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New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic
In pursuit of a more sophisticated and inclusive American history, the contributors to ###Beyond the Founders# propose new directions for the study of the political history of the republic before the Civil War. In ways formal and informal, symbolic and tactile, this political world encompassed blacks, women, entrepreneurs, and Native Americans, as well as the Adamses, Jeffersons, and Jacksons, all struggling in their own ways to shape the new nation and express their ideas of American democracy.Taking inspiration from the new cultural and social histories, these political historians show that the early history of the United States was not just the product of a few "founding fathers," but was also marked by widespread and passionate popular involvement; print media more politically potent than that of later eras; and political conflicts and influences that crossed lines of race, gender, and class.Contributors:John L. Brooke, The Ohio State University Andrew R. L. Cayton, Miami University (Ohio)Saul Cornell, The Ohio State UniversitySeth Cotlar, Willamette UniversityReeve Huston, Duke University Nancy Isenberg, University of TulsaRichard R. John, University of Illinois at ChicagoAlbrecht Koschnik, Florida State University Rich Newman, Rochester Institute of TechnologyJeffrey L. Pasley, University of Missouri, ColumbiaAndrew W. Robertson, City University of New YorkWilliam G. Shade, Lehigh UniversityDavid Waldstreicher, Temple UniversityRosemarie Zagarri, George Mason UniversityArguing for a more sophisticated and inclusive political history of early America than recent scholarship has provided, the editors have collected 14 original essays that employ the methods of social and cultural history to propose new directions for the study of the American republic before 1830. The essays are grouped into 4 main subjects: popular and democratic political practices; the role of race, gender, and social identities; the creation of norms and forms of political expression; and the importance of early public interest movements and parties. Together, they show that the early political history of the U.S. was not just the product of a few founding elites but was also marked by widespread and passionate popular involvement; an emerging print media; and conflict along race, gender, & class lines.These 14 original essays show that the early political history of the U.S. was not just the product of a few founding elites but was also marked by widespread and passionate popular involvement; an emerging print media; and conflict along race, gender, & class lines.In pursuit of a more sophisticated and inclusive American history, the contributors to ###Beyond the Founders# propose new directions for the study of the political history of the republic before the Civil War. In ways formal and informal, symbolic and tactile, this political world encompassed blacks, women, entrepreneurs, and Native Americans, as well as the Adamses, Jeffersons, and Jacksons, all struggling in their own ways to shape the new nation and express their ideas of American democracy.Taking inspiration from the new cultural and social histories, these political historians show that the early history of the United States was not just the product of a few "founding fathers," but was also marked by widespread and passionate popular involvement; print media more politically potent than that of later eras; and political conflicts and influences that crossed lines of race, gender, and class.Contributors:John L. Brooke, The Ohio State University Andrew R. L. Cayton, Miami University (Ohio)Saul Cornell, The Ohio State UniversitySeth Cotlar, Willamette UniversityReeve Huston, Duke University Nancy Isenberg, University of TulsaRichard R. John, University of Illinois at ChicagoAlbrecht Koschnik, Florida State University Rich Newman, Rochester Institute of TechnologyJeffrey L. Pasley, University of Missouri, ColumbiaAndrew W. Robertson, City University of New YorkWilliam G. Shade, Lehigh UniversityDavid Waldstreicher, Temple UniversityRosemarie Zagarri, George Mason University
Baptist Community in Early America
The American Baptist church originated in British North America as "little tabernacles in the wilderness," isolated seventeenth-century congregations that had grown into a mainstream denomination by the early nineteenth century. The common view of this transition casts these evangelicals as radicals who were on society's fringe during the colonial period, only to become conservative by the nineteenth century after they had achieved social acceptance. In Bodies of Belief, Janet Moore Lindman challenges this accepted, if oversimplified, characterization of early American Baptists by arguing that they struggled with issues of equity and power within the church during the colonial period, and that evangelical religion was both radical and conservative from its beginning.
Bodies of Belief traces the paradoxical evolution of the Baptist religion, including the struggles of early settlement and church building, the varieties of theology and worship, and the multivalent meaning of conversation, ritual, and godly community. Lindman demonstrates how the body—both individual bodies and the collective body of believers—was central to the Baptist definition and maintenance of faith. The Baptist religion galvanized believers through a visceral transformation of religious conversion, which was then maintained through ritual. Yet the Baptist body was differentiated by race and gender. Although all believers were spiritual equals, white men remained at the top of a rigid church hierarchy. Drawing on church books, associational records, diaries, letters, sermon notes, ministerial accounts, and early histories from the mid-Atlantic and the Chesapeake as well as New England, this innovative study of early American religion asserts that the Baptist religion was predicated simultaneously on a radical spiritual ethos and a conservative social outlook.
Marital Discord in Pennsylvania, 1730-1830
"In Breaking The Bonds, Merril Smith establishes the ambitious goal of determining 'what kind of problems arose in troubled marriages' and of analyzing 'how men and women coped with marital discord.' . . . To accomplish this, Smith studied hundreds of divorce petitions, other legal documents, newspapers, almshouse dockets, and prescriptive literature. She concludes that, as in the present day, married couples fought and parted over sex, money, and abuse."
"A richly textured study. . . With an eye to cross-class and cross-race representation, Smith utilizes diverse sources, including memoirs and diaries, correspondence, probate records, newspaper advertisements, depositions and petitions for divorce, and various moral reform and social regulatory organization records. . . . A brave attempt to write a description of 'the development of the Puritan concept of spirtiual growth.' . . . Gracefully written. . . provides specific new insights into a too-neglected area of early republican domestic politics."
William and Mary Quarterly
The late eighteenth century marked a period of changing expectations about marriage: companionship came to coexist as a norm alongside older patriarchal standards, men and women began to see their roles in more disparate ways, expectations about the satisfaction of marriage grew, and gender distinctions between husbands and wives became more complicated. Marital strife was an inevitable outcome of these changing expectations. The difficulties that rose, including abuse, a lack of sexual communication, and domestic violence (frequently brought on by alcholism) differ little from those with which couples struggle today.
Breaking The Bonds is an imaginative and original account that brings to light a strongly communicative world in which neighbors knew of, dinscussed, and even came to the aid of those locked in unhappy marriages.
British-Native American Relations in the Colonial Southeast
The arrival of English settlers in the American Southeast in 1670 brought the British and the Native Americans into contact both with foreign peoples and with unfamiliar gender systems. In a region in which the balance of power between multiple players remained uncertain for many decades, British and Native leaders turned to concepts of gender and family to create new diplomatic norms to govern interactions as they sought to construct and maintain working relationships. In Brothers Born of One Mother, Michelle LeMaster addresses the question of how differing cultural attitudes toward gender influenced Anglo-Indian relations in the colonial Southeast.
As one of the most fundamental aspects of culture, gender had significant implications for military and diplomatic relations. Understood differently by each side, notions of kinship and proper masculine and feminine behavior wielded during negotiations had the power to either strengthen or disrupt alliances. The collision of different cultural expectations of masculine behavior and men's relationships to and responsibilities for women and children became significant areas of discussion and contention. Native American and British leaders frequently discussed issues of manhood (especially in the context of warfare), the treatment of women and children, and intermarriage. Women themselves could either enhance or upset relations through their active participation in diplomacy, war, and trade.
Leaders invoked gendered metaphors and fictive kinship relations in their discussions, and by evaluating their rhetoric, Brothers Born of One Mother investigates the intercultural conversations about gender that shaped Anglo-Indian diplomacy. LeMaster's study contributes importantly to historians’ understanding of the role of cultural differences in intergroup contact and investigates how gender became part of the ideology of European conquest in North America, providing a unique window into the process of colonization in America.
Town and Society in the Eighteenth-Century British Atlantic World
In the colonial era, Charleston, South Carolina, was the largest city in the American South. From 1700 to 1775 its growth rate was exceeded in the New World only by that of Philadelphia. The first comprehensive study of this crucial colonial center, Building Charleston charts the rise of one of early America's great cities, revealing its importance to the evolution of both South Carolina and the British Atlantic world during the eighteenth century.
Cherokees, Colonists, and Slaves in the American Southeast, 1756-1763
In this engaging history, Daniel J. Tortora explores how the Anglo-Cherokee War reshaped the political and cultural landscape of the colonial South. Tortora chronicles the series of clashes that erupted from 1758 to 1761 between Cherokees, settlers, and British troops. The conflict, no insignificant sideshow to the French and Indian War, eventually led to the regeneration of a British-Cherokee alliance. Tortora reveals how the war destabilized the South Carolina colony and threatened the white coastal elite, arguing that the political and military success of the Cherokees led colonists to a greater fear of slave resistance and revolt and ultimately nurtured South Carolinians' rising interest in the movement for independence.
Drawing on newspaper accounts, military and diplomatic correspondence, and the speeches of Cherokee people, among other sources, this work reexamines the experiences of Cherokees, whites, and African Americans in the mid-eighteenth century. Centering his analysis on Native American history, Tortora reconsiders the rise of revolutionary sentiments in the South while also detailing the Anglo-Cherokee War from the Cherokee perspective.
Trials from the New Haven Colony, 1639–1663
In the middle of the seventeenth century, judges in the short-lived New Haven Colony presided over a remarkable series of trials ranging from murder and bestiality, to drunken sailors, frisky couples, faulty shoes, and shipwrecks. The cases were reported in an unusually vivid manner, allowing readers to witness the twists and turns of fortune as the participants battled with life and liberty at stake. When the records were eventually published in the 1850s, they were both difficult to read and heavily edited to delete sexual matters. Rendered here in modernized English and with insightful commentary by eminent Judge Jon C. Blue, the New Haven trials allow readers to immerse themselves in the exciting legal battles of America’s earliest days.
The Case of the Piglet’s Paternity assembles thirty-three of the most significant and intriguing trials of the period. As a book that examines a distinctive judicial system from a modern legal perspective, it is sure to be of interest to readers in law and legal history. For less litigious readers, Blue offers a worm’s eye view of the full spectrum of early colonial society—political leaders and religious dissidents, farmhands and apprentices, women and children.
Drawing on a mix of historical and anthropological methods, Beasley covers such topics as church architecture, pew seating customs, marriage, baptism, communion, and funerals. Colonists created an environment in sacred time and space that framed their rituals for maximum social impact, and they asserted privilege and power by privatizing some rituals and by meting out access to rituals to people of color. Throughout, Beasley is sensitive to how this culture of worship changed as each colony reacted to its own political, environmental, and demographic circumstances across time. Local factors influencing who partook in Christian rituals and how, when, and where these rituals took place could include the structure of the Anglican Church, which tended to be less hierarchical and centralized than at home in England; the level of tensions between Anglicans and Protestants; the persistence of African religious beliefs; and colonists' attitudes toward free persons of color and elite slaves.
This book enriches an existing historiography that neglects the cultural power of liturgical Christianity in the early South and the British Caribbean and offers a new account of the translation of early modern English Christianity to early America.
Manhood and the Creation of the United States
In 1755 Benjamin Franklin observed "a man without a wife is but half a man" and since then historians have taken Franklin at his word. In Citizen Bachelors, John Gilbert McCurdy demonstrates that Franklin's comment was only one side of a much larger conversation. Early Americans vigorously debated the status of unmarried men and this debate was instrumental in the creation of American citizenship.
In a sweeping examination of the bachelor in early America, McCurdy fleshes out a largely unexamined aspect of the history of gender. Single men were instrumental to the settlement of the United States and for most of the seventeenth century their presence was not particularly problematic. However, as the colonies matured, Americans began to worry about those who stood outside the family. Lawmakers began to limit the freedoms of single men with laws requiring bachelors to pay higher taxes and face harsher penalties for crimes than married men, while moralists began to decry the sexual immorality of unmarried men. But many resisted these new tactics, including single men who reveled in their hedonistic reputations by delighting in sexual horseplay without marital consequences.
At the time of the Revolution, these conflicting views were confronted head-on. As the incipient American state needed men to stand at the forefront of the fight for independence, the bachelor came to be seen as possessing just the sort of political, social, and economic agency associated with citizenship in a democratic society. When the war was won, these men demanded an end to their unequal treatment, sometimes grudgingly, and the citizen bachelor was welcomed into American society.
Drawing on sources as varied as laws, diaries, political manifestos, and newspapers, McCurdy shows that in the course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the bachelor was a simultaneously suspicious and desirable figure: suspicious because he was not tethered to family and household obligations yet desirable because he was free to study, devote himself to political office, and fight and die in battle. He suggests that this dichotomy remains with us to this day and thus it is in early America that we find the origins of the modern-day identity of the bachelor as a symbol of masculine independence. McCurdy also observes that by extending citizenship to bachelors, the founders affirmed their commitment to individual freedom, a commitment that has subsequently come to define the very essence of American citizenship.
A Study of German-American Broadsides and Their Meaning for Germans in North America, 1730–1830
In Citizens in a Strange Land, Hermann Wellenreuther examines the broadsides—printed single sheets—produced by the Pennsylvania German community. These broadsides covered topics ranging from Local Controversies and Politics to Devotional Poems and Hymns. Each one is the product of and reaction to a particular historical setting. To understand them fully, Wellenreuther systematically reconstructs Pennsylvania’s print culture, the material conditions of life, the problems German settlers faced, the demands their communities addressed to the individual settler, the complications to be overcome, and the needs to be satisfied. He shows how these broadsides provided advice, projections, and comment on phases of life from the cradle to grave.