The Power of Independent Thinking


Stay Connected
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

The American Revolution and the Legacy of Liberty
September 7, 2000
Joyce O. Appleby, Hans Eicholz, Henry E. Mayer


Introductory Remarks by David Theroux

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Good evening. My name is David Theroux and I’m the President of The Independent Institute. I’m delighted to welcome you, including our viewers on C-SPAN2.

This is our first Independent Policy Forum of the fall season. As many of you know the Independent Policy Forum is a regular series of lectures, debates and panel discussions that we hold here at The Independent Institute’s Conference Center in Oakland, California

Many of you may also know The Independent Institute regularly sponsors programs on major social and economic issues, which might involve historical analysis or economic analysis or legal analysis, and involving top scholars and policy experts.

Our program today is titled “The American Revolution and the Legacy of Liberty.” Our speakers are the historians, Joyce Appleby and Hans Eicholz. For those of you who have not seen their respective books, Joyce is the author of many books, the most recent of which is a book titled, Inheriting the Revolution, which we strongly recommend. It has been widely praised in reviews around the country. Hans is the author of a forthcoming book, which unfortunately we don’t have copies yet, but is titled, Harmonizing Sentiments: The Declaration of Independence and the Jeffersonian Idea of Self-Government. Since the book is not available yet, it will be available, I believe, in November, in your registration packets you’ll find a form that you’re welcome to use to order copies or placing orders upstairs. We’ll be happy to send copies directly to you when they’re available.

For those of you who are new to The Independent Institute, you will also find information about our program in your packet that you got when you registered, or those who are viewing us can visit us at our website at You’ll find information about our many research, publications, conferences, and media programs.

For example, on the Website you can listen to the audio files on a real audio from past Institute events or read the transcripts going back a number of years. You can also find articles and reviews about our quarterly journal, which is called, The Independent Review. This is the current issue, and we are particularly interested at The Independent Institute and in The Independent Review on the topic of political economy, which relates directly to our topic tonight.

To provide a little background on the Institute itself, we are a non-profit, non-politicized academic public policy research institute. We’ve sponsored many studies by leading scholars on a whole host of issues and published the results as books and other publications and host events like this and many others.

In your packet you’ll find information about upcoming events. The next one will be held on October 26th. That program is on the topic of “Public Health versus the Nanny State.” The program will feature syndicated columnist Jacob Sullum who’s Senior Editor for Reason magazine and also author of the acclaimed book, For Your Own Good. And the program will also feature the economist Thomas DiLorenzo from Loyola University in Maryland and co-author of a new book, From Pathology to Politics. We hope that you’ll be joining with us at that time.

The popularity of the recent movie, “The Patriot,” has sparked widespread debate over the real people, ideas and events of America’s Revolutionary founding and the meaning of all that for the present. And with this fall’s political contests, where demagoguery may well drown out any meaningful discussion of the principles of liberty, equality before the law, self government, justice to all and so forth, it is undoubtedly important that we take some time this evening to take stock and reflect on some of these principles and the history of how we got here. Otherwise how can we decipher the many promises and the boasts and the charges and countercharges that we no doubt will be hearing between now and November and on into the future?

In 1776, as most people here know, with the words, “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” the remarkable firebrand and orator, Patrick Henry, sounded the keynote of the American Revolution. What many people don’t know is that after the Revolution, Henry led many of his fellow Anti-Federalists in a fierce opposition to the Constitution’s ratification in 1787 until it bore the amendments known today as The Bill of Rights. The Anti-Federalists were opposed to any attempt to impose a new centralized government that would impose the kind of rules or tyranny that Americans had so earnestly fought for against the British for imposing.

To Patrick Henry, George Mason and others, centralized rule from New York or Philadelphia or what later became Washington, D.C., was as heinous as that from London or any European capital. The Federalists on the other hand, fearing an unregulated society of people, sought to impose a form of centralized, standardized authority through the Constitution. Hence, the debate.

The Anti-Federalists later learned that their fears were, perhaps, indeed justified as the new Federal government imposed taxes, sedition laws and much more, and all of this led to the election of Thomas Jefferson as President towards the latter part of that century, and a struggle between the forces for centralized power against those for decentralized power, free association and free trade, and much more. Although this incredibly bitter and portentous conflict happened over 200 years ago, we see the very same issues and ideas at the heart of American politics today and indeed worldwide.

Such ideas as centralized power, devolved power, limited or unlimited government, individual rights, the power of vested interests, nationalism, slavery, secession, free migration, protectionism, revolution, mercantilism, individualism, democracy, and many other concepts are all wrapped tightly in this debate. A debate really of incalculably more significance than anything we are likely to see in this year’s Presidential or other political race.

Mindful of these principles and these many contentious matters, the first generation of Americans after the Revolution reinvented themselves and their society.

Was the Revolution a success? Yes, it was, but it was an incomplete Revolution, as chattel slavery and the second class status of women remained intact afterward. But this revolution of ideas launched what became a worldwide revolution for liberty, in many respects, and the ultimate abolition of chattel slavery worldwide. It was a time in a New World without feudalism, without political patronage and privilege, without the class system of the Old World. Here, Americans had created a dynamic, fluid society of innovation, experiment, enterprise and movement.

How exactly did their values transform politics, economics, and culture in this new Republic? This evening we’ll be discussing much of this and how it affected future generations.

Before we do, however, I wish to take a few moments to pay a special tribute to a late departed friend, the brilliant historian, teacher and author, Henry Mayer. Henry was to be a part of this program this evening, but tragically he died suddenly of a heart attack while on vacation with his family in Montana. He was really looking forward to tonight’s program and we deeply miss him.

Some of you may recall that Henry had spoken here last Fall with the historian, Jeffrey Rogers Hummel (author, Emancipating Slaves, Enslaving Free Men), who’s also with us tonight. The topic then—this was last November—was, “Civil War: Liberty and American Leviathan.” Again, a very similar topic. At that time, Henry spoke based on his brilliant book, All on Fire, which is this book here for which he was a National Book Award finalist. The book is on the topic of William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolitionist Movement.

And incidentally that particular program is also available on our Website for those interested in listening or reading about it. You can go to our Website and click on Events and go directly to the program for November 17th.

Henry had graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned an MA in History at the University of California, Berkeley. As I mentioned, he was a finalist in the National Book Award for his book, All on Fire. He also won the J. Anthony Lucas Book Prize, the Boston Review’s Rea Prize for non-fiction, the Commonwealth Club of California’s Silver Medal for non-fiction and the New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1998 for the book.

This evening Henry was going to discuss a subject of another of his books, and that book is this one called, A Son of Thunder. It’s a book on Patrick Henry and the American Revolution and the new republic. This is a new edition of the book that just came out from the University of Virginia Press.

He was also the co-author of the book, As It Happened, and was working on a new book about the photographer Dorothea Lang. A popular book critic, his reviews appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle and many other publications.

As I mentioned to some of you earlier, and as I promised Henry, initially, we were going to make sure that we had copies of his books here and is indeed a pleasure to be able to make them available for those who are interested. For our program tonight, after the presentations by our speakers, we’ll open up the program to discussion from our audience.

Our first speaker is the historian Hans Eicholz. Hans is Senior Fellow at Liberty Fund, a scholarly educational foundation in Indianapolis. He received his Ph.D. in American History from UCLA in 1992, where he studied under Professor Appleby, and wrote his dissertation on the debates over the incorporation of the Bank of North America in Philadelphia. He has published and presented papers on various aspects of the political-economic thought of the founding period, and has taught courses in American and World History at UCLA and California State University at Los Angeles.

As I mentioned, his forthcoming book, Harmonizing Sentiments, will be out soon. It builds upon his work in political economy to argue that Americans during the Revolution had faith in their ability to be independent of Britain and the yoke of European tyranny because of the self-governing capacity of individuals in a free society. I’m delighted to present Hans Eicholz. [Applause]

Hans Eicholz

Thank you very much, David, I’m very delighted to be here before The Independent Institute and to give this presentation and I’m reminding myself this is not my dissertation defense, this is not my dissertation defense, and so I shall persevere. It’s a tough act to follow.

The subject of Patrick Henry is an engaging one. I’m not an expert in that particular topic, and I know many of you were looking forward to a discussion of this particular patriot’s life, and that would have been an engaging and rewarding enterprise. I will do my best, however, to try to meld what I think are some of the most salient themes in A Son of Thunder with the themes in my own forthcoming work, Harmonizing Sentiments.

How best to do that? I think I will simply talk to you about the odyssey that led me to write this work and why I set about to do it. That’ll get you a sense then of what it is that I am trying to accomplish.

I had a number, a couple of concerns before setting out to write this. Two concerns that actually I didn’t know originally were all that related. I knew they had some vague connection to each other, but exactly how it would all come together wasn’t exactly clear in the initial process of writing the work.

First off, I was very dissatisfied, but not quite sure how to approach what I considered to be a not-all-too-satisfactory state of the historiography surrounding the nature of the American Revolution. Historians, during a long period of debate, wnet back and forth over whether the nature of the American Revolution was one of classical Republicanism (in which people asserted the common good of the community over the rights of the individual and so forth, that it was more of assertion of ancient virtues as opposed to individual liberty) or one of individual liberty, and what you would call the classical Liberal tradition, or the Whig tradition, the old Whig tradition, that informed the Revolution.

That debate took up a long period of time in which a number of others then came in and added their voice to that discussion. There were those who championed the notion that the dominant paradigm of the Revolution was a common law paradigm. There were those who argued that it was the Christian Covenanting tradition that was the dominant paradigm and a whole score of others.

And what seems to have occurred in the last, oh, I guess, 5 to 10 years, has been a growing consensus that Americans are somehow comfortable with paradox or comfortable with contradiction. That they held all of these different notions in their mind at once. That they were both Democrats and Republicans, that we are all Republicans, we are all Federalists in a sense, and they seemed way too comfortable with that, so that there was very little sense that there might be a coherent tradition during the Revolution that inspired the Revolutionary movement and informed the Declaration of Independence and even the Constitution later. So that was unsettling for me.

I have also had a long-time concern or interest in the meaning of self-government. And this has a lot to do with my mentor, Joyce Appleby, who wrote a very important article, “The Radical Double-Entendre in the Right to Self-Government.” And in that article she laid out very nicely how the meaning of self-government had taken on, in the Enlightenment period and the period during the Revolution, a new meaning that was not simply political independence or autonomy in the old ancient sense of the word, going back to the Greeks, but actually embraced the concept of the individual as capable of governing him or herself, the individual as capable of personal self-government. And that struck me as always a very interesting transformation that I wanted to spend some time focusing on.

The two concerns seem to converge when I, after reading a number of the works of Tom Paine, Common Sense, and his essays, The Rights of Man, came across this emphasis on the state-society distinction. And it was especially brought together when I came across the work by Yehoshua Arieli that came out in around 1964 on Individualism and Nationalism in American Ideology.

And in that work he noted that one of the things that seemed to trip up historians when they were viewing these early texts was that they tended to have a conception of government as primary and often confused government and society, not keeping those two distinctions separate in their minds. And it struck me that these were actually tied very closely together to the debate, or the discussion, I should say, over the transformation of the term self-government. And that took me to looking at the various dictionary entries for the meaning of self-government.

When I did that I noticed something interesting. The earliest definitions of self-government, going back to Noah Webster’s American English Dictionary and foreword, listed self-government as “government of the self,” “government of one’s self” actually. It was very individual, very personal, focused on individual self-government. And there was actually no mention of the political.

Now it’s not that Americans weren’t aware of the political definition of self-government, what became clear was that the political definition of self-government, of democracy, of republican government, was dependent upon the individual’s capacity to govern himself in society.

So I looked at how that changed over the years, and one of the interesting things was that after about the Civil War, the definition does begin to include again the political as a secondary definition. And actually as late as the 1960s, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, unusual for a dictionary entry, made the second political definition dependent upon the personal definition. That is to say, it said, “government of one’s self” was primary, hence the right of the people to determine their own political future democracy, etc.

So that was an interesting change, but then almost as quickly as that came in to the dictionary definition it went out. And now one of the things that I notice is if you go to some of the more popular dictionaries, or if you go to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary today, they’ve dropped tense, and in most of the desktop copies what you will get is that a personal self-government is listed as archaic if it’s listed at all, and some of them will actually list only the political definition. So in a very interesting way, what we’ve done is—we went from the ancient definition of political self-government to what, in Joyce Appleby’s article we understand to be, the modern conception of personal self-government to, where today, we have gone back to the political definition of self-government as primary.

Now part of, it seems to me, a historian’s responsibility is to try to translate the textual remnants of the past into terms that can be readily understood today. And that can be a very daunting task when a historian, dealing in sources that are, at least on the surface in the same tongue, the same language, his own native tongue or language, is faced with looking at words in a text that it’s not so much that the definition per se is changed, but has subtly altered so that the emphasis is now political again, rather than personal; this changes the perspective that you take when you read the text.

So hence what we get is all of these conflicts, it seems to me, that can’t be resolved. Why is it that they held to so strongly to democratic forms of representation, and yet worried so deeply about the rights of the minorities and so forth? How come they were so concerned with a Bill of Rights for example? Why is it that these things could fit together in their cosmology of ideas?

So that took me back to the subject of society. Well how is it that the American patriots actually looked at order, social order? How did they conceive it, and what was it that they were thinking? Because one of the things that you notice when you read the Declaration of Independence is that it resonates with a certain confidence about man’s capacity for self-government, about the human capacity for self-government, about American’s capacity for self-government.

So what is the conception there? And one of the things that I did then was to study the American Revolution in the context of the debate between Patriots and Loyalists, and a very interesting thing developed there.

It has traditionally been asserted that—well, traditionally, I should say—the current interpretation generally holds, the most popular interpretation generally holds that these were different branches of the Whig tradition. They were just different by degrees. That is to say, Loyalists and Patriots simply had some basic disagreements over what were the proper representative institutions. In looking at the sources, what I came away with was that they had actually very fundamentally different views over how society operates.

The Loyalists gave themselves over in the Revolution to exclamations and denunciations, I should say, of the Revolutionary movement because they feared anarchy and chaos. Samuel Seabury and Joseph Galloway and a whole host of other Loyalists. This is what they began to write about and emphasize in their pamphlets, warning against the degeneracy of society that would occur if you lopped off the Imperial head from its position of power in society, in Colonial society.

The Patriots, by contrast, took a very different tack, and they argued from a number of different perspectives. And this is another reason why it can lead to many conflicting interpretations of the nature of the American Revolution. They argued that actually there were many ways in which society was actually capable of self-government in which there were mechanisms that gave order to society quite independently of political governance.

It wasn’t that they rejected political governance or that they felt government wasn’t necessary, that’s not the case at all, but it was a very small part of the overall equation. If we’re going to understand the richness of this tradition that they were drawing from, we need to understand all of the various aspects of their conception of society that drew upon this robust conception of order with many roots.

One aspect was custom and the common law. They made appeals to that, to the ancient constitution. They made appeals to the divine order of the universe. They made appeals to the capacity for rational self-interest. They made appeals to the ability for people to exercise their capacity for what you would call the moral sense. The other regarding feelings that the Scottish Enlightenment brought to the fore. A whole host of ways in which people were capable of governing their own actions in society.

And also republican institutions and the ways to control for the abuse of power. All of these languages they drew upon. If you control the abuse of power what would occur?

Well, one of the things that I attempt to argue, and I’ve tried to present the evidence in the text, is that there would be a flourishing of civil society. And if you go back through the old text of the old Whigs in England in the 17th Century and forward, one of the things that you will see constantly referred to is the term happiness. Happiness of society or happy society.

You’ll see it in Algernon Sidney. You’ll see it in John Locke. You’ll see it in Trenchard and Gordon in their essays of the 1720s. You’ll see it in the writing of international legal scholars like Emerich de Vattel and these were all sources that the Revolutionaries drew upon. They were all familiar with them, and one of the terms then, happiness, describes this flourishing state of civil society in which people are able to give meaning and order to their lives through means other than simply politics.

Politics is one part of the overall equation, but it isn’t the dominant part, and that gets then right to the heart of what Tom Paine was talking about in his opening lines of Common Sense, where he made that radical distinction between government and society—where society works on us through our affections and government is a punisher for our transgressions.

So that seemed, then, to bring together the various strands of the American Revolution that informed the Declaration. So when we see “Nature and Nature’s God,” we see a divine conception of the order of the universe in which very much a notion of the rational order of the universe is invoked, and that this is then translated into a conception of that order as it manifests itself in human society through “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Even common law, injunction or the necessity that you state the case and present the evidence is brought forward in the explication of all of the grievances and so forth. And so you see all of these different strands coming together in the declaration, and that’s one of the things that I attempt to set out.

That then, in a nutshell, is the overall program of the work. Now, in England the Whig theory of society, this robust notion of social order as being ultimately self-regulatory, of an order that is, what you might call, para-political—hat is, government is there in order to insure that this flourishing takes place, but it is not necessarily considered to be the source of that order—in England that was simply a theory. And the reason it was simply a theory is because always their Tory opponents (or after the 17th century, the New Whigs to distinguish them from the Old Whigs, who still held to a critique of power, and still affirmed this robust notion of a natural social order, of a self-regulating social order) the Tory’s could always point to the King and to the supremacy of Parliament. They actually put government on new foundations. And, so, to the arguments of their opponents they could always say, “well, yes, but the order is actually there imposed by a supreme Parliament or by the King and Parliament,” and so forth.

In America, and what I think is the Jeffersonian tradition—it’s real force—is that they appeal directly to the lived experience of Americans. Here it wasn’t that these conceptions of a robust social order were simply theoretical, they were part of the lived experience of Americans. Americans had had very little interference from the British.

And as we know from the work of Jack Greene and others, even in their own affairs there was great liberty at even the local level. All of the assertions of Colonial governments, notwithstanding, as to what their powers were. People were very much involved and engaged in Atlantic commerce. They were very much engaged in commercial agriculture. They were very much engaged in their various religious communities. What we see is a real thriving of the civil associational life, even in the late Colonial period, that really becomes then just—how would you say it?—spectacular in the antebellum period in terms of the number of associations and so forth that de Toqueville writes about.

So what we then have in the American Revolution really is a foreshadowing of things to come. I do want to say now, here, that it seems to me when you read, A Son of Thunder, one of the things that comes out is, yes, he was very much engaged in the politics of his era and certainly there was no better orator or speaker who could fire up his audience than Patrick Henry.

But if you look at the richness of his life, if you look at all of the things that he was involved in from his dealings in land speculation, to his dealings with Presbyterian and Baptist dissenters, to his obtaining that law degree to all the different things that he was involved in, you get a sense of just how rich the civil associational experience of Americans was, how rich their life was and how rapidly things were improving and changing.

And I think that sets the stage fairly nicely for a discussion then of how things did turn out later when that first generation, after the Revolution, attempted to continue to expand upon those revolutionary ideals. And if there are specific questions, I know there are a number of issues that I can address here but I’d be happy to answer all of them, I’m sure people will ask me about slavery, perhaps, or who knows what, I’m more than happy to address them. Thank you very much. [Applause]

David Theroux

Thank you very much, Hans. Our next speaker is the eminent historian Joyce Appleby who is Professor of History at UCLA and past President of both the Organization of American Historians and the American Historical Association. Her research has covered the history of England, France, and America in the early modern period, and with an abiding interest in the questions about classical liberal values or liberal values and institutions.

After graduating from Stanford University in 1950, Professor Appleby first worked for Mademoiselle magazine in New York City. She returned to California afterward to be married, to raise a family, and to continue her magazine and newspaper writing. Later, she enrolled at Claremont Graduate School and received her Ph.D. in History in 1966.

She has since been a Fellow Commoner at Churchill College, Chair of the Council of the Institute of Early American History and Culture at Williamsburg. She’s a member of the Editorial Board for the American Historical Review and the William and Mary Quarterly. She’s been the Harmsworth Professor of American History at Oxford University, and a Fellow at Queen’s College.

In addition to the book I mentioned by her, her most recent book called, Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans, she’s the author of many books including Ideology and Economic Thought in Seventeenth-Century England, Capitalism and a New Social Order, Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination, Telling the Truth about History, Recollections on the Early Republic, The Intellectual Origins of Jeffersonian Democracy: An American Journey, and many others. So it’s a real pleasure to present Joyce Appleby. [Applause]

Joyce Appleby

Thank you. It’s a real pleasure to be here and to be able to talk about my new book, Inheriting the Revolution. I chose to study the lives of American men and women born after 1776 because they offered wonderful material for looking at how a revolutionary tradition was dealt with. I wasn’t interested in state building but I was interested in nation building. I was interested in how a generation shapes a society and, particularly, how they elaborated a new culture.

And, so, I embarked on a study of all the men and women who had been born between the years of 1776 and 1800, and my research was very much like a vacuum cleaner. I just picked up anything that I could find about these lives and about this period, and I used the very, most advanced techniques of research. I wrote down everything I found on 4x6 cards, and I filed them alphabetically in empty shoe boxes. [Laughter]

Now the witnesses in my book are those who did something in public. They might have settled a town. They might have invented a product. They might have formed an association. They might be newspaper publishers or writers, even if only the writer of an autobiography. They came into my shoe box.

In fact, there are about over 350 men and women who were born between 1776 and 1800, who did write autobiographies, and those of you who have looked at the book will know that I got a lot of personal details from those autobiographies, but they, by no means, exhaust the people that I looked at. I must have looked at several thousand men and women who fit into this generation.

I was, as I said, interested in the people who were doing something, because I wanted to see this connection between inheriting a set of revolutionary ideas and then actually leading one’s life when you had no connection with that Revolution, and, indeed, were not in any way familiar with the Colonial mores that had shaped your parents and your grandparents, so that this was kind of a decisive break.

Now I recognize that not everyone born after the Revolution took part in reconfiguring their society, and I want to make that clear at the outset. Many people didn’t have even the minimal resources to make changes in their lives. Other people wanted most of all to replicate the way of life of their mothers and fathers. And there were yet other people whose lives were pretty much dominated by that figure, the head of the household, the father, whom the law and custom gave tremendous power over dependents.

So I am looking at a subset from within the larger society, those people who did have the opportunity to do something and whose choices, we could say, were a part of shaping that revolutionary tradition into a living cultural tradition.

There were four unexpected and interacting developments that shaped the lives of this generation as they were coming of age. One of them was the radicalizing of politics. Another was the revitalization of religion in America. A third was the expanding scope of opportunity, particularly for the young. And, finally, there was the abolition of slavery in the North.

Revolutions have very unanticipated consequences, and the abolition of slavery in the North was one of them. It was not part of the program of fighting the Revolution. It was not part of the resistance movement that Hans has talked about. And yet, immediately, there was this contradiction between talking about liberty and living with this institution of slavery. And so you had, one by one, the Northern States, in the 30 years after independence, finding ways to abolish slavery.

Now, this had an enormous impact on the African-American population, because it suggested that slavery could be brought to an end, and this had a striking effect upon the thinking of this generation.

You know, Americans do not take credit for the fact that their legislatures were the first to abolish slavery. The reason they don’t is because it was state legislatures. It wasn’t the nation as a whole but slavery was an institution, and the laws of keeping human beings as chattel were state laws. It was not a federal law. And so you had Northern States being the first in the world to abolish this ancient institution.

The Revolution had an impact on women as well. Even though they were largely excluded from citizenship, there was this expanding scope of action for ordinary people and this vibrant civil society, the public realm that Hans was talking about, and women found a way to participate, and as they did, the sense of what their appropriate role in society was changed.

So while we don’t see any really revolutionary action in this generation about what we now call “the status of women,” it’s certainly true that what they were able to do, and I will mention some of these things later on, had an impact on the next generation, the generation that saw the Women’s Rights Movement, the first movements in those directions.

What I do in my book is I take particular lives and I use them to tell my stories. So I may just pick a few of these lives, but I’m not going to tell you a great deal about them, but to make the points of these interacting and cumulative developments that shape this generation’s experience. One of them had nothing to do with the Revolution. It was the introduction of manufacturing in Great Britain and the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

Now this was something that lay outside of the United States, but the fact that America was now an independent nation had everything to do with the way in which the American economy picks up on these new developments in manufacturing.

And what I found was two things: one, old Colonial wealth did not go into new manufacturing ventures. They were too risky. It wasn’t anything that appealed to people who had wealth.

With very few exceptions, those who developed these manufacturing possibilities, and they ran areas of machine making, and in particular, anything having to do with the textile industry because that’s where the Industrial Revolution is centered. They came from the ideas of ordinary young men who had a gift for mechanics. Eli Whitney is the obvious one that we can think of, but there were dozens of them. The one I feature is Ichabod Washburn, who was orphaned when he was seven, and is apprenticed, and who spends his life, his early life, working extra hours so that he can buy off his apprentice, and becomes a wire manufacturer in Worcester, Massachusetts.

The manufacturing in the North depended upon water power. That was the first power that came for manufacturing, and all through the North, there were all these little creeks and streams that were just perfect for sluicing and turning into water power. And what you have is, the people who are taking the risks are the people who have very little to lose. They are the people who have an idea and they managed to borrow and somehow to find the money to put together these new ventures, and what we have is a beautiful example of sweat equity in these ventures.

But enterprise was not just related to the economic realm. Another fascinating scope of action for this first generation came about through the revitalization of religion. In America from the 1790s on into the 1820s, there was a succession of religious revivals, and they, one after another, would affect communities. They’re sometimes described in terms of fires that are sweeping through a community.

What’s interesting in the North about these religious revivals is that they were connected with this entrepreneurial spirit, and so you had from the very beginning, the ideas of young people, and particularly, there were young people, being quite grandiose about what you could do with a religion.

For instance, there were a group of young men who were attending Williams College, who begin to talk to one another, and decide that it’s going to be the work of their generation to bring Christianity to the entire globe. I mean here they are in this little country, this small on the edge of the European world, and they had this grand plan. And they managed to convince their elders that this is what American religious energy should go into, behind the forming of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missionaries. And within 10 years, they got an organization going, and they have tapped into the money, and they’re sending missionaries to Calcutta, to Syria, to Hawaii, to a number of Indian tribes in the West.

One of the interesting parts of this is that, and I learned this reading about Ichabod Washburn, my wire manufacturing maven, the first thing he did with the money that he had earned making waffle irons after hours, was to buy the Memoir of Harriet Newell.

Well, I was in a library—it’s wonderful when you’re in a research library and you read something like that, and you think, wow, they might have the Memoir of Harriet Newell, here and I could read this book that he had bought, and I was able to find it, and—she was one of the first missionaries. She was a missionary wife who went to Calcutta. She’s becomes a heroine, because her memoir becomes a best seller.

But behind this sending out of the Newells and the Judsons, the first four young people set sail from Salem in 1811, they’re all under the age of 25, and they are going to go to Calcutta to Christianize all of India. So it’s quite a breathtaking ambition.

But Newell also decides that he’s going to tour the West of the United States and find out the state of godliness or ungodliness in the West. And so he sets out with a Dutch Reform minister and travels all the way to Louisiana, and he is kind of horrified by what he discovers, because he says, “There are American families in this part of our country who never saw a Bible nor heard of Jesus Christ, it is a fact that ought not to be forgotten that so lately as March 1815, a Bible in any language could not be found for sale or to be given away in New Orleans. The whole country from Lake Erie to the Gulf of Mexico is as the Valley of the Shadow of Death.”

But typical of this American spirit, he’s got to immediately figure out how many Bibles are necessary to bring everyone a Bible. And he sits down there, and he pens the whole thing out, and then he decides that 500,000 bibles are going to be necessary, and his church, the Presbyterians, aren’t going to be able to do it alone, and so he is behind this ecumenical movement of gathering all of these Protestant sects into the American Bible Society.

I do think that I should add that while it was going to take a half-million Bibles for the entire world, he estimates that 60,000 will be necessary to fill the gap in New York City alone. [Laughter] Some things don’t change. [Laughter]

Now not all New Englanders were filled with this evangelical zeal, but almost—well, I shouldn’t say almost all of them. But a very high proportion of them, particularly among the young men travel outside their home and want to find out what’s going on in the United States. And, of course, they become the source of information—what the economists are always talking about information costs, well, they’re reducing information costs because they are themselves, communicants between the different parts of the country.

And they begin the tradition of being peddlers—New England and Northern peddlers who go into the South because the South lacks the manufacturing, all these little manufacturing firms. And then they collect scrap copper, which they bring back and which brings the foundation of the button, the brass button industry in Rhode Island.

Well, I’m going to forbear telling you all these fascinating things, but one of the things that I found interesting was by going into the South, the Northerners were exposed obviously to a very different culture, but also to different reading tastes. And in these days there were no Motel 6s and Day’s Rests, or hotels of any sort, and travelers did put up with people who put them up. I mean that was just the way. You knocked on the door and someone found a place for you.

But the young New England lads who went South, when they went to a plantation, they never knew where they were going to be put up. Were they going to be put in the slave’s quarters or were they going to be put in the Great House? And, so, this was, of course, a matter of some interest to them. But one of them, Bronson Alcott, you may know as the father of Louisa May Alcott, was himself a famous educator in his day. For him, going into the South was quite intellectually liberating, because he had access to libraries where he could read John Locke whom he’d never read before. The fare in New England was pretty heavily theological and composed of sermons, so there was this cross-fertilization that came about with this moving about.

And, of course, the rambles of these young people just astounded their elders because it was something that had just been unheard of before. So that one of the things that you see is this independence as self-government that Hans was talking about, some of this independence going from having a political meaning to having a personal meaning. Young men, and even some women, take this independence as a cue that they can leave home, and I found in many autobiographies where young men make a bargain with their fathers. They recognize their father’s right to their labor until they’re 21 or 22, but they make a bargain that they will send back some money if they can go out and go into school teaching or peddling when they’re 16, 17 and 18.

The travels weren’t all from North to South, there was travels from South to North, and among the important migration from South to North was that of free blacks, because the abolition in the North was accompanied by an increase in the ease of manumitting slaves in the South. Manumission was a master freeing a particular slave through a legal document whereas abolition is getting rid of the laws themselves, and we had in this period the fastest growing part of the population: free blacks.

There were many factors in there. Many blacks fought in the Revolution. Every state mobilized slaves, Africans, in the Revolution except for South Carolina, and it was generally understood that they would get their freedom if they fought in the Revolution. And there were a number of other facts. It was easier to liberate one’s self if there was a North where there wasn’t slavery that you could go.

One of the most interesting Southerners born in North Carolina to go North was a man by the name of David Walker, and David Walker was a new person and personality on the American scene. He was an angry African-American who was well read and saw the offense that slavery was and was able to write about it. He wrote a book called, Walker’s Appeal, and in it he begins by saying that he had been troubling the pages of history to find out what our fathers have done to the white Christians of America to merit the punishment that we are enduring.

Now this is one of the things that was most interesting about this generation and that was the importance of print material. Of course, there had been printing presses in America before, but because of the mechanization that I talked about earlier, and the fact that the United States Government itself wanted to promote newspapers and publishing and Post Offices, because they thought they were an integral part of having a free society, you had a proliferation of newspapers; of printing presses, they were publishing material. This American Bible Society is soon cranking out a million bibles. It’s just astounding the number of printed materials that are put into circulation.

In 1822, even though the United States is about one-quarter of the size of Germany, France or England, there are more newspapers published in America than any other country in the world. And the reason I mention this is because a newspaper printing something has an intrusive potentiality. You can talk about an experience, which can even criticize someone’s way of life, and put it in print, and put in all kinds of people’s hands, and this is what happened with Walker’s Appeal.

Black seamen took these copies of it into the South and this was just outrageous to Southern planters who are in control of their environment, and yet they’re not in control of what other people can do in writing, getting hold of a printing press, and circulating material that talks about slavery in a very critical way.

The official Southern response to the publication of Walker’s Appeal was swift. He was personally denounced with a price put on his head. The legislatures of Georgia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana and Virginia passed laws making it a crime to teach slaves to read or write.

What I think is fascinating in this period is that, that there was an air of expectation and yet also of anxiety that hung around this question of race, and we have to sort of remove what we know about race relations in America in the 19th century and think about how they might have imagined them.

There was an expectancy that things could open up, and the question really was, how were white Northerners going to respond? Were they going to defer to their principles and honor and protect the lives and property and freedoms of African-Americans in their midst or were they going to be pulled towards white supremacy or towards this association with Europe that the Southerners were always talking about? A great deal of tension around this issue, but what I think is extremely important for us to realize is that in this generation and the ones that came after it, there is never a time when slavery wasn’t an issue or concern. It never went away. That contradiction was always there. It was a terrible thing to have slavery. There was hypocrisy involved but there was, it was a never a quiet, smug hypocrisy, it was always, I would say, a tormented one.

Well, let me just quickly summarize by saying that the opportunity I’ve talked about was never evenhanded. It came to men before women. It came to whites before blacks. It came to readers and writers before manual laborers. It came to the young before the elderly. But it did come in great abundance into this generation, and it had an enormous impact upon it because there, it was very much a sense of the variety of things that people could do that they hadn’t been able to do before.

So this was a generation that I would say, in summarizing, was confronted with great change. There was a new constitutional government. There was an economy that was bursting out of its geographic and institutional limits. There was a venerable Protestant faith that was moving in new directions. And this made the generation that inherited the revolution quite self conscious shapers of a liberal society. The patterns of their response to the American Revolution very much set the parameters for American thinking about society, about the top politics, about religion, about individualism.

Working through all of these transformations that I have mentioned, there was also the creation of a new ideal. It was largely an ideal about men, but it was about man—not an American Adam—but an American doer, an American homo farberas Locke refers to. The idea of the man pulling on his own inner resources, acting independently, being himself responsible, and following his own goals.

What I think is interesting is that this ideal was also attractive and influential with African-Americans as well as women. And because it retains a certain vitality today, it aroused my curiosity about its origins and I hope it will arouse yours as well. Thank you. [Applause]

Audience Member 1

For Professor Appleby. Mr. Eicholz discussed what was at least an apparent dichotomy between a concept of individual self-government and that of republicanism. How do you see that informing your generation? The sons and daughters of the American War for Independence, those who were raised up with a concept of what we kind of broadly call republicanism with a small “r”?

Joyce Appleby

Well, it’s truly difficult. I think John Adams said that republicanism was a word that no one knew the meaning of, and I don’t think there’s been a great deal of improvement since Adams’s time because it seems to refer to all sorts of things. If republicanism is meant to refer to a sense of the necessity of men possessing virtue to put the public good before their own self interest, which is one definition of republicanism, you certainly get echoes of that, but, I think that, most of the people in this generation felt that in pursuing their own interests and they would define that very broadly, they were pursuing the interest of the community. They tended not to sharpen that difference between liberalism of individual self interest. I’m not answering this very well, because these concepts are so murky and so much has been said about them. Maybe Hans can respond to this.

Hans Eicholz

Actually, this is a quite interesting quote and—in all of the searching of sources in Pursuit of Happiness, one of them that seems to have been overlooked is a passage out of Lord Kames‘s Essays on the Principles of Morality and Natural Religion, which was in all of Jefferson’s reading lists. And at the end, he has a hymn of praise to the Creator that observed this, and maybe it will kind of go towards your question. “What various and complicated machinery is here and regulated with what exquisite art, while man pursues happiness as his chief aim. Thou bendest self-love into the social direction, thou infuses the generous principle, which makes him feel for sorrows not his own, nor feels he only but strange indeed takes delight in rushing into foreign misery, and with pleasure goes to drop the painful tear over real or imaginary woe. Thy divine hand thus formed the connecting tie, and by sympathy linked man to man that nothing might be solitary in thy world, but all tend to mutual association.” And that association can be for reasons of faith, philanthropy, commerce, and all of that, so.

Joyce Appleby

I think one of the reasons I was having difficulty with is because the person who is a public benefactor is very much admired. Henry Clay was by far the most admired person from the people whose autobiographies I have read, because he was seen as someone who cared about the public realm. But I think there’s a confidence that’s reflected in this, that people will be drawn to this kind of public service on their own without compulsion. But I just think these concepts are too murky to do justice to the complexity of what people are thinking. And they’re also working in new ways, and they’re optimistic in ways that we would not be optimistic today.

Audience Member #2

Hi, this is for Professor Appleby. What did you find out about your generation that might change the way we think about how Americans approached politics in the early 19th century?

Joyce Appleby

Well, I think what I—you mean, basically you asked me what did I find out that we didn’t know before?

Audience Member #3


Joyce Appleby

I’ve found out that probably the most important thing I found out was the differentiation between the North and South started very, very early, and it’s almost all directly or indirectly associated with slavery. David Walker is a sign that puts a damper in the South on any concern with education, with buildings, schools, having newspapers. They existed, but in much fewer numbers. And that’s just one example of the indirect ways.

So I think what I found was that the South very much stayed within these Colonial parameters. It moved into cotton, away from tobacco, and one thing or another, but it didn’t change dramatically. Whereas the North changed dramatically, and because the North had the press, as it were, and because it was so much more vigorous, the North was able to define the country as being like it, and this threw the South on the defensive where they felt they hadn’t changed. The North had changed but they were increasingly defined as a region. So I would say that’s probably from a historian’s point of view the most interesting thing that I found.

The other thing I would say that I found was the role of youth which I don’t know has ever been appreciated. How greatly expanded were the opportunities, and how quickly young people took them and how they used their ability to move on their own as a way of affirming a certain set of American values. After all there was a great pot of values there, and they didn’t all survive. And this generation plucked certain things and braided them together into an American fabric.

Audience Member #4

This is for Professor Appleby. I just had a question. You mentioned that in the colonies there were more newspapers printed than anywhere else in the world, which I think presumes a well-educated population. Can you say where most of those papers were printed? In the North or was it equally distributed throughout the colonies or, and also what kind of educational institutions were available?

Joyce Appleby

The figure was not about the colonies. It was 1822, was the figure, when Americans had more newspaper issues than any other country in the world. The overwhelming majority of them were in the North. Ohio, before it was a state, had more printing presses than Georgia, which had been a colony since the early 18th century, so it was much more in the North than the South.

The education was pretty primitive, but North and South, though, again, much less in the South, areas formed into districts and they managed to get about three or four months schooling for youngsters. The goal was, of course, to get them to read and write and cipher to the rule of three. I’ve never known what ciphering to the rule of three was but I guess it had something to do with arithmetic. The interesting thing about the school is that literacy becomes important. Clearly this is an interactive effect, you have more to read, it becomes more important, and then you have to teach people to read. So school teaching becomes the number one avenue for men and women to get away from their rural homes, because they could get jobs as school teachers, and they use it just as an avenue. They stay in it for two or three or four years.

Audience Member #4

I’d like to ask both speakers about an issue which has come up in our current electoral scene. Particularly, the interplay between religion and the state, church and state if you will, and how the first generation particularly after our first amendment gave an impetus to the separation or the coordination of religious ideals in our early republic? I’d like to hear from you both.

Hans Eicholz

I guess in a sense you’re asking me how they conceived of the separation of church and state? This is a very complicated question, but I think one way to approach it is to approach it from how they viewed their political institutions. And one of the things that I tried to get across in my brief remarks, was that they were trying to control the “abuse of power,” so that one of the things that they made very clear was that separation would be there for the national government; for the general government as they called it often. That application to the states, however, was far more problematic, and those battles were fought out at the state level because of their conception of what natural rights were.

And I guess the best way to think about it is this: in the Declaration it talks about the life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s not that those are the only rights the people possess, that those are the only natural rights that people possess, but those may be the rights that reasonable men can confer upon and agree that when these are violated we’re going to have a revolution. Now they were very well aware that reasonable men might disagree about what the content of natural rights is, and where is that debate going to take place. I think the revolutionary generation agreed that the debate was going to take place at the level of the states. So in their states they argued, such as in Virginia, and as we know Jefferson was intimately involved in that debate. They would fight out what the content of those natural rights would be, and those natural rights then would be translated into what Jefferson referred to as their civil rights. So that in the case of Virginia, there would be that separation honored. It wouldn’t be until much later honored in the same way, for example, in Massachusetts, which continued to have a semi-establishment. And, so, but I think overall, generally, that debate was well-thought out at the state level and the separation then did incorporate most of the other states.

Now a part of your question was the implication for today? Is that what you were saying? I really don’t know how to address that so I’m going to bow out. Thank you.

Joyce Appleby

Well, actually, there were a lot of battles in the early 19th century over the issue of religion. And as Hans said, much of it was at the state level, but it did get to the national level because there was a very powerful Sabbatarian movement to have laws that enforced the Sabbath. And the Sabbath was observed, that is to say the Protestant/Christian Sabbath was observed through local custom and through law, and you didn’t have a transportation system that moved on Sunday. Then the Erie Canal came into existence, and the flow of water did not stop on Sunday, and this became a huge controversy of should they allow boats to go down the Erie Canal, and there was an effort to get them to stop. The other thing was the mail. Getting the mail on Sunday was extremely important, just as it was getting it every day, and there was a feeling that it was keeping, particularly, men away from church, so they wanted to get the mails to stop on Sunday. And there was real pressure to do this. Finally, the person that got to save the day in Congress said that it would be making a religious statement to stop the delivery of mail on Sunday, because not all religions celebrated the Sabbath on the same day.

Boy, this is really going around to find the logical way of getting out of this. So there were lots of issues like that because of the power of religion. Because these religious revivals, as I suggested, turned everyone into these religious entrepreneurs in the sense of wanting to do something to take the zeal and bring it to the whole country. So I would say that the history of America has seen a waxing and waning of this issue, and that wall of separation, of course, was something that Jefferson said in a letter they wrote to the Danbury Baptist about declaring a day of thanksgiving, but it’s never been a part of the Constitution. And I don’t think it’s invoked to maintain a distinction, but it is not a very effective wall, and I think that this is an issue that each generation has to just debate in its own terms, in ways meaningful to them. There’s a minimum in the First Amendment that is: the federal government cannot establish any religion, But, beyond that, I think there’s going to be a constant struggle over this.

Audience Member #5

Question for Joyce Appleby. Just out of curiosity, at the time, the period of your study, what major countries outside of the United States and outside of the Americas, had a substantial amount of slavery or laws that supported slavery?

Joyce Appleby

Well, the British had slaves in the Caribbean. The French had slaves in the Caribbean. Brazil, of course, had slaves. There were slaves throughout Latin America. There was slavery in the Middle East. There was slavery in the Philippines. There were types of indenture that were like slavery in Southeast Asia. And there’s slavery today. It’s shocking.

Audience Member #6

I guess Professor Appleby or maybe or perhaps both. Were there any particular individuals that stood out, for example, in the generation you studied or world events that had influence in shaping the way that we are?

Joyce Appleby

Well, the world events that were shaping their youth were, of course, the French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon, the great Napoleonic Wars of Liberation, then his defeat, and then the reaction that we associate with the Congress of Vienna in the second decade of the 19th century.

My generation did not produce any great figures either in the arts, in literature, in government. I mean I can mention Daniel Webster and Henry Clay. Schoolboys used to learn their speeches, but I wouldn’t say that they were great figures. So it’s not a period of greatness in that sense. And the world events were, after Napoleon was defeated, you kind of have a retreat to a status quo; to shoring up the monarchies of Europe, and it is not a period that’s productive of very much excitement.

Audience Member #7

What was the influence of the War of 1812 on your generation?

Joyce Appleby

Well, the War of 1812 was very important in the sense that it gave, most of all, it gave this generation its own heroes, particularly naval heroes. They viewed it as a kind of second war of independence, but, as you know, the War of 1812 was pretty much sort of a series of bungles, moves and disasters and loss of Detroit. Anyway, it wasn’t a glorious war, and when you think about it, the only battle we know about is one that was fought after the peace [treaty] was signed; that is to say the Battle of New Orleans in January of 1815. Of course, the British burned most of the buildings in Washington.

Interestingly, the War of 1812, which we’re just now doing research on, confirmed what the American Revolution confirmed. Whenever the war went to the South and there was a place for slaves to run away to freedom, to get behind British lines; they took that opportunity, and this of course gave the lie to the plantation owners saying that slaves accepted the institution. And in 1812, again, you had happen what happened in the American Revolution. So it was a mixed picture, I think, because it ended well, at least they weren’t beat. They were still independent. There was a sense of pride, and as I said, there was Steven Decatur, and other heroes, particularly naval heroes. But it fostered manufacturing all those things that are in that text book chapter on the War of 1812 that I won’t go through, but I would say that really sort of summarized its impact.

Audience Member 8: Professor Appleby, are there any memoirs that you particularly enjoyed that you’d recommend for their literary merit? And then also any that you found to be, to reflect particularly acute understanding of the situation in any sense that you might recognize from your own analysis?

Joyce Appleby

Yes, there were a number. In fact, Mr. Theroux mentioned a book, The Recollections of the Early Republic. There were so, there were so many fine autobiographies in the sense of people who are just excellent writers and just evoked a way of life, that I actually put together a book of extracts from 10 of the autobiographies. A wonderful woman by the name of Julia Tevis had a terrific autobiography. I mean if you want to come up afterwards I can give you some of the names, but that book, Recollections of the Early Republic, does have extracts from autobiographies, and they’re well worth reading. They’re good writers, unheralded writers. [See Appendix for Appbleby’s recommended autobiographies of early Americans.]

David Theroux

There’s a question over here.

Audience Member #8

I wanted to ask Professor Appleby, given the dynamism you’ve mentioned in the North, the education and the population growth in the North, why is it that all the leaders of the general government were from the South? The Presidents, most of the Presidents before the Civil War were Southerners as I understand it, except for the two Adamses?

Joyce Appleby

They weren’t all, but you’re right. I think that part of it is the fact that in the South, it was very much an oral tradition. They were not anywhere near as literate. They were people who were very gifted at persuading others. They had the skills of politicians in this regard. Secondly, slavery was on the defensive, thrown on the defensive so quickly in the new republic that the South had much less competition for offices. They saw the importance of getting people into Congress and their getting the seniority that was necessary. The third reason is that the Southerners were members of the Democratic Party, and the Democratic Party won the Presidency every time except for two Whig victories. And the Democratic Party was this peculiar amalgamation of Southerners, almost all Southerners, and then a Northern working men’s party - and some entrepreneurs - but it was very definitely the party of the popular parties, the party the Irish immigrants went into. And so I think the Southerners were attached to the party that was the most popular for a variety of reasons. I don’t know whether that’s satisfactory, but I think those three converged to give the South a predominance. And, of course, it didn’t help them to have that predominance, because I think it made them believe that slavery was not the issue that it was, and led them into a false security about their continued leadership. I think the Civil War was a shock. I think Lincoln’s victory was a shock.

Audience Member 10: For Dr. Eicholz. In your tracking of the concept of self-government through the years, did you arrive at a point where the concept or the idea or the label of home rule suddenly arose, or was that a label that was placed on the same idea as self-government?

Hans Eicholz

You mean in terms of the independence of the people, autonomy? Yeah, it depends on what dictionary you’re looking at, of course, but certainly, that comes in. Are you asking when does it come in? Well, up until, oh, gosh, I’ve got the dictionary entries here, you could take a look at them. But, up until the Civil War, up until 1860, actually, the only definition is of self-government is government of one’s self. And that’s how it’s actually expressed. That’s in the American context. And the other definitions, well, now, let’s see, if you look at the second edition of the American Heritage Dictionary -College Edition, you’ll see that the political independence that you’re referring to, of a people, not even necessarily that it’s democratic government, it’s just that they’re independent of anyone else’s rule. It’s there. You see that as the first definition. The second definition in that dictionary is the democratic definition. And then finally listed as archaic is “government of one’s self.” So, now exactly when that comes in or where they’ve derived that, I’m not exactly certain, but you can look that up.

David Theroux

We have time for one more question. There’s one, way in the back.

Audience Member #9

The wedge that you described early on as cutting between North and South. Had that wedge moved a little faster, or cut deeper, and the Southern States consolidated and confederated earlier, would this generation you’re talking about have been more receptive to a separatist or secessionist movement? And if so, if the Civil War had been averted, how do you think that would have affected the elimination of slavery? Would it have been more along the lines of Brazil or what do you think?

Joyce Appleby

That’s a very interesting question. Very interesting, because I’d never thought of it, but I feel quite certain that this generation would have let the South go. I think that the Constitution was just too new, and the idea of a compact of States did have a viability, an intellectual viability, which it begins to lose as people’s sympathies are associated with a nation and the nation becomes a stronger concept. I mean Calhoun says, “I never use the word nation,” and he saw the danger of that word and he referred to it as the Union. And, of course, the Union has a concept, an implication of disunion. So I think they would have let them go, and I think you’re right, I think it would have taken longer. As you know, Brazil was very late in abolishing slavery, and there probably would have been some replication of the Northern abolition, which was gradual. And there were ideas like that booted around.

At one time, the Northern legislatures actually agreed to a compensated abolition of slavery in the South, and they sent petitions to the Southern legislatures in the 1820s and 1830s with this proposition. And the South would have nothing to do with it, because by that time it was an infringement of their honor to say that this was a hideous institution that had to be eliminated. They no longer shared that revolutionary commitment which they had of seeing slavery as an evil that ought to be abolished. The new generation of Southerners for the most part, did not take that position. So I think that’s probably what would have happened. It’s very interesting to reflect on that.

Hans Eicholz

Just one little thing to add to that. I think Daniel Webster in the War of 1812, when he was a very young, early in his career as a representative from New Hampshire, not yet from Massachusetts, invoked a states’ rights argument, the implication of which led in that direction, that the North might actually secede from the South. And that’s a very interesting idea. But one of the conceptions behind the whole federal structure was that that sort of implied threat was there and gave teeth to the protective mechanism of Federalism, that it would check the encroachment of the national government or whatever powers that were infringing on their state rights. [Applause]

David Theroux

It’s interesting that we ended on that question since, as I mentioned initially, one of our speakers was going to be Henry Mayer, and about a year ago we held a seminar on the period leading up to the Civil War, and one of our guests here tonight was one of the speakers on that period, and the Civil War addresses these very issues which is something that I highly recommend.

I want to particularly thank our speakers tonight, not only for their presentations, but also for their work in making these books possible and illuminating for us - ideas and events that are with us today. Again, those of you who have not gotten a copy of Professor Appleby’s book, there are copies upstairs. I’m sure she’d be delighted to autograph copies if you haven’t gotten yours autographed yet. And I want to thank our visitors and viewers from C-SPAN2 for joining with us. We hope to see you again next time and thank you for joining with us. Good night. [Applause]

Appendix: Joyce Appleby’s Recommended Autobiographies of Early Americans

Ball, John. Born to Wander: Autobiography of John Ball, 1794-1884. Grand Rapids, 1925.

Drake, Daniel. Pioneer Life in Kentucky, 1785-1800. Reprint, New York, 1948.

Tevis, Julia A. H. Sixty Years in a School-room: An Autobiography of Mrs. Julia A. Tevis. Cincinnati, 1878. Out of print.

Ball, Charles. Slavery in the United States: A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Charles Ball, a Black Man. Lewiston, Pennsylvania, 1836.

Harding, Chester. My Egotistography. Cambridge, Mass., 1866.

Kellogg, Lucy F. “Diary” at American Antiquarian Society.

Jerome, Chauncey. History of the American Clock Business for the Past Sixty Years, and Life of Chauncey Jerome, written by himself. New Haven, 1860.

Trimble, Allen. “Autobiography,” in Old Northwest Genealogical Quarterly 9 (1906), 195-287, 10 (1907), 1-49, 207.

Cooke, Harriet B. Memories of My Life Work: The Autobiography of Harriet B. Cooke. New York, 1858.

Lorrain, Alfred. The Helm, the Sword, and the Cross. Cincinnati, 1862.

  • Catalyst
  • Beyond Homeless