tv Lectures in History Pilgrims and History Textbooks CSPAN April 16, 2021 3:37pm-4:48pm EDT
cuban revolution through the bay of pigs invasion and a 1960 broadcast, cuba, the battle of america. exploring the american story. watch american history tv this weekend on c-span 3. ♪♪ american history tv on c-span 3. every weekend documenting america's story, funding for american history tv comes from these companies who support c-span 3 as a public service. up next on american history tv, a class from washington university in st. louis about why the pilgrims are such a prominent part of american history. hear about why historians and educators emphasize the pim grims plymouth colony over earlier settlements such as jamestown in virginia. >> the goal today is to think
about how the pilgrims and the puritans who we have been talk being all course long became such a national part of our heritage, such a puj part of our history. what happened? how did we get from the fact of their coming to these annual remembrances like at thanksgiving and to the important place of them in political speeches, reagan is calling us a city on a hill because a puritan called us a city on a hill, because the pilgrims came here and so forth. how do we get from one place to the next? the way we get there is through the work of history. so what we're going to be looking at today is after the united states becomes an independent nation, what happens to the development of historical writing, that is, how does historical writing take off? how does it focus on certain national narratives, where do they develop and what happens to maintain them and really to disseminate them to a wide population? okay? we talked last time, we talked
before about collective memory, about the idea that nations have a temporal depth, right, this idea that part of what makes a nation a nation is the idea of shared memories and part of those shared memories is forgetting other memories. forgetting other aspects of history in order to co here around a kind of story. so we talked about this whole part of collective memory and its relation to nationalism. here in a certain sense today what we're going to do is see it at work and that's what this lecture today is about. all right. so just to review where we've come from and where we are headed next, we have talked of course on american exceptionalism, definitions of it and just to review this sort of dual part to it, right, the passive sense of american exceptionalism which is a kind of model, right? so in this definition the position assumes that the u.s. has in some way achieved what other nations are seeking or that the u.s. is called to achieve and so to model to
others what other nations are seeking. but not in a certain sense to intervene, right? this is the passive model. the active model this idea that the u.s. has been sent on a mission, right? position assumes that our calling is to spread our blessings and those can be designed in any number of ways, some of the ways they get defined free enterprise and part of the idea of this course is to see then those ideas get attached to american exceptionalism. the idea is that our call is to spread these things to the rest of the world so it's more of an active sense. usually both of these senses either of these senses can include a religious sense of chosenness that we are called, that is, someone, some divinity has called us to this position or set us apart, right, to be a model. so there's often embedded in american exceptionalism is kind of religious sensibility of chosenness. what does it entail? well, on the one hand of course it entails a kind of comparative
assessment. if you say that the u.s. is unique what you're saying is i have looked at other countries, compared the u.s. to other countries and in x detail or y detail it is unique. so there is a comparative assessment that always comes in american exceptionalism. more particularly, though, for our class for what we're talking about today there's usually embedded a historical claim that is implicitly or explicitly claims about america's unique virtues or benefits usually entail claims about america's past, that is how we came who have those unique virtues or distinct national purpose in the world. this is where collective memory comes to play such an important part. this is the part of american exceptionalism we will be spending our time on today. all right. so obviously the u.s. has this revolution, declares independence, make it stick, treaty of paris, ratification of the constitution, now you have this situation. you have all these colonies which were connected immediately
to england suddenly connected immediately to each other. they are one nation. right? except that for a long time they have not really seen each other as one nation. so now you've got this problem which is how do you formulate a national identity for all these different colonies, with all these different cultures, and say we're, in fact, one nation. right? and that is the work of cultural nationalism and it's called cultural nationalism because it takes cultural work to build up a national identity. it takes cultural embedding, text and speech and civic rights and rituals to create this identity. there's three distinct ways i'm going to look at here. there's more of course that could be said, but three features in the rise of nationalism right after the revolution and the beginning of the nation that we can think about. first is the idea of mapts. that is, we can know that we're one nation if we're pictured as
one nation. what you begin to see happen in the early republic in the early days of the new nation is you see maps show up everywhere. everybody keeps drawing the map of this one nation with one set of political boundaries over and over and over. this happens, they hang it on the walls in taverns, put it on tea cups. if you are surrounded by this map of yourself in reels to all these others, right, then you will begin to perceive yourself as one with all these others. so maps become one way of thinking about a national union and a national identity. and of course part of what we're talking about here, we raised this benedict anderson before, the idea of an imagined community, how do you imagine yourself in community with people you will never meet? people that you have never met? people that you know very little about and yet suddenly you are one people with them. right? and maps are one way to imagine yourself as one people. the other thing that happens is rights. so you get the celebration of the fourth of july, for example,
and this begins to happen all over the place with civic speeches and so forth. so you in a certain sense practice yourself as one people. if everybody in all 13 colonies is practicing the fourth of july they are in effect embedding the sense of themselves as one people united across the colonies, right? so maps is one way, rights is one way and then the last way, again, the way we will focus on today, history. you write the stories of yourself as one people. you remember yourself as one people. so maps, rights and history are ways of embedding or creating a kind of cultural identity. and so unsurprisingly what you see happen is suddenly the rise of historical societies. most people don't think too much about historical societies and yet they played this really important role in the early republic. the first historical society was the massachusetts historical society founded in 1791, in
boston still today. for our purposes which is partly we're thinking about the rise of that city on a hill sermon how it went from winthrop to ray ban began, this is the society that first prints it. no puritan knew about this sermon in its own day, it was never printed, never remarked upon, no one knew that winthrop gave this sermon. there is no record of it. they find it in 1838. where do they find it? the second historical society, the gnashing historical society, that's where it still is today. they find it there and they send a copy of it to massachusetts which is the first place where it gets printed. now, what you see happening in that basic development there is something more broadly happening which is that these are societies founded to preserve american history and pass it on. why are they founded right after the revolution and the constitution? because what they're saying is american history, first of all, is a thing and, second of all,
it's a thing we ought to preserve and third of all it's so important a thing that all the other nations of the world are going to want to know our history so let's go ahead and collect it, house it, keep it, publish it. right? and that's why you begin to see these places abound. the other thing that happens with these historical societies and we are going to see a bit more of this later in the lecture is there is a kind of session nlism to them. that is to say boston and new york are not the same places, right? and boston's material is not the same material as new york and so you see the sort of early celebration of pilgrims and the puritans and so forth in boston, who do you think they're celebrating in new york? in the earliest days of this historical society? who are they celebrating? they have their big gala to open their doors and they say we want to hold it on the anniversary of what? yeah. [ inaudible ]. >> hamilton gets remembered in terms of everybody is remembering the revolution for
sure, but what do the new york foundings go back to? >> stuyvesant. >> where is stief vanity from. >> >> netherlands. >> netherlands, the dutch. their first big gala in 1809 to celebrate the two years since henry hudson and the coming of the dutch. you see the ways in which these historical societies have a regional flare to them. new york historical society begins by celebrating the dutch and they say of course the puritans and pilgrims and those people too, sure, but we are the dutch. each place begins to kind of emphasize its own history as part of the national story. right? we're going to come back to this term in a little bit but what you begin to evolve here is what one historian has called sectional nationalism. that is that my section is the sort of essential section of the nation for the nation. if you want to know about american national history you first have to know about my section of the nation. we are the most important part. and so you get that sense of
sectional nationalism. well, by the time that the american historical association is founded in 1884, 200 of these societies had been opened across the various states. and actually some of the biggest and strongest and most well-supported ones were here in the midwest. in wisconsin and iowa and such places. they really wanted to collect and know their history. the state supported these things. all right. so what's the significance of these things? well, one of the things i said is they collect the history, but even in the idea that reagan is citing winthrop's sermon what you begin to understand is that these sort of unthought of, unknown places like historical societies are all embedded in the way we tell our nation's story. so think about this, right, reagan cannot call america a city on a hill without in effect the sermon being found. how is the sermon found? historical societies keep it and find it and print it. which is to say that the
language of american politics embodies far more than just a set of beliefs or policy positions. it also contains a whole history of these libraries, these historical societies, these archives and so on. all sorts of individuals and institutions that are collected, preserved and passed on stories of our nation's past. here is the other important part to think about, though. archives as much as they preserve they also select. when these people went about founding ash dives they thought, this is important, this is not important. right? just to give you a sense of this, there is a really important early native-american intellectual leader and preacher names sam sanocum. jeremy bell knapp who found the massachusetts historical society totally dismisses this guy. he treats him with total disrespect. so his papers never end up in the massachusetts historical society. they are located later, other people come back and say, wait a
second, this guy is important, we need to collect this guy's papers. in other words, preservation is selection. preservation is just to get back to ray non's quote in remembering there is forgetting. so they they preserve and they select. and so in the choices that they make, they shape not only what we do say about america's past but what we can say about america's past because if you want to tell the story, you've got to go find the text and the records. well, all you've got are the texts and records that have been preserved, right. so this is the kind of significance of these historical societies and archives. okay. it's one thing to save everything, to preserve everything, then how does the public get to know anything? and what you see is early on what those folks are saying is, look, we're going to collect the records, keep all the stuff, and later historians can tell the story. in other words, they divided these two things, these two jobs up. they said, you know what, somebody else could put it all
together into a grand narrative as long as they've got the stuff. we're going to keep the stuff. that begins to happen. so there's a new interest in history that gradually rises. in each decade from 1790 to 1830, historical works including historical fiction accounted for a quarter or more of america's bestsellers, climbing to a peak of more than 85% in the 1820s. the 1820s is when you see this true burst of interest in american history. in addition to that, you have new state laws. so the state laws are not only that people have to go to school but that when they go to school, they have to study american history, right. so there's already this kind of push on the state level to study history. because of the state laws, because of the burgeoning population, you have tons more students. so this is a handy little statistic to demonstrate this. in new york alone, the number of schoolchildren grew from 176,000 in 1816 to 508,000 in 1833.
that's just 17 years later. yeah, 17. so that's enormous growth, right, of just pure number of students. and unsurprisingly then the market for new american history textbooks suddenly booms, right. so gross sales of american-produced textbooks from 1820 to 1855 increased from 750,000 to 5.5 million. outperforming the nearest genre of books by over five to one. that is textbooks are what's selling in early america. of course that includes more than just history textbooks, but history textbooks are a big part of this genre. well, if you bright a textbook, you've got to decide where you are going to start. where does the story of america begin? and remember, this is the question we asked on the first day of class, where do you begin the story of america? what's the origin of america? and we looked at a variety of different answers to that
question that a person could come up with, right. you could start with native americans, columbus, jamestown, mayflower, the declaration, the revolution. remember that each of these answers has an implication about what you mean by america, right. each of these answers, if you start with native americans as the beginning of america, you've got a much broader sense of diversity, of all the people who ever lived here, unbounded by any certain political geography or boundaries, right. columbus means that america as we know it today begins with europeans encountering native americans, or the discovery from the european point of view of america. the jamestown answer, of course, emphasizes english roots to however we define america. and the declaration, of course, is the nation. then we asked this question about how come the pilgrims and puritans are on the list at all. we hear the story every
thanksgiving. yet, when we come to think about this as an origin of america, it doesn't make a lot of sense. they're not the first people here. they're not the first europeans here. they're not the first english people here. they're not the first english settlement here. what makes them a kind of origin? well, one of the reasons why they become this sort of influential and important origin is because they could be used to give america a sort of noble identity or a noble cause. so we hear that the pilgrims came for freedom or for god or for self-government or for all three of those things, and because they came for those reasons, that's what america stands for ever since, right. and because that kind of language could be given to the pilgrims much more easily than it could be given to, say, jamestown, then jamestown gets sort of moved aside or erased or ignored so that we could start with the pilgrims and be committed to these things as our
essential identity. and so what you see often happening is that you get this kind of contrast built in. well, when the pilgrims came, it was unlike when the spanish came. what the spanish did was total horrible. what the pilgrims did is they came for this, right, that's what defines america. or you could say, well, yeah, i mean, people came to virginia, but i mean, that was just a -- those are people -- were sort of bad settlers, right. and that's not what america stands for, that's not the true origin of america. that happened, but the real origin came just a little bit later. and so you get this way of talking about american history so that identity and origin are mixed up in purpose. does that make sense? all right. other other reason we get to talk about the pilgrims as an origin of america is because the people who write the textbooks happen to be mostly from new england. this gets back to the kind of sectionalism built into national history. by 1860, new england was only
10% of the u.s. population. but it was roughly half of all textbook writers. that dominance gave them a key role in shaping the story of america that would come out. and this is going back all the way to the puritans themselves. the puritans themselves would frequently write history and write history of themselves and of new england. so this was a long tradition in new england of writing histories. from the 17th century well into the 20th century, new england dominated american historical writing. why dee we talk about the pilgrims and puritans so much? the people who write history mostly come from new england in the 19th century. that's one -- one sort of reason. all right. so then you get these massive commemorations of the pilgrims. and we looked at these slides before. i'm going to go very quickly through these. but this is just to remind you these sorts of images, these sorts of poems begin to emerge
en masse in the 19th century. felicia hammonds' landing of the pilgrim fathers in new england and the last stands -- call it holy ground, the soil where first they trod, they left unsustained what there they found freedom to worship god. you get the sense in which the coming of the pilgrims began something totally new in the world. and what that newness was had to do with religion, religious liberty, civil liberty, all the ways you can put together freedom and god began with the pilgrims and the puritans in new england. this thing totally new. and so of course you get also all these paintings, right, that celebrate them. we looked at these paintings before. what we saw, this sort of religious dimension. that the light -- the heavenly light shaning on the mayflower -- shining on the mayfloor compact or the civil liberty where it's with each other, the pact, the idea of self-government in the mayflower. or the noble and heroic and yet domestic and agricultural sense
of origins. and of course these other sort of famous, the landing of the fathers, the fathers, our fathers are the beginnings of our people. and of course all the way up through 1914, the first thanksgiving and images of a kind of peaceful settlement, right, to be contrasted with others. you also get these pilgrims society. what the new england society and pilgrims societies do, basically we talked about if civic rights are one way to build a national identity, civic rights can also be one way to spread a regional identity. so you get new england socieies developing in new york and charleston and all over the place, and what they are is basically everyone from new england gets together, especially if you're wealthy and male, and you get together and celebrate the fact that you're from new england. and how are you going to celebrate the fact that you're from new england? you're basically going to remember the pilgrims. that's how you celebrate the fact that you're from new england. and so they would have these elaborate feasts in december to
celebrate pilgrim landing and the mayflower compact and so on and so forth. every december, they'd get together and celebrate anew their pilgrim origins. here's one certificate of membership in the pilgrim society. so you get this sort of contrast, always this sort of contrast. the wilderness, the developed town, the native american before, the english civilization after, coming with pilgrims, right. all right. so commemorations become all important. just to make sure that we're -- it's not -- we're over emphasize, there's lots of commemorations going on. think about what else is being commemorated in the 1820s. in 1825, you commemorate bunker hill. 1826, 50 years since the declaration of independence. anyone know who dies same day? >> john adams.
and incredibly famous guy -- thomas jefferson. >> that incredibly famous dude. yeah. july 4, 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the declaration of independence, john adams and thomas jefferson, old arch rivals, second and third president, both die. and you have all of these speeches celebrating, of course, the revolution, the declaration, right. so commemoration through the 1820s is a big, booming business. when there are speeches and memorials and commemorations all the time. this is again the building of a public history, right. memorials and monuments are super important. it's how people makes their identity and remembers it in all of these civic rituals, in all of these ways of sort of building a cultural identity. well, one of those commemorations happens in 1820 because, of course, it's 200 years since the landing of the pilgrims. so one thing to keep in mind is up until 1820, the pilgrims were
celebrated, but mostly in new england. that is, if you're from charleston, you're like the pilgrims who? like, why -- why is this important to me, right. and by 18 -- in 1820, partly through the work of this guy, daniel webster, the pilgrims start to become nationalized. they start to become a kind of national origin story. and this speech that he gives in 1820 is one of the ways that begins to happen. so daniel webster, anybody remember who daniel webster is? you guys cover daniel webster before? you feeling daniel webster? okay. this guy was super important. major orator, senator, right. he's -- his sort of infamy is that he signs off eventually in 1850 on the fugitive slave law. and doing that, he becomes the great trader of new england, and that, of course, leads to uncle tom's cabin in 1851, right. so that's sort of where he ends.
he dies in 1852 shortly after that. in 1820, he's very much on the rise. he's this very important senator, speaker, house representative, lawyer. he's super important on various supreme court cases throughout this period, and he's known as sort of the great orator of the north. so he's the great speechmaker of the north. so if you have the big commemoration ceremony, you're going to ask the best speaker to speak. and of course, he does -- he does his job. what he does is basically he rewrites the history of america through the pilgrims. and what he does is he imagines the spread of their virtues, what they gave us, et cetera, transmitted from heir to heir to heir to the pacific. he does both of those things in this speech. he closes by imagining the voice of acclimation and gratitude commencing on the rock of
plymouth, transmitted through millions of the sons of the pilgrims until it loses itself in the murmurs of the pacific seas. he gives this incredible oration. one person says it was like his face was shiny like the gods, you know, like moses, and he's -- my whole head was going to explode with the rush of excitement. john adams read this speech and says, this is the best speech he's ever read. he says it's going to be read 500 years from now. it should be red at the end of every year. should be reread, sent to the schools. of course, it does end up getting sent to all the schools. so one of the things you have, as well, is the sense in which the pilgrims are the origin of america because as they say in this -- as he says in this speech, the moment they arrived, democracy arrived with them. the moment they arrived, christian institutions came with them. and so you see this sense of an origin as a kind of pure origin. the moment of arrival as the sort of key step, the key beginning in the whole history
of america. and he, of course, sketches that forward all the way to the present day. what you see after that is the spread of all the stuff through education, all right. and education is this importance way of thinking about how do you get ideas from someone like just a speaker and a speech like webster's to a much broader population or public, right. well, one of the ways you do that is through education and through textbook. and one of the first sort of histories of america, even though's this sort of pilgrim-centered history of america, is webster's. and so what you begin to see happen is webster's speech is sent to schools, mainly in new england. but schoolchildren read it, they memorize sections of it, they recite it. this is how they come to know their history. so this is one of the sort of important moments transmitting his version of america to a broader population.
all right. so what we're going to talk about for a little while now is this sense of the importance of education in this period. so one of the things that happens -- this is really important to think about, okay. the founding fathers, people like daniel webster, those folks, what they often said, even arch rivals like john adams and thomas jefferson agreed on this, is that liberty and learning go hand in hand. that basically you will not be able to maintain liberty in a republic if the people themselves are uninformed. and so this is the idea they keep talking about called an informed citizenry. you've got to have an informed citizenry. if you don't have an informed citizenry, the whole experiment is going to collapse, okay. let me give you a vivid example of that. there's a guy named ebeneezer,
great name, and he's sort of -- working with jeremy bellknap, founder of the mhs, to collect state archives. he writes a letter, the continental congress, says we've got no archives, nothing to collect these papers, no place to house them, no place to publish them, no place to keep them. if you help me out, i'll go do that work. continental congress considers his letter and grants him $1,000, which is a lot of money in those days, to go do this. and it also says to all the sort of state representatives along the way, look, help this guy out, make copies of records, copies, by the way, are hand copies, right. ebenezer hazard is going to make these things and copying them out by hand, right. but think about that -- it's 1778. the american revolution is not yet over. the treaty of paris is 1783. basically in the midst of the war itself, continental congress is like, we need to give a federal grant for historical archives to keep these papers.
that's one of the things they're thinking about. when the massachusetts historical society is founded, it's chartered as a public utility like your gas. they're thinking about this stuff as public utility, as essential benefits, as absolutely necessary for the maintenance of liberty. liberty and learning went hand in hand for these people. yeah, zac? >> what was the continental congress getting on this kind of thing -- >> that's a good question. the other thing we don't know is whether the $1,000 got from the continental congress to ebenezer hazard. where is the money coming from, right. but the point is they take this letter and said, this is important, we need to support this. all right. here's basically webster's point to that effect. he says, we confidently trust that by the diffusion of general knowledge and good and virtuous sentiments, the political fabric may be secure, as well against
open violence and overthrow, as against the slow but sure undermining of liscentousness. everybody doing what they want. one of the important things to consider is webster is a wig. and webster as a wig does not trust the mass population, right. and so here you can see the sort of mentality of saying, look, we've got to -- we've got to have learned leaders, but we also have to have informed citizenry, and we can't just let everybody do whatever they want. that's -- that's a sure way to end this thing in disaster. all right. one of the questions to think about here is to what extent that still applies. to what extent do you think a kind of informed citizenry is necessary for the maintenance of liberty or democracy or any of
the rest of it? i don't want to spend too much time thinking about this because in a certain sense it's a broad question. it's the kind of question that leaders often think about, and there's lots of different ways to go. if there's a general kind of sense of what you guys talked about, i'd love to hear some of the sort of immediate thoughts that you had in relation to this question. can democracy survive without an informed citizenry? if it requires informed citizenry, what is needed, what should education includes? should that education include history, and if so, what kind of history should it emphasize or include? we'll go over the immediate thoughts you guys have or gut reactions to these questions. yeah? >> we kind of talked about how with democracy, something that's essential is like the government having the consent of the governed to be a government. and like part of that consent is education about what people are voting on, what people -- like their civic duty is in that
sense. and so at least at the bare minimum there needs to be education about like the things, how people can participate in the democracy, a lot of that comes from the development of the like american democracy. so that was kind of what we were talking about. >> so basically classes in civics or like the school of house rock -- how does a bill become a law, right. or basically how do you go about participating in this thing we have called the government. yeah, zac? >> we agreed that education is important for the survival of american democracy. i think kind of had two big points. the first is that, you know, we don't have democracy every yes in the world. there's something that's going on here that's working. and we need to be able to recognize what that is, why it's working, and what would be the sign if it was starting to fail or erode. and for us, we talked a lot about the constitution. and first thing that people think about when they hear the constitution is the bill of rights. don't get me wrong, i'm a big fan, the bill of right is great. the constitution is a lot more
than the bill of rights. there are a lot of things in the constitution that protect individual liberty and freedom. we talked about like checks and balances, separation of powers, a bicameral legislature, federalism, all of those things we think are crucial to america. >> again, everybody should read the constitution and figure out how this thing is supposed to be put together. rachel? >> we also talked about how like there's a general saying that when you don't talk about history, like it repeats itself. people forget certain things. i think especially given like the timing, like the american revolution, like they were trying to preserve these things, like nobody ever thought they would win. so the fact that that was so important to them that they wanted to preserve like certain aspects of their history i think shows that they really didn't want what had happened, like the tyranny and like king george and all of that stuff, they didn't want it repeating itself. and like we still talk about that today. but today things are -- like the citizens are formed very
differently. people read the news on their phone, and that's what they base their decisions off. i think there's like this idea that we have to keep history alive, but it's just kept alive in a very different way today. >> yeah. thinking about the way people inform themselves today, right. we're very aware of misinformation now. the idea that you could -- it could be fake article or fake whatever on facebook, right, and i'm not going to say fake news because there's real news that is really done by real experts and so forth. anyway, but this idea that information and misinformation do go hand in hand. this is true back then, too, thinking about how do you trust a source, right. maybe one of the things people need to be educated in is how do i know when to trust a source. how do i know when to trust what i'm hearing, right. think through that kind of scrutiny. jacob? >> people must be made to understand that if you want to
be an informed person, then you must take responsibility to be informed, to read many books, many articles, sit down with a cup of coffee and just start reading, don't complain about it, don't make excuses to weasel your way out of reading because if you do, then you're useless. you do the work and put in the effort, then you know, it's just all talk. >> right. i think one of the other things your point is raising is what is the balance of responsibility to be a citizen and the systems and structures we can have so as to inform people as they're growing up and becoming a citizen in this nation, what kinds of systems or structures are in place? to think about there simply, in the air that we're talking about, common school becomes state law.
they're beginning to think about what are the basic things that everybody has to know, right. well, as you begin to pass the laws that send people to school, you've got to begin to think about what they ought to be learning in those schools. these are the kinds of questions that they're shaping at this particular moment. one more? >> yeah. what we were talking about is the idea of what deserves to be taught, that like american history -- of course we should know american history, more so than world history, even though i don't know -- i think i had the expectation that other people understand american history. like you just expect that other people know whereas i don't know anything about the structure of parliament. like that's not something i feel like i'm expected to know. >> right. >> but that like part of the reason why we want an informed citizenry is for voting and like electing people into office. and part of that is that they make foreign policy decisions. >> yeah. >> but i feel like it's not an understanding we have to like oh if we're deciding on our opinion on like what to do with this country, then we should know that country's history. >> right. >> it's like just our own
history. >> right. right. part of the -- you get a lot of articles about our misinformation, our lack of knowledge about the middle east in interventions that have been made in the middle east, right. just understanding the kind of culture that's are there in the various expectations that they have, right. but thinking through what you're saying about -- one of the ways that think about civics, right -- so one thing is we could sea everybody should understand american civics, like american government. how it works and so forth. you could also say, well, everybody ought to be able to think about civics in general by looking at the varieties of ways that governments work. because that might actually enable you to have some scrutiny of the american civic system. and i want to just use that example to think about -- we talk about perry miller a bit before, and the kind of influential role he had. this historian of the puritans in mid 20th century. he also wrote about education. and i just want to use his -- his sense of this tension here
to think about one of the tensions that sort of underlies some of these questions that arise about what should be taught. so he says one of the goals of education in american society is often the sense of diffusion. that is of making accessible, of bringing knowledge out to people. so communicating to people, training people up. education aims at the diffusion of information, the making of good citizens. a profound -- his quote -- profoundly democratic conviction that the schools should be so conducted as automatically to produce exactly what america wants. so if america wants more workers, schools should be the place to train those people to be more workers. this sense in which the schools produce what america needs or wants, this diffusion. he said that's intention with this underlying sense of what education is basically about which is discovery. that is the sense of which education exists not just to pass things on or to produce whatever it is that society already says it needs to produce, but to find out what we
didn't know. in doing so, educations has often faced the task -- his words -- of bestowing reputation among unreputable ideas that he couldn't ignore. educators do not just replicate society, they also change it. this gets back to the question of it's one thing to say every student should learn american civics so as to participate in american civil society. another thing to say every american should learn to set american civil society next to other civil societies in order to scrutiny the best way the good should be run, right. the first of those is kind of a sense of diffusion. we ned to train up citizens in the society. the second is a sense of discovery. we need to to figure out what is the best possible system of government which means nothing is free from scrutiny, right. however much we might honor it. that's, i think, one of these senses. all of this matters because what we're talking about in this current -- this moment in the early 1800s is the idea of the
increase of schooling, the increase of education, the rise of textbooks, and this general sense of what are those textbooks going to includes. what are they going to educate people in? how to they produce the kind of informed citizenry that they need? which brings us to emma willard. how many people have heard of emma willard? anyone from new york? emma willard, anyone? troy, new york. no? a shame, a shame. so emma willard. this is great actually because i expected that, and i want to introduce you to emma willard. so who was she? she was this very innovative teacher, school founder, proponent of women's education, and textbook writer. she was so famous in her own day -- first of all, the textbooks that she wrote sold over a million copies which is a good payday, right. so even though she founded this school in troy, new york, right near albany, today called the emma willard school, it still
exists, very good school. what she became most known for were her textbooks. the history of the united states was reprinted 53 times over 45 years and translated into german and spanish. she was so well-known that when she died in 1870, her death was reported. she had on, bit weavers in baltimore, brooklyn, boston, charleston, chicago, new york, philadelphia, san francisco, and several other cities and towns. everybody knew emma willard. her ideas for female education, she wrote this plan for female education which she presented to the new york state legislature in 1819 called "the plan," basically, for short. and that's what sort of galvanized them. and event this led to the school she founded in troy. but she sent that plan all over. in bogota, in colombia, they founded a seminary called a seminary school on her model. and all over the place. she was active in trying to get one established in athens,
greece, as well. she was internationally famous, too. so i've been to the emma willard school because i went there to read all of her papers, all of her letters, the stuff that -- there's a great archive of her papers there. this is just -- when you walk into the library at the school, this is just a single copy of all the different editions of the books that she wrote. these are all by emma willard in this cabinet. so what's her argument for female education? i want to kind of lay out the argument real quick, and hen show how it relates to these common concerns of the era. her argument was basically that female education would not only make the nation great, it would make the nation last. willard called on patriotic countrymen to follow her advice and establish a broad system of women's education in the consideration of national glory. what she was basically saying is, look, if you leave women only the gentile arts, only homemaking, whatever, you're basically uneducating half the
population -- you're leaving half the population as uninformed citizens. we need a fully informed citizenry that includes the women. now what this argument reveals which we don't -- we need to think more about, right, is this -- first of all this sense -- there were a lot of people still in the 18 teens and 20s worried about whether this american republic was going to last. look, all they had was the republics of history, and all of those republics had not lasted, right. so mostly what they were thinking about is how do we make this last as long as possible before it doesn't last anymore. and basically what emma willard wants to say is you make it last longer by educating the women. by making a fully informed citizenry. and so lots of people saw education as absolutely essential to make the republic last. now, she's influential in the
model of female education that she develops, and that spreads throughout the nation through her pupils who go and found schools themselves across the country. that's one thing to know about her. i'm not going to dwell on that. what i want to dwell on is her sense of history, how she goes about writing history. one of the more famous things that she does is she brings to textbooks visualization. think about the textbooks that you guys had in high school or whatever. you remember they had giant maps of america and colored parts for this -- this kind of colonization, colored for that colonization, that group living there. developing the sense of history through maps. she starts that. so what she basically wants to say is by the visual students can grasp so much more of american history, so much more quickly. in fact, she's so committed to this idea of just grasping the
visual history of america that she tries to figure out how can i make a single image that will be the whole history of america up to the present day. and this is the image she comes up with. a tree. okay. so a couple of things to notice about this tree. first of all, you see left and right, it's the same kind of imagery you got on that membership in the plymouth society. the sort of so-called native wilderness beforehand, english town settlement after, right. so it's this -- the sense of that kind of chronological development that she wants to tell. what does each branch of this tree then do for her? well, what it does for her is it establishes a turning point. and you'll see, i'll show on the next slide that a lot of this tree basically maps on to her table of contents. and what she wants to say is if you know the turning points of
history, you're 90% there. the rest is filler. basically if you know the key moments, everything else that happens in between the key moments is, you know, you'll -- it's fine, right. and so what are the key moments? well, of course, here it's very hard to read, i know. i'm going to read it. this is columbus' discovery, right, 1492. this is gilbert's patent. so these -- this beginning of exploration. and then here is 1620 pilgrims landing. what's missing from the tree? what's not there? >> jamestown. >> jamestown, right. we're not going to talk about the south, right. there is not a turning point in history. so even though it is the first permanent english settlement in america, for her it's not a turning point. it's not a thing that every pupil has to remember, the beginning of jamestown. instead, what every pupil has to remember is the beginning of
plymouth, pilgrim landing, the mayflower. what you get between 1578 and 1620 in her textbook is a whole bunch of accounts of basic explorations and discoveries, including the spanish and the portuguese and the english and others, dutch and so forth. basically jamestown is -- gets wrapped up with the kind of finding of america. you found america, you began america with the pilgrims. and that's how you can build into history all these turning points that allow you to move chronologically but assert origins at different moments. now, i told you before i was going give away my example. i gave my example aaa couple of weeks ago. 1643, does everyone remember now what the confederacy was so important in the 19th century that everybody remembered it, it was this turning point in history, the 1643 confederacy, and nobody remembers today? what happened in 1643?
we talked about there two weeks ago. who united? who came together? what confederation? yeah? >> it was -- wasn't it like some of the new england colonies to fight against the native american -- >> correct. four new england colonies come together in 1643. they say we're going to unite for our common defense. of course this becomes in the 19th century one of the key turning points because it is one of those moments of union between the colonies that's prefiguring or looking forward to a much broader union of colonies that's going to come in 1776, right. so -- so people are celebrating 1643 in the 19th century. today we don't remember it at all. this is how we think about public memory, cultural memory, changing over time. it doesn't remain static. collective remembering is a dynamic thing. some things are remembered in one generation, forgotten in
another generation, as unimportant. all right. so here you see the table of contents. and i just want to draw your attention to here because this, again, draws out the sense not just of confederation but also the importance to emma willard of textural history. that the confederation of the compacts are these various important texts that get written over time. so why is 1620 an important what she calls epoc in american people history? landing of the pilgrims at plymouth after having found on board the frame -- framed on board the mayflower, the first written political compact of america. the first written political compact of america. if you call something first, you can in a sense erase anything that has happened before by simply calling something "the first." also what's essential here is that she is the -- the written compact. that's what matters. and again, this prefigures a
written political social compact that's going to come later to frame the nation. these are how the stories of the nation are being written. so just to review then. what do these epocs and origins allow her to do? each break can be a possible beginning. effectively what it allows her is to say, yes, i'm moving chronologically through american history, but here are the moments to dwell on. here's the origin of something new at each of these key turning points. columbus is a second to himself. then the first epoch is this -- all these discoveries, jamestown is in the era of discovery, but it's not in the era of the first political compact of america, right. that starts with the pilgrims. all right. what does she say about these pilgrims? when they come, this is what she writes about them -- on no part of the history of the united states perhaps we may say of the world does the eye of the philanthropist rest with more interest than i on the account of the little devoted band now commonly spoken of under the
touching epilation of the pilgrims. they have a higher cast of elevation than any who have before sought the new world as a residence. keep in mind how often we've seen this, right. hello? stay with us, electricity. so this idea of moral elevation, right. they came here unlike anybody else, right. everybody else came for gold. these people came for god. this basic sense of contrast. the hope of gain was the motive of former settlers, the love of god was theirs. and their character and in their institutions we behold the germ of the love of liberty. i want you to think about this for just a second. the germ of that love of liberty. there's built into this idea a sense of germs or of seeds that mature. and we're going to see that again in toqueville next week. the germs or seeds, that a nation is what it is in infancy and grows into what it was plan
ed as. and equality of man fully developed in the american constitution. there is the origin -- the pilgrims. you can see the way she's establishing that. so i said that she's very famous for introducing maps into american history. here you can see how it works. this is her introductory map. what's noteworthy is it's not called the first map of american history. it is the introduction -- the first map is next. the second one. so the introductory map is just basically a bunch of native americans, right. so you can see the way in which this kind of history makes native americans into the backdrop against which the story begins. they're just part of the setting. this is just the setting. it's the introduction. this is what the world looked like before it began, right. you can see the way in scl this
kind of history maps very well to the beginning of enesis. anyone know who genesis begins? anyone here? spirit hovered over the void, right, then god said let there be light, right. there is the sense in which there's a void or a vacant land or an emptiness that is just waiting for order, waiting for something to arrive. that's how a lot of these 19th century histories of america are written so that you begin an introductory map and a kind of chaos, turbulent waters in a certain sense, of all of these native american tribes moving all over the place. there's no sense that any of these native american tribes owns that part of the land or possesses that part of the land, or that you even be evicting them or, you know, taking over what they -- because -- this is just void and movement, right. ? an important map for -- this is an important map for thinking of how histories incorporate native americans as a setting or
backdrop, so that the first map begins here -- again, gilbert's patent patent, 1578, and begins with a written text, the patent, right. which is then inset on the map. this is where you get the coming of the pilgrims then, the second map. you get the mayflower compact up there -- the arrival. and you get gradually more and more settlement on the east coast. so you get the pilgrims land at plymouth, and then notice here, right, so between the maps -- we've looked at how she erases jamestown from this history. more or less. she talks about them, but only in the sense in which they're not a founding, right. well, that also means they're not going to appear on any map. 1578, they're not there yet. they can't be on the map. 1620, they're already there, but what does she say -- this is -- ship arrived in 1619, close enough. she paints on the map a dutch ship with negros from africa purchased by the colony of
jamestown. so insofar as jamestown appears on any map in our history it appears as associated with slavery. which is why it's not -- she doesn't want it to be a turning point in american history. if it's the turning point in american history, you can't not talk about slavery. but if you say that the pilgrims came here for freedom, then you can first of all ignore the fact that pilgrims and puritans in new england had slaves, which they did. and second of all, you can say that that whole slavery business is not part of the essential identity of america. that happened down south. the real origin is up here with this morally elevated crew of people who came. so these histories are creating the kind of national story that's doing important kind of culture work in creating that sense of a national identity. incidentally, i was listening to lectures about the american revolution which i do when i run
sometimes, sorry, i'm very nerdy that way. but they were talking about jefferson's draft. of course the declaration of independence versus what eventually happens. and of course this very famous elimination, he charges the king of having forced them into slave trade. and there are people in congress who feel a little tender about that, right, especially folks from georgia don't really want that in the declaration of independence. so they take that stuff out. but what jefferson says about this is that it wasn't just southerners who wanted that removed. it was northerners who wanted that removed because why, they're the sea merchants who are making so much money on the slave trade. so when we think about slavery as a southern institution, we're forgetting the fact that it was very much a northern institution, too, in particular through these merchants and sea vessels. but also in the fact that it existed in puritan new england. all right. so these maps go on and on.
and you get to this point, and you can see just -- let me give you this sense. there's a lot of maps between here. but i just want to give you the sense of the gradual ordering, right, so if you think about, again, to go back to genesis, what you have is void and by the end of creation order. now look at these maps. here's the introductory map, then the first map, the second map, and series of other maps, and then this. you have this gradual sort of development of order out of chaos in the sense of the history. so this is 1789, the constitution. and of course one of the notable features of this map is where's the western boundary? oops. so you get the sense of a map that is not yet done being written. you also get the sense that built into these puritan roots or pilgrim is a maturation that
needs to continue, that needs to continue expanding. that expansion is sort of natural to what it is. that when you come with a kind of morally elevated purpose of freedom, liberty, et cetera, et cetera, that the natural thing for it to do is expand. and you see that built into webster's speech. you see that here. what's so interesting is that in a certain way, the rhetoric cakes over the speaker. because the wigs were not necessarily expansionists. the democrats were, but not necessarily the wigs. in fact, the annexation of texas, there were new englanders really opposed to it because they thought it would give too much power to the slave powers. in other words, expansionism was not just a given in this culture. there were a lot of people opposed to or questioning the idea of american expansion. and yet when they turn to this rhetoric of puritan origins, of pilgrims origins, of why they came, of this morally elevated
rhetoric, webster kind of can't help himself but see it spreading to the pacific. why would you not want that thing that's so good to spread, right? that's what it has to do. that's its sort of natural trajectory. all right. so then that brings us to this guy, george bancroft. i told you the big prize in american history, if you win the big prize in american history it's called the bancroft prize after this guy, george bancroft who wrote ten volumes of u.s. history over the course of 40 years. and at the beginning, the major authority on american history. and his account of the pilgrims come is very much like willard's, gives you a sense of what is happening to this narrative as it's being developed. so this is again -- this is a bancroft quote, "as the pilgrims landed, their institutions were already perfected.
democratic liberty and independent christian worship at once existed in america." think about that as this sort of incredible origin story. what that sort of ignores is the fact that pilgrims and especially puritans are working out church/state relations over the course of many years. there's nothing automatically formed when they land. they have to work it out. but working through all these sort of messy developments over time does not offer you a clean break, right. last week you guys were reading roger's about exceptionalism. and one of the versions of exceptionalism is a clean break. so the past is the past. this is something totally new. here you get this sense of a clean break. this sense in which the moment they stepped ashore, everything was set in place. and all that could be done then is for it to grow. or for it to mature or spread. so you get this -- through
scenes of gloom and misery, the pilgrims showed the way to an asylum for those who would go to the wilderness for the purity of religion or the liberty of conscious. just think about -- we read reagan's farewell address at the beginning, right, how many echoes of reagan's farewell address are already built into this language. this is 1834. in the history of the world, many pages are devoted to commemorate the heroes who have besieged cities, subdued provinces, or overthrown empires. in the eye of reason and truth, a colony is better offering than a victory. the citizens of the united states should cherish the memory of those who founded a state on the basis of democratic liberty. the fathers of the country, the men who as they first trod the soil of the new world scattered the seminal principles of republican freedom and national independence. notice that by the time of bancroft, this is what the pilgrims are -- republican freedom and national independence. they are the origins of that. so this is the way in which the pilgrims begin to become
nationalized at this moment into a story. and we're going to talk in two weeks, we're going to read sullivan beacher and other documents that think of the other part of the willard's map, how we get from the story to the spread of the story and what's the relationship between american exceptionalism and manifest destiny. and ideas such as that. all right. let me leave it there for just a second and ask if there's any questions about any of this that you guys want to talk about. just to review on some of these important points -- it takes cultural means to build a history. a history doesn't just happen. it has to be written by somebody. it has to be spread in some kind of means. that could be speeches, it could be memorials, it could be textbooks, it could be any number of things. but it doesn't just happen. it has -- there has to be these cultural intermediaries. and if the cultural
intermediaries are from a certain section, highlighting the importance of that section to the nation becomes one of the crucial features of that. so if all the historians were from jamestown, what would our american history look like now? most of the historians were from new england. so this idea of the importance of the mayflower becomes crucial to the whole thing. any questions, any thoughts, any comments about all of this history business? textbooks business. yeah? >> do you think like the domination of the kind of pilgrim/puritan narrative over at jamestown was a conscious effort, or do you think that was -- it just kind of happened naturally? >> i think two things. one, this idea of a kind of local pride. so one of the things you see happening is new england is not only losing out on population, but they're losing out on political significance. four out of first five
presidents are from the south, from virginia. so they're not getting the political significance they feel they deserve. so in a certain sense they can give themselves the national significant of the history, right. yeah, the presidents come from down there, but the nation comes from up here. what it really stands for comes from up here. you see this sort of -- there's a kind ofcosm compensation. she has a section called "bad set settlers" and that's about. i think there's something conscious about the idea that she doesn't like what they did down there. if america stands for that, then that's not really a nation you want to stand for yourself, right. so if you could kind of talk about it in a way to move on from it and ignore it or say, you know, that's -- that happened, but that's not what we really -- that's not the krurnl thing that happened, right, the
origin is really up here, yeah. >> if the textbooks had been written by southerners, the ardent supporters of slavery, do you think they would have consciously left out the jamestown narrative because it would seem pretty hypocritical. >> who knows, right? those counter-factuals of thinking about what -- what if the south had this writing culture of history and north didn't? what would have changed? how would it look differently? it's hard to know, right? but the fact is, you know, one of the reasons why the puritans became such a -- in my mind fascinating culture is partly because they wrote everything down. like they were just incessant about writing, right. including their own history, but records, church records, everything, right. and within a decade of the puritans coming, they've got a printing press. because this is crucial to them. they've got a college and a printing press within a decade of getting here. a decade. that's like crazy, right?
this doesn't happen in the south. and so one of the reasons, there's just so much more written. and if you're looking for the sources, perry miller says -- i started with the articulate beginning, and it was articulate because it was written down basically. he's conscious when he says virginia doesn't matter, the puritans matter. why do they matter? because they wrote it down. that's the sense that he thinks about them because they wrote, right? all right, any other last questions or comments for today? okay. i want to leave a little time to hand back your papers. we'll wrap it up. we'll regular douglass on thursday and get into toqueville next week. >> week nights we're featuring american history programs as a preview of what's available every weekend.
tonight milton jones recalls his experiences as a u.s. marine during the vietnam war. he talks about his initial reluctance to serve in vietnam and his journey in the caisson. part of "vietnam war oral histories" by the kenyon research center for the veterans history project. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. eastern, and enjoy "american history tv" every weekend on c-span3. american history tv on c-span3, every weekend documenting america's story, funding for "american history tv" comes from these cultures who support c-span3 as a public service. is "american history tv" on c spa 3 exploring the people and events that tell the american story every weekend.
60 years ago this weekend, more than 1, 4, 00 cia-trained cuban exiles launched a failed invasion to overthrow fidel castro's communist government in cuba at the bay of pigs. live saturday at 9:00 a.m. eastern on "american history tv" and "washington journal." we'll look back at the zinvation and its consequences with formula cia historian nicholas dumacich. and on "real america," four films on u.s.-cuba relations, an edited version of the 1961 nbc report "cuba: bay of pigs." president john f. kennedy's 1961 speech after the failed invasion. a compilation of universal newsreels from 1959 to 1961 on the cuban revolution through the bay of pigs invasion. and a 1960 broadcast, "cuba: the battle of america," exploring the american story. watch this weekend on c-span3.
up next, a conversation with the author of the book "penelope winslow, plymouth colony first lady: reimagining a life." ms. winslow was from english nobility and plymouth county's governor. the massachusetts historical society hosted this event and. >> reporter:ed the video. -- provided the video. >> we have a special event this evening. we'll explore the life of plymouth colony first lady penelope pelham winslow. a woman of influence during the eventful year of plymouth's existence through wartime and the end. its independence. our speaker is michelle marquetty-kaufman, author of "the life and writing of chandler." and the book she'll be speaking on tonight, "penelope winslow: reimagining a life." she served as curator for pilgrim hall