Professor female viagra Louis Galambos discusses his book, The Creative Society – and the Price Americans Paid for It.
Professor female viagra Louis Galambos discusses his book, The Creative Society – and the Price Americans Paid for It.
Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013), 480 pp., $37.50.
THE VICTORS in wars may write the history of those wars, as the cliché says, but history usually manages to delve into the perspectives, interests and exploits of the defeated as it pieces together, over time, a complete picture. A vast cheap viagra literature on the Napoleonic wars, the Civil War and both world wars includes such explorations of the defeated to explain how events unfolded and what factors drove them. But no similar body of literature has emerged to survey the British side of the American Revolution. British historians neglected a defeat that complicated the story of their country’s rise to imperial greatness, while Americans operated within the prejudices and assumptions of nineteenth-century patriotic writers. Later attempts to debunk their accounts rarely challenged the overarching—and overly deterministic—narrative of how the United States gained its independence.
Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy has set out to correct this oversight. He argues that the British perspective is “essential for making the war intelligible.” British actions, he notes, set the terms for American responses. Resistance to policy made in London drove the escalating tensions that led to open conflict in 1775. British military operations to recover authority over the rebellious colonies then determined how the Americans waged their war for independence. The conflict sprang from a larger dispute over the nature of sovereignty within the British-Atlantic world during the 1760s with origins reaching far beyond the thirteen mainland colonies. A struggle for American independence produced a global war after 1778. Clearly, British outlooks and actions shaped the conflict at every stage, so bringing them into the story provides a fuller understanding of a complex event.
Britain’s role in the American Revolution also connects with larger questions about policy and strategy. Partly a crisis of imperial overstretch, the war led to an almost-unprecedented projection of military power overseas. Neither Britain nor any other European power had deployed so large an army in the Americas. A larger proportion of the Royal Navy operated far beyond home waters than at any point in British naval history until the endgame of World War II. But in the 1770s, unlike 1945, Britain faced two naval rivals in Europe. The American resistance of regulars and partisans, along with limited local supplies, forced commanders to rely on logistical support from the British Isles; this involved voyages of three to four months. The military effort included conventional operations to regain territory and defeat the Continental army as well as counterinsurgency efforts to suppress resistance. Domestic politics and financial concerns, however, precluded full mobilization until the war had escalated beyond America.
O’Shaughnessy uses the intertwined stories of key decision makers to explain how Britain lost a war that, on paper, it should have won. The resulting collective biography deftly captures an era along with the men who directed the struggle that defined their time. The big players included George III, America’s last king; his prime minister, Lord North; three generals; two admirals; and the ministers directing military and naval affairs from London. Thus does the book capture the war from numerous standpoints, exploring multiple factors guiding decisions and the many constraints and obstacles faced by British leaders. O’Shaughnessy argues that the British government persisted in believing it would win partly because its army never suffered any series of linear defeats.
He also shatters entrenched stereotypes of British officials as incompetent and hidebound men whose failings sprang from an antiquated and inflexible aristocratic culture. Rather than hapless figures doomed to lose, they were, says O’Shaughnessy, “capable men who fought a closely contested war” and suffered afterward from comparison to opponents lionized as giants. Preoccupation with their failings masks the reality that the war’s outcome remained in doubt right up to Britain’s Yorktown defeat. It also diminishes the accomplishment of George Washington and other Americans in triumphing against tremendous odds. Greatness, after all, hardly lies in achieving the inevitable.
Read the full article on The National Interest
Professor Gordon Wood, Alva O. Way University Professor and Professor of History Emeritus at Brown University, speaks at the Yale Center for the Study of Representative Institutions on the subject of representation in
the American Revolution.
The University of Oklahoma invites applications for the G. T. & Libby Blankenship Chair in the History of Liberty to be effective August 16, 2013 or later. This is a tenured position at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITES: This is a Provost direct faculty position for an extraordinary Humanities scholar with a passion for teaching college students about the evolution of the concept of liberty in Western Civilization. Normal teaching duties include two courses per semester. The Chair also serves as Director of the Center for the History of Liberty, which provides funding for additional research and programming. The Blankenship Chair has been held by an eminent scholar and devoted teacher with a broadly humanistic approach to the history
of freedom and particular expertise in the classical world; the position is affiliated with the Department of Classics and Letters. The Chair would have the opportunity to craft unique, civic-oriented humanities courses for undergraduates.
• Doctorate degree within Classics, History, Political Philosophy or related humanistic disciplines
• Strong record of teaching effectiveness as evidenced by documentation such as course evaluations, teaching awards, textbook publications, etc.
• Distinguished record of scholarly productivity
• Ability to work collaboratively with faculty across a diverse array of scholarly disciplines
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION RELATED TO THE BLANKENSHIP CHAIR:
For more information on the OU Department of Classics & Letters see:
For more information regarding the first person to hold the Blankenship
For more information regarding the Letters degree see:
More information regarding the OU Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage, also within the Department of Classics and Letters may be found here: http://iach.ou.edu/.
University: Founded in 1890 before Oklahoma Statehood, The University of Oklahoma (http://www.ou.edu/web.html) is the state’s flagship public comprehensive residential university, with its main campus in Norman, its Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City, and the Schusterman Center in Tulsa. Located in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area which has a population of approximately 1.1 million people, and within easy driving distance of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, the University of Oklahoma offers diverse cultural activities in an extraordinarily beautiful campus. Norman, Oklahoma has been recognized several times recently for its excellent quality of life
The University is comprised of fifteen colleges and enrolls 24,000 students on the main campus, including approximately 3,800 graduate students. OU is in the midst of unprecedented growth and national and international recognition with total endowment exceeding $ 800 million and is classified as a Very High Research University by the Carnegie Foundation having generated over $ 86 million in research expenditures in 2009-2010. It ranks first in the nation among public universities in National Merit Scholars enrolled. In the past twelve years it has more than quadrupled the number of endowed faculty chairs and professorships from less than 100 to over 410 today. Colleges located on the Norman Campus in Norman, Oklahoma include Architecture, Arts & Sciences, Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, Business, Education, Continuing Education, Earth & Energy, Engineering, Fine Arts, Graduate, Honors, International Studies, Journalism, Law, and University College.
NOMINATIONS AND APPLICATIONS: The University invites letters of nomination, applications (letter of interest, complete Curriculum Vita, list of references), or expressions of interest which can be submitted to the Chair of the Search Committee, Dr. Nancy L. Mergler. Review of materials will begin immediately and continue until the appointment is made. Applicants will be notified prior to the search committee soliciting letters of reference.
Nominations, applications and inquiries should be directed to:
Nancy L. Mergler, Senior Vice President & Provost
660 Parrington Oval, Room 104 Evans Hall
University of Oklahoma
Norman, OK 73019-3072
The University of Oklahoma is an equal employment opportunity employer.
University of Missouri history professor John Bullion discusses the debt incurred by the British government in fighting the Seven Years’ War in the 1750s and 60s, and efforts to recoup some of that cost by taxing the American colonies – leading to the Stamp Act of 1765. That law required that some printed material in the colonies such as legal documents be on paper produced in England
and have a revenue stamp.
From MIZZOU’s Alumni Magazine.
Photo by Rachel Coward.
Story by Kelsey Allen
Published Dec. 5, 2012
In the 36 years that John and Laura Bullion have been married, Laura never sat in on one of her spouse’s lectures until a film crew from C-SPAN showed up. Bullion, a history professor, was tapped to deliver his lecture on the Stamp Act for the network’s Lectures in History TV series.
When Laura settled into her seat during the taping in September 2012, realizing she was one of the few students not armed to take notes, she got out the only paper she had — an old grocery store receipt — and started writing.
Under the glare of the lights and pressure of the notable audience, Bullion stifled a nervous cough.
“But whenever I’d start feeling anxious, I’d say, ‘Fiddlesticks! You’ve given this lecture zillions of times!’ ” Bullion says.
Not quite zillions, but at least a few times each semester since 1974.
Bullion teaches American colonial history, and his research focuses on 18th-century British politics and policy during the American Revolution.
The Stamp Act, imposed by the British government on Americans in 1765, required all printed materials, from marriage licenses to diplomas to land grants and currency, to have a stamp.
“The tax is instituted because of the concern of the British government about the weight of public debt that Britain had incurred during the Seven Years War,” Bullion says. “When you have a problem with debt, you have to either raise taxes or cut expenses, and generally, it’s a combination of the two.”
Although the lecture has remained substantially the same throughout the past three decades, Bullion does try to make it pertinent to his students’ lives.
“I don’t need to tell you the relevance of this to the present day,” Bullion adds, alluding to the current standoff over the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling.
Bullion says the lecture also encourages students to think critically about the choices they make. “The British thought about the problem, and they chose this response to it,” he says. “It was disastrously wrong. My point to the students is that there is a law of unforeseen consequences. We’re never so dumb as when we think we’re being smart.”
From WSJ Online
It is possible for us to observe the anniversary of the War of 1812 without ever quite grasping what was at stake in the conflict or what it accomplished. The United States declared war in June 1812 lacking both the money and military to fight, and Britain, mounting a response, risked overextending its forces at a critical point in the Napoleonic wars.
In “The Weight of Vengeance,” Troy Bickham, a professor of history at Texas A&M University, concentrates less on the war’s military operations than on why Britain and America went to war in the first place and why, having fought fitfully for three years, the two sides agreed to such an inconclusive peace. He argues rightly that the war involved a commercial struggle within the Atlantic world as well as a struggle to dominate North America. Behind the ostensible casus belli—e.g., the impressment of sailors from American ships by the Royal Navy—was a clash between America’s expansion and Britain’s efforts to avenge an earlier defeat by making a former colony a client state.
In the early 19th century, American policy focused on sovereignty—on asserting the rights of the United States as a country unto itself. Britain, for its part, accepted America’s political independence in principle, but it sought to retain the advantages of empire—particularly the advantage of economic dominance—without the burden of rule. A sense of vulnerability made Americans defensive, even touchy. Strong powers, after all, can devour weak ones whether independent or not.
The Napoleonic wars—pitting Britain, France, Prussia, Austria and Russia against one another in various permutations—heightened this feeling of American vulnerability when the United States became the only significant neutral commercial power trading with Europe. America’s claim to neutrality evaded Britain’s naval blockade of the Continent; thus the British threatened to seize American ships and cargoes headed for France.
Henry Clay, the powerful congressman from Kentucky, claimed that Britain’s threats were aimed at destroying the fledgling American republic more than defeating Napoleon. Clay also charged the British with aiding Indian tribes along the Wabash River at war with the United States, another violation of American sovereignty. In 1812, the war party in Congress made the case for a defensive war against Britain that would, it was hoped, vindicate America’s honor and establish the United States as the dominant power in North America.
Britain had its own worries and fears, as Mr. Bickham deftly shows. While witnessing the rise of Napoleon, Britain saw the merchant fleet of the United States more than double from 1793 to 1807, making the U.S. a global maritime rival. Embargoes hit British manufacturing and trade, the result of French control over much of Continental Europe. Meanwhile, given the advantages of neutrality, the United States seemed to be France’s de facto ally. The Louisiana Purchase of 1803 had shown America’s ambition to expand; Britain naturally assumed that Canada would be next. Britain’s wish to check that ambition brought the weight of vengeance upon the United States when it began to mobilize its forces in the North Atlantic following a declaration of war.
Mr. Bickham argues that both Britain and America underestimated the other’s resolve. The British assumed that America’s limited means and political divisions—New England strongly resisted a conflict that would disrupt its trade with Europe—made the war declaration a bluff. James Madison made a greater error in believing that war would pressure Britain into concessions.
Although the United States had the initiative, it needed to strike a decisive blow in Canada before Britain could act. Miscalculation and ineptitude shattered such a hope: An American invasion, launched into today’s Ontario and Quebec, had failed by October 1812. America’s naval victories in single-ship fights embarrassed Britain but had little effect on the war. Mr. Bickham traces how well-informed—and sometimes misinformed—the public was about military events. Press reports often arrived before official dispatches, and maps published in newspapers allowed readers to follow the war’s campaigns. Public knowledge, however imperfect, fueled opinions that governments could not ignore.
The American war effort—hampered by mismanagement and shortages of matériel—had all but played itself out by the fall of 1814. As fighting in Europe wound down, Britain could expand its operations, joining its blockade of America’s Atlantic ports with an offensive in the Chesapeake. Lord Liverpool, who had become Britain’s prime minister in June 1812, made the war a priority but found it difficult to strike a decisive blow. He grasped the danger that European powers, putting themselves forward as mediators, might aid the United States in order to contain British maritime power. Negotiations at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, at the end of the Napoleonic wars, led Liverpool’s government to decide that it was better to pressure America into a compromise peace than to exact vengeance through a prolonged war.
Instead of demanding territorial or commercial concessions, the British insisted on a treaty confirming the status quo ante bellum, and the United States accepted rather than press its luck further. So who won? Liverpool managed to keep what the British considered their “maritime rights.” He also cleverly separated the management of European politics from Britain’s relations with America, so that potential rivals would not find common cause. But Britain did not humble the United States or split the Union by goading New England to secede. Indeed, the war forged a stronger, more resolute America. Having vindicated its honor and sovereignty, the United States stood poised to contend for mastery in North America on firmer ground than before.
Mr. Hay, a historian at Mississippi State University, is writing a life of the second Earl of Liverpool, British prime minister from 1812 to 1827.
In October 2010, Mr. William Osborn, the former CEO of Northern Trust Bank, held a luncheon for a group of distinguished jurists in Chicago to introduce them to the Jack Miller Center. The featured speaker was Gordon Wood, the preeminent historian of the American Founding and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. An attendee asked Professor Wood why education in America’s Founding Principles and history is no longer commonly included in the curricula at most colleges and universities.
This question inspired the following conversation about why colleges are failing to teach, and students are failing to learn, about America’s past. The JMC’s Dr. Pamela Edwards met with Professor Wood and Jack Greene in early February 2011 to discuss the state of historical study in today’s university. Professor Greene is one of the seminal figures in the field of Atlantic history and is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University.
An excerpted version of this conversation can be read below, and is also featured in the JMC’s 2010 Annual Report. To request a copy of the report, please email Emily Koons (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Pamela Edwards: You’ve both had very distinguished careers teaching American history. What is your feeling about the current state of the field and what would you like to see for it?
Gordon Wood: I think in terms of constitutional history, it’s generally not being taught at the undergraduate level. Of course the law schools are still teaching American constitutional history, but by and large, legal and constitutional history along with diplomatic history has been shunted aside (at the undergraduate level) over the last generation by cultural history.
PE: Why has this happened?
GW: Race and gender issues have become very, very important because of contemporary issues, and they have dominated many history departments, certainly my own. It’s been at the cost of some of these older, traditional fields. It takes sometimes 20 or 30 years, but you do have new people coming up and they have new interests, and there will be new contemporary issues that focus on the past that we want to understand. It’s not surprising that the best studies of slavery came out of the 1960s civil rights movement. People wanted to know where did this race problem come from and so it’s natural to do that. And the women’s movement of the 1970s generated a tremendous number of works on women in the past.
Jack Greene: Even when they do teach American history, it’s highly distorted I think. When they teach American Constitutional history for instance, it’s a history of the Supreme Court. Let’s face it, the Supreme Court wasn’t very important until the 20th Century. What they don’t do is give you a history of the Virginia Supreme Court in the early half of the 19th Century, which has a very rich history. I actually think this is part of a broader problem, which is using the national state as a framework for historical studies. If you really wanted to do an accurate history of the American nation, it would be a history that gave more attention to what was going on in the states. It’s a complicated thing. It’s very difficult to do that. American history textbooks, if you look at one, have a little bit on the colonial period and on the revolution and then they move from one election to the next election. So mostly, it’s elections, which didn’t have much meaning or bearing on the lives of these people who were living in the United States.
GW: You’re quite right. Even in teaching constitutional history, they focus on the Supreme Court. There are only two books that are on the federal district courts that have been written, and the district courts in most states were one per state, and I think there’s one in Kentucky. But all those other district courts, nobody has worked on those and we know so little. So much was taking place at the federal district if you’re talking about the federal law. The states are the really important arena for most events but even at the federal level, we know very little.
JG: I think one of the most important things that should be done in any history course is to give students a strong sense of anachronism. The United States was, in 1776, a kind of unintended consequence of this revolt against Britain. People had come together in 1774 and ‘75 and they had this strong sense that they had these unities that bound them together and so forth. But the idea of creating a significantly empowered national government is an idea that grows out of the experience of the 1780’s, as Gordon has explained so successfully in a number of books. I want to get back to your original question and make a point about how people moved away from constitutional history into social history and cultural history. In doing that, I think that it’s true that at the moment, people seem to be ignoring something that Gordon and I both are still interested in, but at the same time, it has drawn people into an interest and a stake in history that has a potential to rework and revive things like American constitutional history. It’s just that, as African Americans for instance, come to realize they have a history, which for a long time was very marginal and not central.
GW: Almost denied.
JG: Almost denied and not central. Women were certainly even more deeply denied. It’s very hard to ignore slavery. But it was easy to ignore women. When you thought of history in terms of some sort of paradigm or power, men had the power. So if history is about power, I think there is potential there for reviving, and in a very different way and with a much richer fallout, the history of the Constitution, interest in the American Constitution.
PE: And so is that really the new project perhaps, to create a very rich, complex context but at the same time to be able to have an integrated narrative again? Could you tell not one narrative but a number of extremely important exciting ones that are interdependent without flattening context and details entirely? Is that the way one would want to move do you think?
GW: You have to have multiple narratives because there’s just too much information, too many stories out there and it becomes very difficult. There is a stake in history. It’s not life and death, but it is important how one views the past of your country, and if it’s a depressing story of murderous killing of native peoples and enslaving of Africans and that’s it, then it’s a little depressing for youngsters to get that. So you need to offset that kind of negative story with some kind of sense of what the country has been besides that. But these are contested all the time and that contest will go on because the stakes are high because people have agendas that they are promoting in the present. It’s the present that drives the interpretations of the past. We’re not antiquarians. We don’t wallow back in the past for its own sake. My own view is that questions of the present lead you to want to find answers but the present shouldn’t dictate the answers you come up with. And that’s generally happened. The first forays into the slavery in the 1960s may have been crude but people get away from the present and they just get fascinated with the authenticity of the past and they forget why they even went to investigate the subject. That’s the best kind of history.
PE: I’d like to ask each of you what you imagine or would hope for the field in American history in the next decade.
GW: I don’t know what’s going to happen but I would hope there would be some return at least to a sophisticated political, diplomatic; I mean certainly there is a greater awareness of the world, and Jack has been a pioneer in Atlantic history, way back before it was called Atlantic history. He was, at Hopkins, creating the Atlantic world as a source of study. So that has enriched things, but I think looking at the world because we, the United States, are a world power now, a super power and so it’s natural that we want to think about things in this worldwide aspect, and that just complicates the past even more.
PE: Jack any final thoughts?
JG: I’ve always thought that the function of historical studies generally was to create critical citizens and to give them a sense of skepticism about received wisdom. I think that if we can continue doing that, it doesn’t really very much matter what subjects we’re taking up. It’s just a matter of making people aware of the past and of difference.
GW: And how complicated the past is.
Reading history allows one to escape the blindfolds and categories of our day and enter into another time, when people thought and acted in different ways. Like the experience of foreign travel, it can refresh the mind and provide a sense of distance from the familiar. How sad it is, therefore, that so much academic history today does just the opposite, projecting current issues back onto the past, invariably for the purpose of promoting a contemporary ideological viewpoint. Instead of freeing us from the present, “history” of this kind ends by imprisoning the past.
Fortunately, there are still historians who deplore, to borrow Gordon Wood’s unvarnished language, the “gross presentism of much current history writing” and the “effort to use history as an ideological weapon in contemporary politics.” And Mr. Wood certainly has reason to complain, for it is in his field of inquiry—the period of the Revolution and early republic—that the politicization of history has gone furthest.
So great is the temptation to score points by invoking or attacking the Founders that most historians, whether consciously or unconsciously, have been unable to resist. Progressive writers like Charles Beard and Vernon Parrington railed against the robber barons and big corporations of their day and found it helpful to their cause to tarnish the Founders’ reputation, accusing them of designing the Constitution to promote their economic interests.
The Progressives’ unitarianism in opposing economic injustice has broadened in our day into a trinitarianism that focuses on concerns of race, class and gender, producing a host of studies treating the Founders’ “sexism,” “homophobia” and “racism.” Thus Thomas Jefferson, who received a pass from some Progressives because of his hostility to finance capitalism, has become a favorite target today. “Much as most historians continue to dislike businessmen and the commercial classes, they dislike slaveholders and racists more,” Mr. Wood wryly notes in his latest book, “The Idea of America.”
Mr. Wood is our premier student of the Founding Era. He has been writing history for about a half-century, roughly a fifth of the days since the origin of the republic. He has scrupulously avoided appropriating his subject for modern-day political purposes and instead tried to understand it on its own terms and as a whole. Historians will of course bring to their study certain questions and concerns of their own time—no one can or should avoid this—but the greatest historians are those, like Mr. Wood, who do not make our criteria of importance the main theme.
Dr. Bruce Cole is President of the new American Revolution Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Cole is the former Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Over Presidents’ Day weekend in Williamsburg, Professors Gordon Wood of Brown University and Jack Greene of the Johns Hopkins University met with the Jack Miller Center’s Dr. Pamela Edwards to discuss history and the American Founding, and its importance in higher education today. The conversation between these senior scholars addressed the originality and power of the revolution in creating a new American Republic, as well its deep roots in British political institutions and ideals.
Professor Wood, who received the National Humanities Medal in a White House ceremony on March 2, pointed to the unprecedented nature of the American Revolution, as compared to the French and British Revolutions. Through the creation of ratification and plebiscite, the Founding Fathers powerfully republicanized the older British understanding of mixed Government. Professor Greene emphasized our nation’s long history of self-governance, illuminating the Anglo-American context for the rise of American colonial and then republican and federal institutions.
Both scholars discussed at length the remarkably powerful nature of local custom and culture in determining the course of state governments, and the persistence of questions of scale and habit in the developing story of American national government, no less as a challenge to the formation of an American identity. Gordon Wood contended that the very “sense of who we are comes out of the Revolution.” That it is the Constitution, and in particular the Ratification process, which was uniquely American. Expanding on this theme Jack Greene observed that “the virtue of the American Constitution is that it is so simple.” In so far as a common identity is possible for Americans, this identity is based in a shared set of beliefs, not in a particular ethnicity. These beliefs in the “rights of Englishmen, lay in liberty, or constitutional government, the rule of law and the trial by Jury.”
Wood and Greene then engaged in a lively discussion of the deep contexts and complexities of the foundations of the Anglo-American constitutional tradition. Through a consideration of the federalist and radical Republican positions the idea of judicial review, the power of national as opposed to federal government, and the remarkable persistence and importance of state constitutions and state courts in understanding the history of the revolutionary legacy and the transition from Colony to nation, emerged.
The persistence of these ideas continue to inform modern political understandings of what is at stake, both in the courts and in terms of the reach of State and federal authority. Indeed the very question of the rule of law as written rule or functional principle, underscores recent disputes about the original or intended nature of the founder’s constitution. Jack Greene signaled the common law inheritance as admirably suited to the particularism of colonial governance, describing the “great virtue of the common law as its malleability”. Yet as Gordon Wood observed, James Erindale in defending judicial review made it clear that “(a) written document cannot have 10,000 different interpretations”. In this light Jefferson’s radical intent was to reduce the power of the common law and “to codify the constitution.”
The conversation moved from the constitutional and statutory questions of interpretation and intent to the written and interpretive nature of historical narrative. Both Greene and Wood agreed that Constitutional Law, as taught in law schools, had moved away from a deep historical understanding of these developments in their original contexts and were now largely structural questions. For Wood this limited degree of flattening, which amounted to the creation of legal fictions, was a necessity for the modern jurist, who would “otherwise be paralyzed.” Jack Greene emphasized that the question of Utility increasingly played a role in understandings of legislative intent, but that even for the more contextually aware historian the creation of generalization as a form of caricature was a necessary element of “what we as Historians do.
With this in mind both Wood and Greene considered the importance of American Constitutional history for students and citizens today. They both felt that “things ought to be situated in their contexts”, that the new histories that emerged out of the civil rights movement quite naturally advanced and expanded and complicated our understandings of the past. But they also observed that this shift in focus had rather marginalized the fields of study in constitutional, diplomatic and political history. While it is “true that at the moment people are ignoring these things,” Greene believed that these trends in historical study would now have the effect of “drawing more people into having a stake in history” and that this “has the potential to recover interest in these fields”. Looking forward, Gordon Wood, considering the question of a plurality of historical narratives, emphasized that these “narratives are always contested” and that we have a “stake in history, [which] is important in how one views the past of one’s country”.”
In this light, Jack Greene underscored the importance of viewing the past in its own terms, granting the problem of anachronism. Both agreed that it is the “interesting story regardless of the uses of the present” which “generates the really sophisticated and refined studies of the past.” Professor Wood argued for balance in considering the problem of the past, suggesting that a history which only focused on the negative dimensions of the past was not always the most engaging for undergraduates. Professor Greene felt that two principles should be the guiding virtues of historical inquiry– a sensitivity to the perils of anachronism and a deep appreciation for unintended consequences. With that in mind his hope for the role of a deep understanding of the colonial past, as for the “function of historical studies” was that it “creates critical citizens”.
A full audio account of this conversation with the JMC’s Pamela Edwards and Professors Greene and Wood —- on Anglo-American Constitutionalism, state and federal government and national history, originalism, interpretation, and the rule of law, national identity, history and higher education—-will be posted to the JMC website in May.
Lunch Time Seminar at Harvard with Bill McClay
November 14th, 2013 - The Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard invites you to attend Wilfred McClay on “The Strange Persistence of Guilt in a Post-Religious Age” Wilfred McClay: “There is a problem with the understanding of guilt and forgiveness in our day, a transformation of them into floating signifiers without any clear connection to the antecedents of
2013-14 JMC Post-Doctoral Fellows
November 1st, 2013 - The JMC’s Postdoctoral Fellowshp Initiaitve continues to provide important support to scholars committed to preparing students for lives as engaged and thoughtful citizens. In addition to the 22 scholars listed below, an additional 13 JMC-Huntington Library Research Awards will be provided to support short appointments that will allow the recipients to access the unique