Category Archives: Books

Pauline Maier’s American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldHow much can the work of one historian impact how we view and study the American Revolution?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we investigate the answer to this question by exploring the life and work of Pauline Maier, a historian who spent her life researching and investigating the American Revolution. Over the course of her lifetime, Maier wrote four important books about the American Revolution: From Resistance to Revolution (Knopf, 1973), The Old Revolutionaries (Knopf, 1980), American Scripture (Knopf, 1997), and Ratification (Simon & Schuster, 2010).

Mary Beth Norton, Joanne Freeman, Todd Estes, and Lindsay Chervinsky join us as we journey through Maier’s body of work to better understand the American Revolution and how one historian can impact how we view and study history. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/155

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Rebels on the Niagara: The Fenian Invasion of Canada


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rebels on the niagara book coverLawrence E. Cline’s new book Rebels on the Niagara: The Fenian Invasion of Canada, 1866 (SUNY Press, 2017) takes a look at what is now largely considered a footnote in history, the American invasion of Canada along the Niagara Frontier.

The group behind the invasion – the Fenian Brotherhood – was formed in 1858 by Irish nationalists in New York City in order to fight for Irish independence from Britain. Continue reading

Freedoms We Lost in the American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldDeclaring independence from Great Britain required the formation of new governments.

But why did Americans want and need new governments? And how did their interactions and experiences with their old, colonial governments inform their decisions to create new governments?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, Barbara Clark Smith, a curator in the division of political history at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History and the author of The Freedoms We Lost: Consent and Resistance in Revolutionary America (The New Press, 2010), leads us on an exploration of how Americans interacted with their government before the American Revolution and how the Revolution changed their interaction and ideas about government. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/154

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Schenectady Votes For Women Reading & Discussion Group


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votes for women2017 marks the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage in New York State, and this fall, Humanities New York is exploring the subject with a reading and discussion group.

Union College Professor Andrea Foroughi will leads the group through six evenings of book discussion. The book selections include history, biography, and fiction, and provide a window into this chapter of American social progress and a springboard into ongoing discussions of women’s history. Continue reading

Unexpected President: Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur


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unexpected president bookScott S. Greenberger’s new book The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur (Da Capo Press, 2017) is a biography of the dramatic, untold story of a virtually forgotten American president, Chester Arthur.

When President James Garfield was shot, no one in the United States was more dismayed than his Vice President, Chester Arthur. For years Arthur had been perceived as unfit to govern, not only by critics and his fellow citizens, but by his own conscience.

His short presidency proved to be a turning point of American history. This biography is the tale of a machine politician and man-about-town in Gilded Age New York who stumbled into the highest office in the land. Continue reading

Origins of the American Revolution


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ben_franklins_worldWhat caused the American Revolution?

Was it the issue of ‘No Taxation without Representation?’ Was it conflict and change in the social order of colonial and British society? Or, was the Revolution about differences in ideas about governance and the roles government should play in society?

In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History, we explore one set of ideas about the origins of the American Revolution with Bernard Bailyn, a Professor Emeritus at Harvard University and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/152

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Abigail Adams, Revolutionary Speculator


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ben_franklins_worldAbigail Adams lived through and participated in the American Revolution. As the wife of John Adams, she used her position to famously remind Adams and his colleagues to “remember the ladies” when they created laws for the new, independent United States.

In this episode of the Ben Franklin’s World podcast, Woody Holton, a Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and author of Abigail Adams (Free Press, 2009), helps us explore a different, largely unknown aspect of Adams’ life: Her financial investments. You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/150

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Chenango Canal Program Set For Oneida County


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Chenango Canal Book CoverThe Oneida County History Center will host author Wade Allen Lallier for a signing of his new book Chenango Canal: The Million Dollar Ditch on Wednesday, September 20th, starting at 5:30 pm.

Chenango Canal: The Million Dollar Ditch chronicles the story of a central New York canal and how it changed the region. Touted as “the best built canal in New York State,” the canal was never profitable for the state, but did bring prosperity to the communities along its length. Lallier will discuss the canal’s history and impact on Oneida County. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and for the author to sign.  Continue reading

Benjamin Franklin in London


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ben_franklins_worldOver the course of his long life, Benjamin Franklin traveled to and lived in London on two different occasions. The first time he went as a teenager. The second, as a man and colonial agent. All told he spent nearly 18 years living in the heart of the British Empire.

How did Franklin’s experiences in London shape his opportunities and view of the world?

George Goodwin, author of Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father (Yale University Press, 2016), leads us on an exploration of Franklin’s life in London.

You can listen to the podcast here: www.benfranklinsworld.com/149

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