subtitle “On Mrs. W——’s Voyage to England” and dateline “Boston, October 10, 1772.”For readers seeking to identify “Mrs. W——,” the poem offers...Show More Summary

Visualizing Confederate Flag Rallies

The Southern Poverty Law Center has put together a map illustrating where the largest and most frequent Confederate flag rallies have taken place over the…

Phillis Wheatley Day at Old South, 18 Aug.

I’m momentarily stepping away from the 1765 Stamp Act ruckus to note that on Tuesday, 18 August, the Old South Meeting-House celebrates its Phillis Wheatley Day.That’s the date on which Phillis Wheatley officially joined the Old South congregation in 1771. Show More Summary

Timothy Tyson on North Carolina’s Confederate Legacy

Here is a thoughtful op-ed by by Timothy Tyson in response to North Carolina’s Mandatory Confederate Monuments Act, which appeared today in The News &…

Gov. Francis Bernard’s View of the Stamp Act Riots

Royal governor Francis Bernard had, not surprisingly, a different view of the Stamp Act protests of 14 Aug 1765 from those men I quoted yesterday.Bernard’s view came mainly from the Council chamber of the Town House (now Old State House), where he met with the Massachusetts gentlemen who were supposed to be his natural advisors and supporters. Show More Summary

Confederate Flags are Gone With the Wind

The horrific shooting of nine churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina back in June did not spark this public debate about the place of Confederate iconography…

A Longer View of the Stamp Act

For a broader perspective on how the conflict over the American Stamp Act fit into the dynamics of the British Empire, check out Donald Carleton, Jr.’s essay at Mass Humanities. Don spearheaded the commemoration of the Peace of 1763Show More Summary

An important figure in early Civil War history

John Watts DePeyster in 1863 There were many important early chroniclers of the American Civil War. Most have been long forgotten in the tidal wave of books on the Civil War that has marked the last 150 years. Few were more important than Bvt. Show More Summary

“They stampd the Image & timber & made a great bonfire”

Yesterday I started quoting John Avery’s 19 Aug 1765 letter describing Boston’s first public anti-Stamp protest five days before. He continued this way:About Day [i.e., the end of the day] the Mob to about three thousand assembled & cut the sd. Show More Summary

The Challenge of Contextualizing Confederate Monuments

Calls for the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces continues at a steady clip. Yesterday, the president of the University of Texas at Austin…

Bonus “Ben Franklin’s World” Episode

A couple of weeks ago Liz Covart interviewed me about the Stamp Act conflict for her history podcast, Ben Franklin’s World. You can download and listen from iTunes or this page.

“A Stampman hanging on a Tree”

This is the 250th anniversary of Boston’s first public demonstration against the Stamp Act, which set off a wave of similar protests in the other ports of British North America. One of the best sources on that event is a letter from Boston merchant John Avery (1739-1806) to his brother-in-law John Collins (1717-1795) of Newport, Rhode Island. Show More Summary

Jefferson Davis Goes, While Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston Stay

The debate at the University of Texas at Austin over the presence on campus of monuments to Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney…

New to the Civil War Memory Library, 08/13

All of these books – except the new biography of Dana, which is quite good – are connected to my ongoing research project on Silas…

The Flight of the Stampmen in the Boston Gazette

In preparation for the next two days of Stamp Act sestercentennial events in Boston, I looked up the issue of the Boston Gazette for Monday, 12 Aug 1765.That was the last issue published before effigies appeared on the big South End elm. Show More Summary

Walter Johnson Offers ‘A Better Way to Think About Slavery’

For the past few days I’ve been reading about the expansion of slavery into the southwestern states during the 1830s and 40s. Silas Chandler was…

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