The Week in Early American History

TWEAH2Happy New Year! We took last week off while so many of us were in New Orleans for AHA, so the set of links covers just a bit more than the past seven days. From here on we should be back to our regular schedule every Sunday morning.

Lincoln, Django, Slavery, and the Civil War

I give up. These films and their related historical topics get a subheading all to themselves this week.

Caleb McDaniel reflects on “The Lives of Frederick Douglass” and the Douglass-Garrison relationship to coincide with the premiere of The Abolitionists.

At the Huffington Post, Carol Berkin explores the evangelical dimension to the abolitionist movement in the person of Angelina Grimké.

Patrick Rael compares Lincoln and Django Unchained as films about slavery in a review at The Edge of the West; Jim Oakes responds at H-Slavery and defends Tony Kushner’s separation of the issues of abolition and racial equality.

John Fea discusses his teaching of The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass while pondering, with Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic, why no one has made a biopic of Frederick Douglass’s life. I couldn’t agree more that Douglass would make for a fascinating movie subject. For now all we have is this.

Meanwhile at The New Republic, Timothy Noah argues that Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals is not the book we should think of as the source for Kushner’s now-Oscar-nominated screenplay, but Michael Vorenberg’s Final Freedom.

Edward Rothstein reviews the Library of Congress exhibit on the Civil War for the New York Times.

And if you’re hoping to hear more about pop culture and slavery in 2013, IndieWire profiles seven more films that cover the topic in the pipeline.

News and Notes

Ellen Cohn, editor of The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, eulogizes Claude-Anne Lopez, who passed away in late December.

Fake quotes abound on the Internet, especially when it comes to hot-button issues and the Founding Fathers. CNN takes a swing at explaining why they’re so popular.

You might want either some Advil or a stiff drink to accompany reading the AHA’s annual jobs report. To make a long story short, it’s better than the year of the market crash, but a mixed bag by field.

Two TV shows about the American Revolution are currently in development, reports Boston1775 – one about George Washington, and one about two men who despise Paul Revere (one assumes it’s because men who run overnight messaging services get all the girls).

And last but not least, from the You Don’t See This Every Day Department, New York City Parks workers discovered a loaded Revolutionary cannon being stored in Central Park.


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