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Puritanism and the Transformation of Public Life in New England
In this revelatory account of the people who founded the New England colonies, historian David D. Hall compares the reforms they enacted with those attempted in England during the period of the English Revolution. Bringing with them a deep fear of arbitrary, unlimited authority, these settlers based their churches on the participation of laypeople and insisted on "consent" as a premise of all civil governance. Puritans also transformed civil and criminal law and the workings of courts with the intention of establishing equity. In this political and social history of the five New England colonies, Hall provides a masterful re-evaluation of the earliest moments of New England’s history, revealing the colonists to be the most effective and daring reformers of their day.
An Environmental History of the City and Its Surroundings
Since its settlement in 1630, Boston, its harbor, and outlying regions have witnessed a monumental transformation at the hands of humans and by nature. Remaking Boston chronicles many of the events that altered the physical landscape of Boston, while also offering multidisciplinary perspectives on the environmental history of one of America's oldest and largest metropolitan areas. Situated on an isthmus, and blessed with a natural deepwater harbor and ocean access, Boston became an important early trade hub with Europe and the world. As its population and economy grew, developers extended the city's shoreline into the surrounding tidal mudflats to create more useable land. Further expansion of the city was achieved through the annexation of surrounding communities, and the burgeoning population and economy spread to outlying areas. The interconnection of city and suburb opened the floodgates to increased commerce, services and workforces, while also leaving a wake of roads, rails, bridges, buildings, deforestation, and pollution. Profiling this ever-changing environment, the contributors tackle a variety of topics, including: the glacial formation of the region; physical characteristics and composition of the land and harbor; dredging, sea walling, flattening, and landfill operations in the reshaping of the Shawmut Peninsula; the longstanding controversy over the link between landfills and shoaling in shipping channels; population movements between the city and suburbs and their environmental implications; interdependence of the city and its suburbs; preservation and reclamation of the Charles River; suburban deforestation and later reforestation as byproducts of changing land use; the planned outlay of parks and parkways; and historic climate changes and the human and biological adaptations to them.
For God, King, Country, and for Self
This book tells the story of the Reverend Jacob Bailey, a missionary preacher for the Church of England in the frontier town of Pownalborough (now Dresden), Maine, who refused to renounce allegiance to King George III during the American War of Independence. Relying largely on Bailey’s unpublished journals and voluminous correspondence, James S. Leamon traces Bailey’s evolution from his rustic background through his Harvard education and subsequent career as a teacher, Congregational minister, and missionary preacher for the Church of England. Along the way, Bailey absorbed many of the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, but also the more traditional conviction that family, society, religion, and politics, like creation itself, should be orderly and hierarchal. Such beliefs led Bailey to oppose the Revolution as unnatural, immoral, and doomed to fail. Reverend Bailey’s persistence in praying for the king and his refusal to publicize the Declaration of Independence from his Pownalborough pulpit aroused hostilities that drove him and his family to the safety of Nova Scotia. There, in exile, Bailey devoted himself to assisting fellow refugees while defending himself from others. During this time, he wrote almost obsessively: poems, dramas, novels, histories. Though few were ever completed, and even fewer published, in one way or another most of his writings depicted the trauma he underwent as a loyalist. Leamon’s study of the Reverend Jacob Bailey depicts the complex nature and burdens of one person’s loyalism while revealing much about eighteenth-century American life and culture.
The Hudson Valley in Historic Postcards
From its crystal headwaters at Lake Tear of the Clouds in the Adirondack Mountains to its majestic embrace by the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of New York Bay, the Hudson River is not only one of America's greatest waterways. The river and its valley are among America's greatest treasures-home to unrivaled natural beauty and a rich historic legacy that lives on in the great cities and small towns that line its shores. In this fascinating book, a leading historian takes us on a different kind of journey up the Hudson. George J. Lankevich has chosen 64 postcards-most from the first half of the 20th century-to chronicle the changing landscape of the Hudson Valley. North from the gritty riverfront factories of Yonkers, past the towering bluffs of the Palisades, we travel upstream, stopping to sample the remarkable variety of the river's changing course.Here's a rich portfolio of scenes that convey the extraordinary vitality of Hudson Valley history-from stately mansions at Hyde Park and Pocantico Hills to the small river ports that sent bricks and grain down to New York City. There's West Point, strong on its stone embankment, and, nearby, relaxed scenes of vacationers taking a cruise on one of the historic day boats.Lankevich's concise, colorful narrative of the four-hundred-year legacy of Henry Hudson's discovery flows as smoothly as these snapshot chronicles of a past that still resonates today. River of Dreams is an essential guide to the spirit of a great place-a must for visitors and locals alike.Praise for George J. LankevichGives readers a walking tour of Manhattan, from Battery Park to the top of the island via a terrific set of vintage and contemporary postcards . . . the result is an unusual perspective on a much-vaunted metropolis.-Publishers Weekly (on Postcards from Manhattan)Here, as in New York itself, may be found everything and everyone.-The New York Times Book Review (on New York: A Short History)Lankevich has done the near-impossible and packed almost four centuries of New York City into one slim history . . . a deft survey.-New York History (on New York: A Short History)
The Maritime History of Portland, Maine, and Its Irish Longshoremen
For decades, Portland, Maine, was the closest ice-free port to Europe. As such, it was key to the transport of Canadian wheat across the Atlantic, losing its prominence only after WWII, as containerization came to dominate all shipping and Portland shifted its focus to tourism.
Michael Connolly offers an in-depth study of the on-shore labor force that made the port function from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. He shows how Irish immigrants replaced and supplanted the existing West Indian workers and established benevolent societies and unions that were closed to blacks. Using this fascinating city and these hard-working longshoremen as a case study, he sheds light on a larger tale of ethnicity, class, regionalism, and globalization.
An Environmental History of New England
Bounded by the St. Lawrence Valley to the north, Lake Champlain to the west, and the Gulf of Maine to the east, New England may be the most cohesive region in the United States, with a long and richly recorded history. In this book, Richard W. Judd explores the mix of ecological process and human activity that shaped that history over the past 12,000 years. He traces a succession of cultures through New England’s changing postglacial environment down to the 1600s, when the arrival of Europeans interrupted this coevolution of nature and culture. A long period of tension and warfare, inflected by a variety of environmental problems, opened the way for frontier expansion. This in turn culminated in a unique landscape of forest, farm, and village that has become the embodiment of what Judd calls “second nature”— culturally modified landscapes that have superseded a more pristine “first nature.” In the early 1800s changes in farm production and industrial process transformed central New England, while burgeoning markets at the geographical margins brought rapid expansion in fishing and logging activities. Although industrialization and urbanization severed connections to the natural world, the dominant cultural expression of the age, Romanticism, provided new ways of appreciating nature in the White Mountains and Maine woods. Spurred by these Romantic images and by a long tradition of local resource management, New England gained an early start in rural and urban conservation. In the 1970s environmentalists, inspired by a widespread appreciation for regional second-nature landscapes, moved quickly from battling pollution and preserving wild lands to sheltering farms, villages, and woodlands from intrusive development. These campaigns, uniquely suited to the region’s land-use history, ecology, and culture, were a fitting capstone to the environmental history of New England.
A Cultural History of Illness, Death, and Loss in New England, 1840-1916
How does the experience of sickness, death, and loss change over time? We know that the incidence and virulence of particular diseases have varied from one period to another, as has their medical treatment. But what was it like for the individuals who suffered and died from those illnesses, for the health practitioners and institutions that attended to them, and for the families who buried and mourned them? In Shadows in the Valley, Alan Swedlund addresses these questions by closely examining the history of mortality in several small communities in western Massachusetts from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century—from just before the acceptance of the germ theory of disease through the early days of public health reform in the United States. This was a time when most Americans lived in rural areas or small towns rather than large cities. It was also a time when a wide range of healing practices was available to the American public, and when the modern form of Western medicine was striving for dominance and authority. As Swedlund shows, this juncture of competing practices and ideologies provides a rich opportunity for exploring the rise of modern medicine and its impact on the everyday lives of ordinary Americans. To indicate how individuals in different stages of their lives were exposed to varying assaults on their health, the book is structured in a way that superimposes what the author calls “life-course time” onto chronological time. Thus the early chapters look at issues of infancy and childhood in the 1840s and 1850s and the last chapters at the problems of old age after 1900. The reader becomes familiar with specific individuals and families as they cope with the recurrent loss of children, struggle to understand the causes of new contagions, and seek to find meaning in untimely death. By using a broad time frame and a narrow geographical lens, Swedlund is able to engage with both the particularities and generalities of evolving medical knowledge and changing practice, and to highlight the differences in personal as well as collective responses to illness and loss.
Capital Punishment in Connecticut
The first case study of its kind, this book addresses a broad range of questions about the rationale for and application of judicial execution in Connecticut since the seventeenth century. In addition to identifying the 158 people who have been put to death for crimes during the state's history, Lawrence Goodheart analyzes their social status in terms of sex, race, class, religion, and ethnicity. He looks at the circumstances of the crimes, the weapons that were used, and the victims. He reconstructs the history of Connecticut's capital laws, its changing rituals of execution, and the growing debate over the legitimacy of the death penalty itself. Although the focus is on the criminal justice system, the ethical values of New England culture form the larger context. Goodheart shows how a steady diminution in types of capital crimes, including witchcraft and sexual crimes, culminated in an emphasis on proportionate punishment during the Enlightenment and eventually led to a preference for imprisonment for all capital crimes except first-degree murder. Goodheart concludes by considering why Connecticut, despite its many statutory restrictions on capital punishment and lengthy appeals process, has been the only state in New England to have executed anyone since 1960.
Owen Chase and the Essex
The first documented sinking of a ship by a whale and a harrowing account by the ship's first mate of the survivors' three months adrift in small boats. A thrilling narrative that inspired Herman Melville's masterpiece Moby Dick.