Today is the day you’ve all been waiting for with eager anticipation—the official unveiling of the Junto’s March Madness bracket! Thank you to all who nominated books over the last couple of days—this whole project wouldn’t have been possible without you.
As with last year, we had an overwhelming response to our call for nominations, with over 150 books nominated, and over half of those receiving multiple nominations or seconds. Constructing the bracket from such a list was a difficult—each of us had to see books we wanted in the tournament fall by the wayside.
The shape of our brackets was ultimately decided around the following principles:
1) Seeds 1 through 8 were primarily decided according to those books which received most nominations and seconds.
2) One book per historian.
3) Books were generally assigned to brackets 1, 2, 3 or 4 based on general themes—transnational/religious history, race/Native American/gender history, race/slavery, and political history—but these were not hard and fast rules. Just as Gonzaga sometimes ends up in the Midwest in the NCAA tournament, so sometimes we had to shift books around to keep the seeding roughly in line with principle 1.
4) For seeds 9 through 16, we simply tried to create matchups that would spark discussion.
In case the principles outlined above didn’t make it clear, this is designed to be frivolous and fun. I repeat . . . THIS IS MEANT TO BE FUN. If any subfields or subtopics seem underrepresented, it is simply because the sample size of persons nominating the books was very small in relation to the size of the field. We’re not out to find the “best” book in early American history; we simply want to have fun, interesting and informative conversations about early American historiography.
So, when voting, please keep that in mind. Don’t feel you must vote for the book you necessarily think is the “best,” but the one that is your favorite of the two.
This year, we’ve also created a hashtag for discussion of the tournament on Twitter: #JMM14. Which books deserved more praise? Which are the most interesting match-ups in Round 1? Let the conversation begin!
March 17th: Round One, Brackets 1 and 2
March 18th: Round One, Brackets 3 and 4
March 19th: Results
March 20th: Round Two, Brackets 1 and 2
March 21st: Round Two, Brackets 3 and 4
March 22nd: Results
March 24th: Round of 16
March 26th: Quarterfinals
March 31st: Semifinals
April 2nd: Final
BRACKET ONE [Transnational/Religion]
2. Catherine Brekus, Sarah Osborn’s World: The Rise of Evangelical Christianity in Early America vs 15. Kate Carte Engel, Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America
3. Maya Jasanoff, Liberty’s Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World vs 14. Andrew O’Shaughnessy, The Men Who Lost America: British Command During the Revolutionary War and the Preservation of the Empire
4. Daniel Richter, Facing East From Indian Country: A Native History of Early America vs 13. Karin Wulf, Not All Wives: Women of Colonial Philadelphia
5. Brendan McConville, The King’s Three Faces: The Rise and Fall of Royal America, 1688-1776 vs 12. Jim Piecuch, Three Peoples, One King: Loyalists, Indians, and Slaves in the American Revolutionary South, 1775-1782
6. Rebecca Anne Goetz, The Baptism of Early Virginia: How Christianity Created Race vs 11. John Fea, Was America Founded as a Christian Nation: A Historical Introduction
7. Peter Linebaugh and Marcus Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra: The Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic vs 10. Eliga Gould, Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire
8. Susan Scott Parrish, American Curiosity: Cultures of Natural History in the Colonial British Atlantic World vs 9. Kathleen Brown, Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America
BRACKET TWO [Race/Native American/Gender]
1. Pekka Hämäläinen, The Comanche Empire vs. 16. Fred Anderson, Crucible of War: The Seven Years’ War and the Fate of Empire in British North America, 1754-1766
2. Catherine Allgor, Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government vs. 15. Kate Haulman, The Politics of Fashion in Eighteenth-Century America
3. Brett Rushforth, Bonds of Alliance: Indigenous and Atlantic Slaveries in New France vs. 14. Juliana Barr, Peace Came in the Form of a Woman: Indians and Spaniards in the Texas Borderlands
4. Alan Greer, Mohawk Saint : Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits vs. 13. Mary Kelley, Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life in America’s Republic
5. Susan Klepp, Revolutionary Conceptions: Women, Fertility, and Family Limitation in America, 1760-1820 vs. 12. Jennifer Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery
6. Peter Silver, Our Savage Neighbors: How Indian War Transformed Early America vs. 11. Kathleen DuVal, Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent
7. Anne Hyde, Empires, Nations, Families: A New History of the North American West, 1800-1860 vs. 10. Paul Mapp, The Elusive West and the Contest for Empire, 1713-1763
8. Linford Fisher, The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures in Early America vs. 9. Edward Andrews, Native Apostles: Black and Indian Missionaries in the British Atlantic World
BRACKET THREE [Race/Slavery]
1. Seth Rockman, Scraping By: Wage Labor, Slavery, and Survival in Early Baltimore vs. 16. Clare A Lyons, Sex Among the Rabble: An Intimate History of Gender and Power in the Age of Revolution, Philadelphia, 1730-1830
2. Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family vs. 15. Adam Rothman, Slave Country: American Expansion and the Origins of the Deep South
3. Vincent Brown, The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery vs. 14. S. Max Edelson, Plantation Enterprise in Colonial South Carolina
4. Trevor Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World vs. 13. Michael Jarvis, In The Eye of All Trade: Bermuda, Bermudians, and the Maritime Atlantic World, 1680-1783
5. Stephanie E. Smallwood, Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora vs. 12. Jon Craig Hammond, Slavery, Freedom, and Expansion in the Early American West
6. Eric Foner, The Fiery Trial: Abraham Lincoln and American Slavery vs. 11. Christopher Leslie Brown, Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism
7. Walter Johnson, River of Dark Dreams: Slavery and Empire in the Cotton Kingdom vs. 10. David Waldstreicher, Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery and the American Revolution
8. Christina Snyder, Slavery In Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America vs. 9. Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade: The Rise of the English Empire in the American South, 1670-1717
BRACKET FOUR [Political]
1. Joanne B Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic vs. 16. Michael A. McDonnell, The Politics of War: Race, Class and Conflict in Revolutionary Virginia
2. T.H. Breen, The Marketplace of Revolution: How Consumer Politics Shaped American Independence vs. 15. Patrick Griffin, American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier
3. Max M. Edling, A Revolution In Favor Of Government: Origins of the US Constitution and the Making of the American State vs. 14. Serena Zabin, Dangerous Economies: Status and Commerce in Imperial New York
4. Pauline Maier, Ratification: The People Debate The Constitution, 1787-1788 vs. 13. Terry Bouton, Taming Democracy: ‘The People’, The Founders and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution
5. Rosemarie Zagarri, Revolutionary Backlash: Women and Politics in the Early American Republic vs. 12. Holly Brewer, By Birth Or Consent: Children, Law and the Anglo-American Revolution in Authority
6. Seth Cotlar, Tom Paine’s America: The Rise and Fall of Transatlantic Radicalism Republic vs. 11. Benjamin H Irvin, Clothed In Robes Of Sovereignty: The Continental Congress and the People Out of Doors
7. Michael O’Brien, Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860 vs. 10. Francois Furstenberg, In the Name of the Father: Washington’s Legacy, Slavery, and the Making of a Nation
8. Woody Holton, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution vs. 9. Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815
And for those of you who like print-outs, you will find images below. You can download a PDF Bracket.