John Adams predicted Americans would celebrate the Second of July, the day Congress voted in favor of independence, “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of the Continent to the other.” He got the date wrong, but he was right about the festivities in commemoration of Independence Day. And yet July Fourth events have changed a great deal since 1776. [Read more…] about Celebrating the Fourth: Some History
As it happens, this expression is right on the mark because it seems when we use shoes as historical objects, we can learn a LOT about people and their everyday lives and actions.
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Kimberly Alexander, museum specialist, lecturer at the University of New Hampshire, and author of Treasures Afoot: Shoe Stories from the Georgian Era (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2018), joins us to help us better understand shoes and what they can tell us about the everyday lives of early Americans. [Read more…] about Shoe Stories from Early America
For the American Revolution to be successful, it needed ideas people could embrace and methods for spreading those ideas. It also needed ways for revolutionaries to coordinate across colonial lines. How did revolutionaries develop and spread their ideas? How did they communicate and coordinate plans of actions?
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Joseph Adelman, an Assistant Professor of History at Framingham State University and author of Revolutionary Networks: The Business and Politics of Printing the News, 1763-1789 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019), joins us to investigate the roles printers and their networks played in developing and spreading ideas of the American Revolution. [Read more…] about Revolutionary Print Networks: Printing the News, 1763-1789
You sent these questions for Episode 200: Everyday Life in Early America. You also said you wanted to know more about transportation in early America. [Read more…] about Post and Travel in Early America
Benedict Arnold is an intriguing figure. He was both a military hero who greatly impacted and furthered the American War for Independence with his bravery on the battlefield and someone who did something unthinkable: he betrayed his country.
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Stephen Brumwell, an award-winning historian and the author of Turncoat: Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty (Yale University Press, 2018), joins us to explore the life and deeds of Benedict Arnold and Arnold’s stunning metamorphosis from hero to traitor. [Read more…] about Benedict Arnold and the Crisis of American Liberty
But what precisely is the work that mothers do to raise children? Has the nature of mothers, motherhood, and the work mothers do changed over time?
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World, Nora Doyle, an Assistant Professor of History at Salem College in North Carolina, has combed through the historical record to find answers to these questions. Specifically, she’s sought to better understand the lived and imagined experiences of mothers and motherhood between the 1750s and 1850s. [Read more…] about Motherhood in Early America
Within days of the Boston Massacre, Bostonians politicized the event. They circulated a pamphlet about “the Horrid Massacre” and published images portraying soldiers firing into a well-assembled and peaceful crowd.
But why did the Boston Massacre happen? Why did the British government feel it had little choice but to station as many 2,000 soldiers in Boston during peacetime? And what was going on within the larger British Empire that drove colonists to the point where they provoked armed soldiers to fire upon them? [Read more…] about Boston Massacre: The Townshend Moment
On the evening of March 5, 1770, a crowd gathered in Boston’s King Street and confronted a sentry and his fellow soldiers in front of the custom house. The confrontation led the soldiers to fire their muskets into the crowd, five civilians died.
What happened on the night of March 5, 1770 that led the crowd to gather and the soldiers to discharge their weapons?
In this episode of Ben Franklin’s World: A Podcast About Early American History Eric Hinderaker, a distinguished professor of history at the University of Utah and the author of Boston’s Massacre (Harvard University Press, 2017) assists our quest to discover more about the Boston Massacre. [Read more…] about Boston’s Massacre
In the 21st century, we are all creators and users of content. We take original photos with our smartphones, generate blog posts, digital videos, and podcasts. Some of us write books and articles. And nearly everyone contributes content to social media.
Given all of the information and content we generate and use, it’s really important for us to understand the principles of copyright and fair use, principles that have an early American past. [Read more…] about Copyright & Fair Use in Early America
In 1738, a cooper named Benedict Arnold petitioned the Rhode Island General Assembly for a divorce from his wife Mary Ward Arnold. Benedict claimed that Mary had taken a lover and together they had attempted to murder him with poison.
How did this story of love, divorce, and attempted murder unfold? What does it reveal about the larger world of colonial America and the experiences of colonial American men and women? [Read more…] about Poison Plot: Adultery and Murder in Colonial Newport