Today you can check out a new issue of Common-place.org, an early American online journal AAS co-sponsors. If you want to understand today’s economic woes, you could do a lot worse than explore hard times in early America. That’s the message in “Hard Times,” the latest edition of Common-place.org, guest edited by historian Michael Zakim. Point your browser to http://www.common-place.org to meet William Duer, the Bernard Madoff of the 1790s, to learn how one reformed drunkard manipulated the antebellum market for suffering, and to discover the surprising consequences of nineteenth-century bank failures.
Tomorrow (April 14) at 7:30 pm AAS will host “Uncivil Discourse: A Conversation with Jill Lepore and Jim Leach.” You can read all about it in our post from last week by clicking here. Or you can read an article about the event in today’s Worcester Telegram & Gazette by clicking here.
Then on Thursday (April 15), also at 7:30 and also at AAS, Pulitzer-prize-winning historian Gordon Wood will discuss his latest book Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford University Press, 2009). This book covers the beginning of the national government to the end of the War of 1812, a time marked by tumultuous change in all aspects of American life. The founders of the nation had high hopes for the future of the nation but few of their dreams worked quite as they expected. They hated political parties but parties nonetheless emerged along with a vibrant and raucous popular democracy dominated by the “middling sorts” composed of merchants, artisans, and entrepreneurs with a fierce belief in equality. While many of the founders hoped to eventually abolish slavery by 1815 the institution was stronger than ever and starting to expand westward. These are just a few of the themes that Professor Wood explores as he describes this pivotal era when America took its first unsteady steps as a new and rapidly expanding nation.
But why stop there? Next Thursday (April 22) at 7:30 you can attend Ezra Greenspan’s rescheduled lecture on “Researching and Writing African American Biography: The Life of William Wells Brown.” Click here for an earlier blog post on that topic.
For further information on any of these public programs, including directions to AAS, please click here.
In order to prepare for and recover from this busy week, please note the following changes in the library hours:
1) The library will close at 5pm tomorrow, April 14, to prepare for the civil conversation.
2) We will also be closed on Monday, April 19, for the uniquely Massachusetts holiday of Patriots’ Day.