See you on Monday!
See you on Monday!
Scott Heerman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Miami. This interview is based on his new book, The Alchemy of Slavery: Human Bondage and Emancipation in the Illinois Country, 1730-1865 ( University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).
JF: What led you to write The Alchemy of Slavery?
SH: I began with a question: how do you make a free society? I’m not the first to ask that question, but by focusing on Illinois before the Civil War I found a time and place where we didn’t have a good answer. I knew that slavery existed in Illinois when the French claimed it in the eighteenth century, and that eventually it became a “free state.” Yet I struggled to understand this change, as most of the forces that drove abolition in the north–a powerful free black community, newspapers and pamphlets, religious communities–seemed to be missing. Instead I found that each attempt to abolish slavery in the region, including the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, the first and second state constitutions, state supreme court rulings–failed to accomplish that task. In each instance, what I thought should have abolished slavery led only to a new variation on coerced labor taking root. In light of this I found myself forced to rethink many of the organizing concepts of the scholarship: free states and slave states, radical abolitionists and proslavery fire eaters, gradual and immediate emancipation. That this one very important place could confound so much of the conventional story led me to write The Alchemy of Slavery.
JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of The Alchemy of Slavery?
SH: I argue that we need to set aside the idea that slavery was an institution, and instead we need to approach slavery as an adaptable set of power relationships. Slavery was not a status that people held; masters enslaved people using a wide range of ever-changing coercive practices, which for decades allowed them to reinvent slavery in the face of abolition laws.
JF: Why do we need to read The Alchemy of Slavery?
SH: This book shows that slavery and freedom are both historical processes. It is easy to think of slavery as a fixed status, but this book encourages us to think of it as an every changing power relationship. As a consequence, slavery could look very different over time: Illinois Indians raided and exchanged their captives, Europeans held African-descended people in lifelong chattel conditions, U.S. settlers in Illinois held African Americans as lifelong, uncompensated, servants, and masters kidnapped free people, turning them into slaves. People in each of these conditions were slaves, and yet their lives looked very different. When we recognize just how adaptable the power to enslave people is we can appreciate many of the hallmarks of American history differently.
JF: When and why did you decide to become an American historian?
SH: As an undergraduate student, a professor asked me a question that I still think about most days: how do the powerful stay in power? In time, I recognized that various hierarchies existed, both now and in the past, and some of them are seen as legitimate and others of them are seen as unjust. I could not stop wondering: how and why does society sort these various forms of inequality? Most interesting of all: how do kinds of inequality move from just to unjust, from being seen as normative to being seen as an affront to the values of society? It is that question of how the powerful adapt, or don’t, to changing norms in order to stay in power that motivated me to become a historian.
JF: What is your next project?
SH: I am at work on a book project that studies the international kidnapping of freed men and women. I look at cases when enslavers carried freed people, for instance, from the U.S. North to the Caribbean, from the British Caribbean to Havana, and from Haiti to the U.S. South. It argues that there was a connection between abolition and the rise of more powerful nation states during the early nineteenth century. It is commonplace to argue that Civil War emancipation demanded new forms of state power—chiefly birthright citizenship and Civil Rights legislation that offered a ringing endorsement of black freedom and equality before the law. Yet those developments are almost always cast as a consequence of the wartime experience and crucible of radical reconstruction. Pushing against this trend, my work explores how kidnapping cases inspired new kinds of state action, and pushed ahead new types of governance. As Prime Ministers and Cabinet Secretaries, antislavery activists, and Afro-descended people tangled over these cases they confronted profound questions about the laws of nations. Theories and conceptions of subjecthood and citizenship were at the core of these cases. As various different governments confronted these cases they worked through what it meant to be part of a sovereign nation, and what rights and protections extended to its people.
JF: Thanks, Scott!
Washington Post: “Michael heads toward the Carolinas after smashing Florida”
Wall Street Journal:“Wall Street Selloff Spreads to Asia, Europe”
Harrisburg-Patriot News: “Harrisburg landmark teeters on brink of ruin, yet restoration hope persists”
Actually, it was more like “my forty-five minutes on Capitol Hill.”
I thought the talk went well. If there were pro-Trumpers or court evangelicals in the room, they did not speak during the Q&A. I met several evangelical leaders who voted for Trump, but most of them said they chose him because they did not want to vote for Hillary Clinton.
After the talk, I chatted in the hallway of the Dirksen Senate Building with about eight or ten attendees. Almost all of them brought-up abortion and the Supreme Court. Frankly, I was surprised how many of these pro-life evangelical leaders agreed with my view that the overturning of Roe v. Wade was not the most effective way of reducing abortions in the United States.
Several folks on Twitter said that they were surprised the NAE invited someone like me to speak to their leadership. Those who wrote these tweets do not understand the difference between the Christian Right-inspired conservative evangelicals loyal to Trump and the agenda of the NAE. Actually, the NAE seems to be striking just the right tone in this so-called “age of Trump.” For example, read their statement “For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility.”
I know a lot of people were praying for me or sending good wishes as I addressed the group this morning. They were much appreciated. Thank you!
I’ll be Southern Methodist University in Dallas tomorrow night. Let’s hope my flights don’t get canceled due to Hurricane Michael.
Jeffress is more concerned with his theocratic agenda–an approach to American culture driven by fear, the raw pursuit of power, and a nostalgic longing for an age that is long gone or may never have existed in the first place–than he is the good of the nation. He is a cancer spreading over our democracy.
Why else would he describe the Kavanaugh nomination as an example of “good” triumphing over “evil?” In Jeffress’s world view, “evil” is the product of Satan and his minions. The Dallas pastor has no interest in finding common ground. He only wants to demonize his opponents and divide the country. This is what culture warriors do. They claim to be patriots, but they are not.
Here are some highlights from Falwell Jr.’s interview with the British newspaper:
Read the entire piece here.
Here is Elizabeth Dias’s reporting at The New York Times:
After church on a recent Sunday, Emily Mooney smiled as she told her girlfriends about her public act of rebellion. She had slapped a “Beto for Senate’’ sticker on her S.U.V. and driven it to her family’s evangelical church.
But then, across the parking lot, deep in conservative, Bible-belt Texas, she spotted a sign of support: the same exact sticker endorsing Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat who is challenging Senator Ted Cruz.
“I was like, who is it?” she exclaimed. “Who in this church is doing this?”
Listening to Ms. Mooney’s story, the four other evangelical moms standing around a kitchen island began to buzz with excitement. All of them go to similarly conservative churches in Dallas. All are longtime Republican voters, solely because they oppose abortion rights. Only one broke ranks to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. But this November, they have all decided to vote for Mr. O’Rourke, the Democratic upstart who is on the front line of trying to upend politics in deep-red Texas.
Check out Gene Zubovich’s piece at Aeon titled “Evangelicals bring the votes, Catholics bring the brains.” I think he is largely correct.
When evangelicals mobilised politically in the 1970s and declared a ‘culture war’ against the menace of secularism, they put aside their longstanding anti-Catholicism and reached out to Catholic conservatives. Catholics proved to be perfect partners. Unlike evangelicals, conservative Catholics could draw on research universities, law schools, medical schools, business schools and other intellectual-producing institutions in the fight against secularism. Evangelicals’ suspicion of higher education since at least the days of the 1925 Scopes trial over teaching evolution meant that they had built few institutions of higher learning. Their bible colleges and seminaries were meant to create believers and converts, not intellectuals.
One important exception was an effort by the evangelical theologian Carl Henry to build a research university in the 1950s to rival Harvard and Yale (not to mention Georgetown and Notre Dame). But Henry’s effort to raise $300 million quickly fell apart. Donors worried that the university would distract from proselytising, which they held to be far more important. They also clashed over student-conduct rules, such as whether alcohol and movies would be allowed at the new university. Evangelicals had no centralised authority to settle these disputes and, in any case, rigorous intellectual enquiry was not a priority for a tradition that argues that the basic insights of Christianity are matters of the heart more than the mind. Evangelical law schools and PhD programmes remain extremely rare in the US. Ironically, a tradition so devoted to spreading literacy saw too much learning as a potential danger.
So, Catholics contributed a disproportionate share of intellectuals and professionals for the religious Right, while evangelicals provided the bodies and the votes. Unlike the Jewish intellectuals clustered around neoconservative publications, Catholic conservatives were more reliable on cultural issues such as abortion. It is no small irony that Notre Dame has become the most important centre for the historical study of evangelicalism. In 1994, the influential historian, and evangelical, Mark Noll called the lack of rigorous intellectual activity among evangelicals a ‘scandal’. Ten years on, he celebrated ‘the increasing engagement between evangelicals and Roman Catholics’ for the ‘improved evangelical use of the mind.’
How long the Catholic-evangelical alliance in US politics will continue is hard to say, but it is still going strong. One only needs to look at the nomination of the Catholic Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Now confirmed, he replaces Anthony Kennedy, another Catholic, and keeps a five-seat conservative majority on the nine-person court (including Gorsuch, who grew up Catholic but now attends an Episcopalian church with his family). Three of the four finalists for Kennedy’s seat were Catholic.
In 1973, a group of evangelical leaders gathered at the YMCA on Wabash Avenue in Chicago to affirm the Christian call to racial justice, care for the poor, peace, and equality for women. The result of this meeting was The Chicago Declaration of Evangelical Social Concern. The signers included Samuel Escobar, Frank Gaebelein, Vernon Grounds, Nancy Hardesty, Carl F.H. Henry, Paul B. Henry, Rufus Jones, C.T. McIntire, David Moberg, Richard Mouw, William Pannell, John Perkins, Richard Pierard, Bernard Ramm, Ronadl Sider, Sharon Gallagher, Lewis Smedes, Jim Wallis, and John Howard Yoder.
Historian David Swartz begins his excellent book Moral Minority: The Evangelical Left in an Age of Conservatism with a discussion of this meeting. I encourage you to read his extensive coverage of this important moment in the history of progressive evangelicalism. I also highly recommend Brantley Gasaway’s Progressive Evangelicals and the Pursuit of Social Justice.
Forty-five years after this Chicago YMCA meeting, progressive evangelicals have reaffirmed the Declaration. Here is a taste of “The Chicago Invitation: Diverse Evangelicals Continue the Journey”:
As diverse evangelicals, our faith moves us to confess and lament that we have often fallen short of the biblical values and commitments proclaimed in the gospel and affirmed in the 1973 Declaration. In addition to the 1973 Declaration, many diverse evangelicals, including women, African-American, Latino, Asian Pacific Islander, and Indigenous leaders, have put out strong statements that have often been ignored. Millions of people, especially younger believers, have left the faith during a time in which evangelicalism has become increasingly partisan and politicized. People on both sides of the political aisle have demonized those who disagree with us and failed to love both our neighbors and our “enemies,” as Jesus instructs us to do. We should not be captive to any political party, because our allegiance belongs to Christ. Like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we believe the church is “called to be the conscience of the state, not the master or the servant of the state.”
Affirming the 1973 Declaration, as well as other historic statements from diverse evangelicals, we recommit to an evangelical faith that follows Jesus’ example of living and sharing a gospel that always proclaims good news to the poor and freedom for the oppressed. (Luke 4: 18-19)
We recommit to a biblical justice that demonstrates the reign of God as we strive for abundant life for all God’s children, which must include combating economic inequality and exploitation.
We recommit to more faithfully and courageously follow Jesus, who affirmed the sacredness and dignity of all human life.
Building on the 1973 Declaration as well as other historic statements from diverse evangelicals, we also commit to love and protect all people—including life at every stage, people of color, women, Indigenous people, immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ people, people who are living with disabilities or mental health issues, poor and impoverished people, and each one who is marginalized, hungry, thirsty, naked, a stranger, sick, or imprisoned. (Matthew 25:31-46)
We commit to care for and protect the earth as God’s creation.
We commit to resisting all manifestations of racism, white nationalism, and any forms of bigotry—all of which are sins against God.
We commit to resisting patriarchy, toxic masculinity, and any form of sexism and to always affirm the dignity, voices, and leadership of women.
We commit to defend the dignity and rights of all people, particularly as we celebrate and embrace the increasing racial and ethnic diversity in our nation and churches.
Signers include Ruth Bentley (1973 signer), Tony Campolo, Sharon Gallagher (1973 signer), Shane Claiborne, Ruth Padilla-DeBorst, Wesley Granberg-Michaelson (1973 signer), Lisa Sharon Harper, Joel Hunter, David Moberg (1973 signer), William Pannell (1973 signer), Richard Pierard (1973 signer), Ronald Sider (1973 signer), Andrea Smith, Jim Wallis (1973 signer), Barbara Williams-Skinner, and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.
I have a hard time keeping track of all these religious “declarations,” but I took note of this one because of its connection to the historic 1973 meeting.
New York Times: “Strengthening to Category 4, Hurricane Michael Aims at Florida”
Wall Street Journal: “‘Extremely Dangerous’ Hurricane Michael Strengthens to Category 4”
Harrisburg-Patriot News: “Stronger Hurricane Michael could be one of Florida panhandle’s worst, then move north”
But The Trump Prophecy is more than a feel-good, low-budget movie. It’s the purest distillation of pro-Trump Christian nationalism: the insidious doctrine that implicitly links American patriotism and American exceptionalism with (white) evangelical Christianity.
Everything about The Trump Prophecy— from its subject matter, to the way it’s shot, to the little details scattered through the movie’s (often interminable) scenes of domestic life — is designed not just to legitimize Donald Trump as a evangelical-approved president but to promulgate an even more wide-ranging — and dangerous — idea.
The Trump Prophecy doesn’t just want you to believe that God approves of Donald Trump. It wants you to believe that submission to (conservative) political authority and submission to God are one and the same. In the film’s theology, resisting the authority of a sitting president — or, at least, this sitting president — is conflated with resisting God himself.
David Barton, the Christian Right GOP activist who uses the past to promote his political agenda, also appears in the movie. Here is Burton again:
An inexplicable 30-odd minute “interview” segment at the end of the film features interviews with controversial evangelical historian David Barton (whose books champion the idea that America was founded as a Christian nation), Wallnau, former US Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and other prominent evangelical figures.
Read the rest of the review here.
On Wednesday morning, October 10, I will be on Capitol Hill (Dirksen Senate building) to speak to about 100 evangelical leaders gathered for the National Association of Evangelicals’ annual “Washington Briefing.”
The NAE leadership has asked me to talk about Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump. The event is not open to the public, but I can announce that I will be sharing the day with Rep. Carlos Curbelo, Mark Green, Nathan Gonzalez, Shirley Hoogstra, Ali Noorani, Sen. James Lankford, Brian Walsh, Barbara Williams-Skinner, Sen. Marco Rubio, Stephanie Summers, and Os Guinness.
Yes, you read the headline correctly.
Paige Patterson, who was ousted at Southwestern Theological Seminary for dismissing women’s concerns about domestic abuse and rape (see our coverage here), is teaching an ethics course at Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina.
But it gets better. Patterson is co-teaching the class with Southern Evangelical Seminary president and court evangelical Richard Land. In 2013, Land retired early from his post at the Southern Baptist Church’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission because he made racially insensitive remarks in the context of the death of Trayvon Martin. (Russell Moore replaced him in the post).
Here is Adelle Banks’s piece at Religion News Service:
Patterson plans to co-teach a mid-October weeklong class on “Christian Ethics: The Bible and Moral Issues” with Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, a school that is not affiliated with the SBC.
“Dr. Patterson’s one of the most significant figures in evangelicalism in the last 20 years, at least, of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century,” Land told Religion News Service, “and we believe that there are a lot of people who would like to hear from him about living the Christian life in America. I believe he’s an asset to evangelicalism and we’re looking forward to it.”
Read the entire piece here.
Some of you may remember that Donald Trump rudely interrupted the 2016 meeting of the Conference and Faith. He staged a rally on the last day of the conference and he never apologized for it! 🙂 Get up to speed here and here and here.
After the 2016 Trump rally at Regent University came to an end, I took this selfie with public historian Susan Fletcher and historian Jay Green:
Two years later, at the 2018 meeting of the Conference on Faith and History, we took a reunion photo:
The 2018 Biennial Meeting of the Conference on Faith and History is over. As program chair, I spent most of the weekend pinch-hitting for folks who were unable to come and making sure our plenary speakers were comfortable. This is what program chairs do. If I passed you in the hallway at the Prince Conference Center at Calvin College and did not stop to chat please forgive me. I hope we can catch-up soon.
I wanted to blog a lot more than I did this weekend. I got off to a good start on Thursday night, but then fell silent. If you want to learn all the cool things that happened this weekend check out the conference Twitter feed: #cfh2018. I am sure Chris Gehrz will eventually have a wrap-up post at The Pietist Schoolman.
Here are some of my highlights:
On Friday morning I chaired Session 12: “Christian Historiography: Kuyper, Ellul and O’Donovan.” As I listened to Richard Riss’s excellent paper on Jacques Ellul, I realized that I should have read more of this French philosopher as I prepared to write Believe Me.
On Friday afternoon, I spent some time with Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn of Syracuse University. Elisabeth’s plenary address, “The Art of Living, Ancient and Modern,” challenged us to consider the third-century Neoplatonist philosopher Plotinus as a way of countering the therapeutic culture of modern life. Lasch-Quinn pushed us to move beyond the pursuit of the “good life” and consider what it might mean to live a “beautiful life.”
Following Lasch -Quinn’s lecture and before the evening banquet, I got to spend time with my favorite Calvin College history major
Beth Allison Barr of Baylor University is the new president of the Conference on Faith and History and the organization’s second female president. Her presidential plenary drew heavily on medieval sermons on the roles of women in the Church as a way of thinking about the place of women in the today’s church and the Conference on Faith and History. She encouraged the conference to respect the past and move toward the future by listening to the voices of the record number of women in attendance.
On Friday evening, I got together with some old friends at a Grand Rapids funeral home that has been converted into a bar and grill. As you see from the photo below, much of the stained glass from the funeral home chapel was preserved.
Saturday began with a panel on Messiah College’s Civil Rights bus tour. It was a great session and it made me proud to be part of Messiah’s work in the area of racial reconciliation. It was also a privilege to chair a session with three of my Messiah colleagues. Next time I won’t put them at 8:00am. (Sorry guys!)
After the Civil Rights session I had coffee with our latest sponsor of The Way of Improvement Leads Home Podcast—Bob Beatty of the Lyndhurst Group. If you are a community leader, a historical site administrator, or a museum professional, the Lyndhurst Group can help you with your public history outreach. Bob is a great guy with lot’s of energy, enthusiasm, expertise, and experience. We are so happy that he is sponsoring the podcast.
After the CFH board meeting, I dropped in on Robert Orsi‘s plenary address, “The Study of Religion on the Other Side of Disgust.” Orsi argued that scholars of religion must learn to pay attention to the relationship between religion and “horrors” such as pogroms, crusades, slavery, racism, misogny, and other “brutalities of everyday life.” He suggested that “there may come a time when the human being who is also a scholar of religion reaches a limit of disgust.” Beyond this limit, Orsi argued, “distinctions, qualifications, countervailing evidence, parsings, and other theoretical or hermeneutical subtleties fail.” Orsi spent most of his time reflecting on “disgust” as a category of analysis in the context of the Catholic sexual abuse scandals. It was a tough session to sit through, but many felt it was necessary.
Late Saturday afternoon I chaired a session that may have been one of the best CFH panels I have ever attended. Session 53, titled “Theology and Spirituality in the Doing of History,” included three magnificent papers on the place of love and Christian spirituality in the doing of history. Wendy Wong Schirmer, a newcomer to the CFH, argued that Pope Benedict XVI’s encyclicals on love can help us think Christianly about the historian’s craft. Brad Pardue of College of the Ozarks talked about how he integrates Christian practices into his history courses. Mark Sandle of The King’s University (Alberta) delivered a powerful paper on loving the dead in the context of the archives. I hope all three of these papers will be published in Fides et Historia, the journal of the Conference on Faith and History.
It is not easy putting a 56-session conference together, but I couldn’t have done it without the help of Joel Carpenter, Ellen Hekman, Jay Green, Eric Miller, Devon Hearn, and Robin Schwarzmann. Thank you. I am now going to take a nap.
New York Times: “After a Bitter Fight, Justice Kavanaugh to Take the Bench”
Wall Street Journal: “Kavanaugh’s Seating Fulfills a Long-Held Dream for the GOP”
Harrisburg-Patriot News: “Pennsylvania counties with the lowest cost of living”
There is little I disagree with in David Brooks’s analysis of Kavanaugh hearings. Here is a taste:
These hearings were also a devastating blow to intellectual humility. At the heart of this case is a mystery: What happened at that party 36 years ago? There is no corroborating evidence either way. So the crucial questions are: How do we sit with this uncertainty? How do we weigh the two contradictory testimonies? How do we measure these testimonies when all of cognitive science tells us that human beings are really bad at spotting falsehood? Should a person’s adult life be defined by something he did in high school?
Commentators and others may have acknowledged uncertainty on these questions for about 2.5 seconds, but then they took sides. If they couldn’t take sides based on the original evidence, they found new reasons to confirm their previous positions. Kavanaugh is too angry and dishonest. He drank beer and threw ice while in college. With tribal warfare all around, uncertainty is the one state you are not permitted to be in.
Read the rest here.
Brooks’s point about intellectual humility is an interesting one, especially for historians. How do we treat out sources? How do we use those sources to find out “what happened?” What can and can’t we know? Any historian knows that this is a difficult task and one in which knee-jerk reactions and political rhetoric are not always helpful in getting at the truth.
A few things online that caught my attention this week:
Manisha Sinha on American slavery
Heather Richardson on a fundamental belief of the GOP
Kavanaugh and Ivy League resentment
Garrett Epps’s “requiem” for the Supreme Court
How we might know Kavanaugh did not tell the truth
Atheists talking like believers
Jonathan Zimmerman on character and Supreme Court nominations
Larry Norman and Christian rock
Alan Jacobs on being Christian in the age of Trump
Drew Gilpin Faust on Pauli Murray’s memoir
The rise of liberation theology
Jim Gigantino is Associate Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. This interview is based on his new book William Livingston’s American Revolution (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018).
JF: What led you to write William Livingston’s American Revolution?
JG: In my first book, The Ragged Road to Abolition, I stumbled on William Livingston, specifically his interactions as a quasi-abolitionist and his wartime leadership in New Jersey in its relation to sustaining slavery. What stunned me about him was that he had a vast collection of papers, was a member of the Continental Congress, Constitutional Convention, and a governor in a state central to the Revolution for fifteen years and no one had ever written a book about his relationship with the country’s founding since the 1830s. When I was thinking about a second project, Livingston kept coming into my head so I figured I should listen to him!
JF: In 2 sentences, what is the argument of William Livingston’s American Revolution?
JG: William Livingston’s American Revolution explores how New Jerseyans experienced the American Revolution and managed a state government on the war’s front lines. It illustrates the operations of revolutionary era governments and those who guided the day-to-day operations, administrators, like Livingston, who served as the principal conduits between the local wartime situation and the national demands placed on the states.
JF: Why do we need to read William Livingston’s American Revolution?
JG: If you want to see how the war was prosecuted at the ground level, then this book is for you. As a wartime bureaucrat, Livingston played a pivotal role in a pivotal place, prosecuting the war on a daily basis for eight years. He is the perfect example of a second-tier founding father, those who actually administered the nitty gritty of the war. Through Livingston’s life and political career, we can examine the complex nature of the conflict and the choice to wage it, the constant battle over loyalty on the home front, the limits of patriot governance under fire, and the ways in which wartime experiences affected the creation of the Constitution.
JF: What courses do you teach at the University of Arkansas?
JG: Well, right now, I do not teach much of anything since after three years as our department’s Associate Chair & Director of Graduate Studies, I assumed the role of Department Chair this past July. In the spring, I will get back into the classroom teaching a survey course but most of my courses are mainly upper-level Colonial America and Revolutionary America courses. I also teach the first half of African American history when I have a free spot but with these administrative duties, that unfortunately is getting less and less often.
JF: What is your next project?
JG: I am working on a project tentatively titled 1804: The Year that Changed America. Through five interconnected vignettes (beginning of gradual abolition in the North, the Louisiana Purchase, Lewis & Clark’s Expedition, Haitian Independence, and the burning of the USS Philadelphia in the Barbary Coast War), 1804 illustrates how specific events in a single year influenced the course of American history. Each vignette explores one of three themes set into motion in 1804: sectional antagonism that culminated in the American Civil War, the destruction of Native American power in North America, and the economic and political expansion of American power globally. The book will integrate all of them into a single narrative that illustrates the domestic and international pressures that transformed how Americans saw themselves and their place in the world. It is still in its early stages but it has been exciting to explore a whole host of issues I have not touched for quite some time.
JF: Thanks, Jim!