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A Look at Boston’s Lost and Found

Last month at the African American Intellectual History blog, Jared Hardesty wrote about a surviving scrap of colonial Boston town records and what they reveal about the town’s black population.The story starts in the Boston Public Library’s...Show More Summary

American Foreign Policy and the Protection of Slavery

You need to pick up a copy of Matthew Karp’s new book, This Vast Southern Empire: Slaveholders at the Helm of American Foreign Policy, if you haven’t done so already.…

“Several of us dress’d in woman’s clothes”

At the end of September 1780, Lt. Enos Reeves (1753-1807) and his company of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment were in Haverstraw, New York, on the Hudson River.They didn’t have much to do. On 4 October Reeves wrote to a fellow officerShow More Summary

Who were Orrstown, Pennsylvania’s Copperheads?

Though I haven’t mentioned it, this past summer my wife purchased a “retreat” in central Pennsylvania. So, when I’m not otherwise overwhelmed keeping up with everything else going on, I’m enjoying the advantages of being in TWO fine valleys… the Shenandoah, in Virginia, and the Cumberland, in Pennsylvania. Whether by accident or not, the exact location […]

Charlottesville’s Lee Park Could Be “Confederate Fabulous”

I have been consistent in maintaining that the future of Confederate iconography, including monuments must be debated and ultimately decided by local communities. Having taught history, lectured and led tours…

“a runaway… a negro man who calls himself PHIL”, OTD, 1814

From the front page of the Sept. 28, 1814 edition of the Maryland Herald and Hagers-town Weekly Advertiser, we have a listing announcing the runaway of a slave (out of the lower Shenandoah Valley) owned by Ferdinand (aka Ferdinando) Fairfax: While this may just appear to be yet another listing for another runaway slave, give it […]

The Issue of Naturalization Laws, and What Really Mattered

Steven Pincus’s new book The Heart of the Declaration raises the question of how British imperial policy on migration into North America after 1763 pushed thirteen of the empire’s colonies toward independence. I hadn’t seen much about...Show More Summary

On Thomas Nast’s 176th Birthday

It’s his art and the way he could say so much in it, with so few words. That’s why I take time to remember Thomas Nast on his 176th birthday… and the fact that Facebook reminded me that, for whatever reason that compelled me at the time, I paid tribute to him on his birthday, back in […]

The Issue of Immigration—Running the Numbers

Yesterday I quoted from the Course of Human Events blog’s posting about The Heart of the Declaration: The Founders’ Case for an Activist Government, a new analysis of the forces behind the Revolution by Yale history professor StevenShow More Summary

Austerity and Stimulus in the American Revolution?

A few weeks back, the Course of Human Events blog highlighted a new book about the American Revolution coming from Steven Pincus, the Bradford Durfee Professor of History and co-director of the Center for Historical Enquiry and the Social Sciences at Yale University. Show More Summary

Pine Grove Furnace – the Ironmaster’s Mansion (Gardners, Pa)

Yesterday afternoon, I had a chance for a quick dash through part of the countryside of central Pennsylvania. Having just enough time, I took a short detour toward Pine Grove Furnace. When I saw a sign for the Ironmaster’s Mansion, I wondered… could this be the Ege family home? Even if so, why would I […]

“All the Province Stores Sent to Col James Barretts”

Sometime in the early spring of 1775, James Barrett of Concord, a Massachusetts Provincial Congress delegate and militia colonel, wrote down “An account of all the Province Stores Sent to Col James Barretts of Concord Partly in His Own...Show More Summary

Daniel Crofts on Lincoln and the “Other” Thirteenth Amendment

This past week Daniel Crofts delivered a Banner Lecture at the Virginia Historical Society that focuses on the crux of his new book, Lincoln and the Politics of Slavery: The…

Searching for the “Senatorial Saucer” Source

Yesterday I quoted the story of the “senatorial saucer” as it appeared in Harper’s magazine in 1884.However, that wasn’t the first appearance of the story, nor an accurate reflection of its earlier appearance. Back in 1871 the German-born law professor Francis Lieber had put the tale in writing in a letter to Rep. Show More Summary

Discussing secession, OTD, 1851

The following clip comes from the Spirit of Jefferson (Charles Town, VA), from 165 years ago, today. Of course, reading through this, there are some lines that seem to see a decade ahead. I was particularly interested in the remarks near the end… Our blood ran cold as he described an army devastating this Valley… […]

Virginia’s best Civil War museums and historic homes open for free this weekend

In Winchester and Richmond, battlefield and historic home tours, museum visits, book signings and an artillery demonstration are offered for free this weekend. In the Winchester area, the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation, headquartered...Show More Summary

Cooling Down a Washington Quotation

When I was at Mount Vernon earlier this month, my eye fell on these coffee cups in the gift shop.Over George Washington’s signature they say (within quotation marks), “Decision making, like coffee, needs a cooling process.”These cups...Show More Summary

The Virginia Flaggers’ Lost Cause

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the Virginia Flaggers would not be pleased with my recent piece in The Daily Beast. They huffed and puffed on their Facebook…

When a Casting Director Comes Calling

Last week I was contacted by a casting director to see if I might be interested in hosting a new show for A&E/HISTORY. I was a bit surprised, but curious…

Political Science in Fever-Stricken Philadelphia

H-Net just ran Jan Golinski’s review of Feverish Bodies, Enlightened Minds: Science and the Yellow Fever Controversy in the Early American Republic by Thomas A. Apel.As Golinski explains, no one in 1790s Philadelphia understood the cause...Show More Summary

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