Author Archives: Liz Covart

Liz Covart

About Liz Covart

Liz Covart is the Digital Projects Editor at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture at the College of William and Mary. She holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of California, Davis. For more information about Liz and her podcast visit lizcovart.com.

Nathaniel Bowditch: 19th-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea


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ben_franklins_worldNathaniel Bowditch worked as a navigator, mathematician, astronomer, and business innovator. Over the course of his lifetime, his fellow Americans hailed him as the “American Sir Isaac Newton.”

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Tamara Thornton, a professor of history at the University of Buffalo and author of Nathaniel Bowditch and the Power of Numbers: How a Nineteenth-Century Man of Business, Science, and the Sea Changed America (UNCPress, 2016), leads us on a detailed exploration of the life of Nathaniel Bowditch. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/140

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American Independence: A Declaration in Draft


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ben_franklins_worldThe Declaration of Independence stands first in a series of documents that founded the United States. It also stands as an early step in the long process of establishing a free, independent, and self-governing nation. Since 1776, more than 100 nation-states and freedom organizations have used the Declaration of Independence as a model for their own declarations and proclamations of independence.

Given the Declaration of Independence’s important place in the hearts and minds of peoples around the world, we need to go behind its parchment and explore just how the Declaration of Independence came to be.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we explore how the Second Continental Congress drafted the Declaration of Independence. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/141

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Uncovered Story: Indian Enslavement in America


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ben_franklins_worldIn 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He also played a central role in the European adoption of Indian or Native American slavery.

When we think of slavery in early America, we often think of the practice of African and African-American chattel slavery. However, that system of slavery wasn’t the only system of slavery that existed in North America. Systems of Indian slavery existed too. In fact, Indians remained enslaved long after the 13th Amendment abolished African-American slavery in 1865.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Andrés Reséndez, a professor of history at the University of California, Davis and author of The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in Americas (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016), leads us on an investigation of this “other” form of American slavery. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/139.

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Frontier Politics in Early America


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ben_franklins_worldDid you know that Connecticut and Virginia once invaded Pennsylvania?

During the 1760s, Connecticut invaded and captured the northeastern corner of Pennsylvania just as Virginia invaded and captured parts of western Pennsylvania. And Pennsylvania stood powerless to stop them.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Patrick Spero, the Librarian of the American Philosophical Society and author of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), takes us through these invasions and reveals why Pennsylvania proved unable to defend its territory. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/138

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The Washingtons’ Runaway Slave, Ona Judge


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ben_franklins_worldGeorge Washington was an accomplished man. He served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, first President of the United States, and on top of all that he was also a savvy businessman who ran a successful plantation.

George Washington was also a slaveholder. In 1789, he and his wife Martha took 7 slaves to New York City to serve them in their new role as First Family. A 16 year-old girl named Ona Judge was one of the enslaved women who accompanied and served the Washingtons.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Erica Dunbar, a Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware and author of Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave Ona Judge (Atria Books, 2017), leads us through the early American life of Ona Judge.  You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/137 Continue reading

Material Culture and the Making of America


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ben_franklins_worldWhat do the objects we purchase and use say about us?

If we take the time to think about the material objects and clothing in our lives, we’ll find that we can actually learn a lot about ourselves and other people. The same holds true when we take the time to study the objects and clothing left behind by people from the past.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Jennifer Van Horn, an Assistant Professor of History and Art History at the University of Delaware and author of The Power of Objects in Eighteenth-Century British America (University of North Carolina Press, 2017), leads us on an exploration of the 18th-century British material world and how objects from that world can help us think about and explore the lives of 18th-century British Americans. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/136

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The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy


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ben_franklins_worldIf early Americans desired slaves mostly to produce sugarcane, cotton, rice, indigo, and tobacco, what would happen if Europeans and early Americans stopped purchasing those products?

Would boycotting slave-produced goods and starving slavery of its economic sustenance be enough to end the practice of slavery in North America?

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Julie Holcomb, an Associate Professor of Museum Studies at Baylor University and author of Moral Commerce: The Transatlantic Boycott of the Slave Labor Economy (Cornell University Press, 2016), helps us explore answers to these questions by leading us through the transatlantic boycott of slave produced goods. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/135

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Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America


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ben_franklins_worldIn Colonial America, clergymen stood as thought leaders in their local communities. They stood at the head of their congregations and many community members looked to them for knowledge and insight about the world around them.

So what happened to these trusted, educated men during the American Revolution? How did they choose their political allegiances? And what work did they undertake to aid or hinder the revolutionary cause?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Spencer McBride, an editor at the Joseph Smith Papers documentary editing project, joins us to explore some of the ways politics and religion intersected during the American Revolution with details from his book, Pulpit and Nation: Clergymen and the Politics of Revolutionary America (University of Virginia, 2017). You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/134

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Nat Turner’s Revolt, 1831


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ben_franklins_worldThe institution of African slavery in North America began in late August 1619 and persisted until the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in December 1865.

Over those 246 years, many slaves plotted and conspired to start rebellions, but most of the plotted rebellions never took place. Slaveholders and whites discovered them before they could begin. Therefore, North America witnessed only a handful of slave revolts between 1614 and 1865. Nat Turner’s Rebellion in August 1831 stands as the most deadly.

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Patrick Breen, an Associate Professor of History at Providence College and author of The Land Shall Be Deluged in Blood: A New History of the Nat Turner Revolt (Oxford University Press, 2016), joins us to investigate the ins and outs of this bloodiest of North American slave revolts. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/133

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Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire


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ben_franklins_worldWhen we explore the history of early America, we often look at people who lived and the events that took place in North America. But what about the people who lived and worked in European metropoles?

What about Native Americans?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we explore early American history through a slightly different lens, a lens that allows us to see interactions that occurred between Native American peoples and English men and women who lived in London. Our guide for this exploration is Coll Thrush, an Associate Professor of History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver and author of Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire (Yale University Press, 2016). You can listen to the episode here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/132

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