Rediscover Early American History in October
Press Release · Thursday, October 7, 2021

Washington, DC

Learn more about our nation’s past in October, as authors present new perspectives on the Revolutionary War, the debate over the Constitution, and the Civil War. These virtual programs are free, but advanced registration is encouraged, and all times are Eastern.

BOOK TALK: Liberty Is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution
Thursday, October 14, at 1 p.m.; Register online; view on YouTube.
Author Woody Holton will discuss his reassessment of the American Revolution, showing how the Founders were influenced by overlooked Americans—women, Native Americans, African Americans, and religious dissenters. Using more than a thousand eyewitness accounts, Holton describes the origins and crucial battles focusing on marginalized Americans and on overlooked factors such as weather, North American geography, chance, misperception, and disease. Nicole Saffold Maskiell, assistant professor of history, University of South Carolina, will join the author in conversation.

PANEL DISCUSSION: Slavery and the Constitutional Convention
Experts discuss new series: Confounding Father: A Contrarian View of the U.S. Constitution
Thursday, October 21, at 1 p.m., view on YouTube
Why did the framers of the Constitution include several protections for slavery in one of our cherished founding documents? Using clips from the four-part documentary series Confounding Father: A Contrarian View of the U.S. Constitution, scholars will discuss the 1787 debates, compromises that led to the protections, and present-day controversies over how we teach this subject. Part one of a two-part series. Moderated by Richard Hall, director and co-producer of Confounding Father, panelists include Paul Finkelman, president of Gratz College; and Gloria Browne-Marshall, professor of constitutional law at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY). Part two, Antifederalists and the Bill of Rights, will be in December.  

BOOK TALK: Travels with George: In Search of Washington and His Legacy
Wednesday, October 27, at 1 p.m.; Register online; view on YouTube
When George Washington became President in 1789, the country was still a loose and quarrelsome confederation and a tentative political experiment. Washington undertook a tour of the ex-colonies to talk to ordinary citizens about his new government, and to imbue in them the idea of being one thing—Americans. In the fall of 2018, author Nathaniel Philbrick embarked on his own journey into what Washington called “the infant woody country” to see for himself what America had become in the 229 years since. Author and historian Evan Thomas will join the author to discuss these experiences. 

The Cause: The American Revolution and its Discontents, 1773–1783

Book talk with Joseph Ellis. View this 9/15/2021 event online
Pulitzer Prize–Winning author Joseph Ellis discussed his newest book with author and historian Richard Brookhiser on September 15, 2021. In The Cause, Ellis takes a fresh look at the events between 1773 and 1783, revealing a war more brutal than any in American history save the Civil War and discovering a strange breed of revolutionaries. 

The Constitution Speaks: Rules, Rights and Responsibilities
FDR Library event with Jeffrey Urbin,
View this 9/29/2021 event online
When the founding fathers forged the United States of America from the 13 British colonies, Benjamin Franklin was said to have proclaimed the creation of “a Republic...If we can Keep it.” Education Specialist Jeffrey Urbin highlights some of the key rules, rights and responsibilities necessary for the maintenance of a healthy democracy.

To Address You as My Friend: African Americans’ Letters to Abraham Lincoln
Book Talk with Jonathan W. White, View this 10/6/2021 event online
Many African Americans of the Civil War era felt a personal connection to Abraham Lincoln. For the first time in their lives, an occupant of the White House seemed concerned about their welfare, and many wrote to the President to seek redress of their grievances. White shares from his collection of more than 120 of these letters, most of which have never before been published, that offer unflinching, intimate, and often heart-wrenching portraits of Black soldiers’ and civilians’ experiences in wartime. 


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This page was last reviewed on October 7, 2021.
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