A Student of History

October 29, 2009

Secessions: From the American Revolution to Civil War

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 11:27 am
October 22-23, 2010
Louisville, KentuckyConference Conveners:
Manisha Sinha (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Departments of Afro-American Studies and History)
Kevin Barksdale (Marshall University, Department of History)

The Filson Institute for the Advanced Study of the Ohio Valley and the Upper South proposes a two-day academic conference to examine calls for secession or disunion in the United States from the Revolutionary era to the Civil War. The conference, which takes place in Louisville, Kentucky, at The Filson Historical Society, marks the 150th anniversary of South Carolina’s secession.

The conference seeks to explore the moments in U.S. history between 1783 and 1865 when Americans threatened or acted upon a perceived “right” to secede from or nullify the laws of national or state authorities. Nearly hundred and fifty years ago, in December 1860, South Carolina declared its independence and seceded from the Union, helping to plunge the nation into Civil War. Secessionists believed they defended and upheld political values and traditions established during the Revolutionary era. Some claimed that the Declaration of Independence established a precedent for principled rebellion in opposition to “tyranny,” while states’ rights advocates defended secession as a constitutional right. But southern secessionists were not the first to appeal to the Revolutionary tradition of disunion and rebellion or to the Constitution: between the Revolution and the Civil War many groups and political leaders, discontented with conditions in the nation, invoked the right to leave the union or nullify federal laws.

The organizers of the conference welcome paper and panel proposals that adopt a variety of approaches to the study of secession, including the social, economic, and cultural causes of secession; the political theories Americans used to justify secession; secession and the contested meanings of the American Revolution; secession as a means to effect progressive social change or conservative counter-revolution; the sources of opposition to secession within a seceding region; the factors that led some states or regions to reject secession; the role of the media in secession debates; the role of Native Americans in secession and separatist movements; secession and state formation; secession in trans-Atlantic and transnational perspective; and the memory of secession and war.

The organizers seek paper and panel proposals that explore a variety of nullification and separatist movements, such as:
• The State of Franklin
• The Spanish Conspiracy
• The Whiskey Rebellion
• The Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions
• The Burr/Wilkinson/Blennerhassett Conspiracy
• The Hartford Convention
• The Nullification Crisis and States’ Rights Theory
• The Republic of Texas
• Abolitionist Disunionism
• Northern Opposition to the Fugitive Slave Laws
• Secession in South Carolina and the Deep South States
• Secession in the Ohio Valley and Upper South
• Southern Unionism
• Secession within the Confederacy (West Virginia, Eastern Tennessee, the Free State of Jones)

A selection of revised essays from the conference will be published as part of The Filson’s “Ohio Valley and the Nation” book series with Ohio University Press.

Please send three copies of a proposal of no more than two pages clearly outlining subject, arguments, and relevance to the conference topic, and a vita of no more than two pages, to The Filson Institute Conference, The Filson Historical Society, 1310 S. Third St., Louisville, Kentucky 40208.

Proposal deadline is April 5, 2010 (postmarked). Single papers or conference panels are welcomed. For panel proposals please provide a one-page summary of the panel in addition to paper proposals and vitas from each participant. The conference will meet in consecutive single sessions, with three sessions each day. Papers will be placed on-line on The Filson Historical Society’s website prior to the conference. Funds will be available to help defray some travel costs for presenters.

Dr. A. Glenn Crothers
The Filson Institute Conference
The Filson Historical Society
1310 S. Third St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40208

Email: crothers@filsonhistorical.org
Visit the website at http://www.filsonhistorical.org/institute.html.

October 14, 2009

Revolutionary War Film @ N.C.

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 8:49 am

Subject: Museum Produces Film About North Carolina and the American Revolution


The N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh announces the release of “Friends in Liberty: North Carolina in the American Revolution,” a 50-minute educational film produced by the museum and funded by the State Officers Club, N.C. Society Daughters of the American Revolution. A DVD of the film about the American Revolution in North Carolina will be distributed to all middle- and high-school public schools in North Carolina. The film and supplemental teaching materials are available on the museum’s Web site at ncmuseumofhistory.org. “Friends in Liberty” follows the experiences of 14-year-old Hugh McDonald and his friend, Anne Taylor. The film is based on the original journal of McDonald, the son of Scottish Loyalists, who joined the Sixth N.C. Regiment of the Continental Army in 1776. The fictitious character Anne Taylor gives us a girl’s view of life during the Revolutionary War as she struggles with increasing responsibilities at home after her brother Samuel joins the militia.

When members of the State Officers Club, N.C. Society Daughters of the American Revolution became concerned that students no longer seemed interested in the nation’s history, they contacted the Museum of History and offered to fund the production of a new DVD for distribution to North Carolina public schools. The museum accepted the challenge. The film became a reality through the efforts of its director, Jerry Taylor; other museum staff; and many volunteers. Museum educator Sally Bloom researched and wrote the script, and more than 200 actors, mostly students, applied to audition for the cast of 22. Film production became a community effort. A Raleigh costumer, for example, donated her services to find or sew historically accurate costumes for the entire cast. Re-enactors shared their time and expertise, and high-school students provided the music and vocals. A local professional musician scored a Bach piece for violin and cello. Other community members loaned props and assisted with the tapings at three locations. The cast and crew members filmed for eight days at different locations. They met challenges, such as taping the Valley Forge winter scene under the broiling sun – while wearing wool uniforms and standing near a campfire. Actor Sarah Catherine Carter, who played Anne Taylor as a girl, learned to cope with her costume’s five layers of clothing. “I was surprised at how many layers of clothing I had to wear and how uncomfortable the stays (similar to a corset) were,” she said. “By the end of a day of filming, my stomach hurt from the stays! It made me really appreciate what women went through during this time period regarding their clothing and how uncomfortable they must have been!” Did the experience of creating “Friends in Liberty” make an impression on the teenage actors in the film? Alex Hunt, who portrayed a Continental soldier, commented, “I was extremely surprised that teens fought in the war. Most of the kids were actually younger than me!” Spencer Bloom, who played Hugh McDonald, summed up the power the film can have for students. “When I first read the script, I thought it was remarkable that the responsibilities of the Revolution fell into the hands of young people. But in the course of shooting this film, I realized that Revolution still comes from the younger generation. That is what makes this story so powerful – it’s a story that is still being told today.”

For more information about “Friends in Liberty,” contact Sally Bloom at sally.bloom@ncdcr.gov or 919-807-7987. The museum is located at 5 E. Edenton St., across from the State Capitol. Susan Friday Lamb Public Information Officer N.C. Museum of History Office: 919-807-7943 Fax: 919-733-8655

October 7, 2009

2 New Articles

Filed under: Early America,NC History,Wars — John Maass @ 7:16 pm


I just published two new articles in the same week, last week:

“‘Too Grievous for a People to Bear’: Impressment and Conscription
in Revolutionary North Carolina,” The Journal of Military History, 73 #4, October, 2009.


“The Greatest Terror Imaginable: Cornwallis Brings his Campaign to Goochland, 1781,” Goochland County Historical Society Magazine, Vol. 47, October, 2009.

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