The time for predictions is past; the time for voting is now.
(For the entire bracket, as well as an overview of the tournament, see here.)
At the end of this post, you will have the opportunity to vote on all the first round match-ups from Brackets 1 and 2. We would ask that everyone votes just once, though we encourage you to get friends, family, and people using the computers next to you to vote as well. Voting will close at midnight, eastern time.
But before we get to the polls, The Junto has produced its very first (lo-fi) podcast (something we hope to do more of in the future) previewing first-round match-ups, hosted by Ken Owen along with Rachel Herrmann, Roy Rogers, and Michael Hattem.
Also, each March Madness post will include brief analysis on that day’s match-up. These will come in a form similar to ESPN’s “Five on Five” feature, further cementing the sports crossover, though we will not always feature five questions nor five responses. We encourage our readers to offer their own answers to the questions below, as well as any other reactions the day’s match-ups elicit. Just remember the two rules:
- The tournament is not meant to be taken seriously.
- The tournament is primarily a means to solicit discussions.
QUESTION ONE: What is the most intriguing match-up in bracket one?
Me: The obvious headline match-up is between Gordon-Reed and Genovese—two books that skillfully reconstruct the world of slaves in early America. What is interesting is they each display a different approach in accomplishing that goal: the former focuses on a single individual, which requires a lot of investigation into specific people and settings, while the latter is much more broad in sweep and requires a large grasp of the context and understanding of heterogeneous sub-cultures. Personally, I favor Gordon-Reed because it is written in a way that reaches a much larger audience, but the influence on Genovese’s opus on the field makes it very tempting.
QUESTION TWO: What is the most intriguing match-up in bracket two?
Tom Cutterham: Bailyn v Warner and Wood v Waldstreicher. Taken together, this is not just a battle between generations, but between the two classic exponents of “ideological” style and two of the most important critiques of that approach. Of course all four books are interested in public thought and political culture, and they make powerful arguments for the importance of ordinary people’s ways of thinking. If you think Habermas and his public sphere is a useful concept in early American history, you’ll be backing Warner. But for my money, Waldstreicher is the underdog whose triumph here would be most deserved. Its powerful critique of nationalism as an interpretative heuristic, and its insistence on politics and class all the way down, Perpetual Fetes is really a more important book today than Ideological Origins.
Me: How can it not be Waldstreicher vs. Wood? The latter is the founder for an entire historiographical movement, yet the former is representative of the historiographical turn against that movement. This might very well be a generational choice, but Wood might have a hard time holding up against Waldstreicher considering this blog’s demographics. (Plus, if any of us want to publish in JER in the next five years, we know who we have to vote for!)
QUESTION THREE: What is your upset pick in bracket one?
Tom Cutterham: I’d love to see Griffin going further in this thing, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, and honestly, I wouldn’t vote against American Slavery, American Freedom at this stage. Brewer is my pick for upset win: By Birth or Consent is a really important corrective to the standard view of Locke and liberalism.
Me: There are three possible upsets that I see, depending on how strong a showing the religious historians make. Both Hatch and Butler have shaped the field of religious history in early America, so I think they have the opportunity to hold up against stiff competition. But I’m more curious about Noll challenging Johnson and Wilentz; on the one hand, The Kingdom of Matthias is a classroom favorite and nearly everyone raves about it, but Noll’s American God is the religious equivalent of Woods’s Creation of the American Republic in influencing how historians consider republicanism in American thought.
QUESTION FOUR: What is your upset pick in bracket two?
Katy Lasdow: I’m hoping for a ‘ladies versus gentlemen’ upset between Parlor Politics and Affairs of Honor. Who doesn’t like a bit of intrigue, gossip, and scandal? (If you’re in Washington in the early republic, Allgor and Freeman argue, you will certainly find it!) Allgor demonstrates that female political participation through social events and alliance formation was a force to be reckoned with, while Freeman showcases how male-dominated honor culture shaped notions of gentility and governance. Will Mrs. Madison’s turban or Mr. Adams’ quill signal a surprise in Bracket 2?
Me: Depending on if the legions of grad students and young academics who look to Peter Onuf as their academic father show up or not, and putting aside the Waldstreicher-over-Wood comment I made above, I’m curious to see if Rhys Isaac can mount a surprise on Alfred F. Young. Though The Shoemaker and the Revolution was read by nearly every history undergrad as a way to understand how historic figures and icons develop over time, the sheer beauty, reach, and, dare I say it, audacity of Isaac’s classic text make it my surprise pick.
Enough jabbering; bring on the voting!
1. Edumund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom
16. Patrick Griffin, American Leviathan: Empire, Nation, and Revolutionary Frontier
8. Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
9. Eugene Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made
5. Andrew Jackson O’Shaughnessy, An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean
4. Gregory Evans Dowd, A Spirited Resistance: The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815
13. Nathan O. Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity
6. Paul Johnson and Sean Wilentz, The Kingdom of Matthias: A Story of Sex and Salvation in 19th-Century America
11. Mark Noll, America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln
7. Richard Godbeer, Sexual Revolution in Early America
10. Jon Butler, Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People
2. Winthrop D. Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812
15. Richard Brown, Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America, 1700-1865
1. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard, Based on Her Diary, 1785-1812
16. John Mack Faragher, Women and Men on the Overland Trail
8. Alfred F. Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution
9. Rhys Isaac, The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790
5. Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787
12. David Waldstreicher, In the Midst of Perpetual Fetes: The Making of American Nationalism
13. Robert Gross, The Minutemen and their World
6. James Merrell, Into the American Woods: Negotiations on the Pennsylvania Frontier
11. Peter Onuf, The Mind of Thomas Jefferson
14. Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic
7. Daniel Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America