Junto March Madness Nominations Open

JMM15It’s March here at The Junto (and, um, the rest of the world), which means it’s time for our annual March Madness tournament! By now you probably know the drill: you nominate, we bracket, and voting begins to establish a champion. Last year’s tournament can be found here: Michael Jarvis’s In the Eye of All Trade beat out a number of strong competitors to finally triumph in the tournament of nerdom.

Each year there’s been a twist, and this year is no different.

This time around, we’re limiting entrants in the competition to primary sources. We wanted to expand on some of the pedagogical posts we’ve had here at The Junto, and to host a competition that will foster wide discussions about how we as historians go about researching and teaching.

Nominations open today and close on Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST. Check out the rules below and then add your nominations and seconds in the Comments section. Then, by the power of The Junto‘s bracketologists, we’ll put together tournament brackets, announce the brackets, and open it up for your votes starting next Monday.

The Rules

1) Here’s how we’re defining “primary sources” for the purpose of this competition: any primary source that is easily available online, published in an edited collection, or reproduced in a scholarly journal. You should not nominate primary sources that are only available in manuscript form. The point of this limitation is to create a giant list of primary sources for research and teaching that are easily accessible to everyone.

2) All nominations must be made in the Comments section of this post.

3) If would be helpful if, in your nomination, you included one line about each of the sources you’re nominating, given the fact that this will be a broader exercise than usual and some sources won’t (and shouldn’t!) be familiar to everyone (I’m looking at you, non-British-Atlanticists–we need your nominations!).

4) We ask that you nominate a maximum of three primary sources that have not yet been nominated. You may also “second” the nomination of three other primary sources that have already been nominated. If you were going to nominate primary sources already mentioned you may do so and they will be tallied as seconds.

NB: Essentially, each voter can nominate and second up to six primary sources but only three can be new nominations. Given the number of comments posted last year, it would be helpful if you explicitly stated which of your primary sources count as nominations, and which count as seconds. (To see if one of your choices has already been nominated, go to Edit->Find in your browser and type in the name of the primary source.)

The Disclaimer

Like last year’s tournament, this is all meant to be taken in a spirit of fun. This tournament is not meant to bestow any kind of value judgment on individual works. If anything, it may be a reflection of the “favorite” primary source of our readers; but that should not be thought of as implying that it reflects what our readers or this blog think is the “best” primary source. Last year’s competition inspired lots of interesting and entertaining conversations, and this year we’re hoping to hear from even more of you. Please feel free to join in in the comments, or to use the Twitter hashtag #JMM15.

Junto March Madness 2015 Schedule

March 2nd-4th: Reader Nominations

March 6th: Announce Brackets

March 9th & 11th: First Round Voting

March 16th & 18th: Second Round Voting

March 23rd: Round of 16

March 26th: Quarterfinals

March 30th: Semifinals

April 6th: Final

Our nominations

By the power invested in me by my fellow Juntoists, I hereby offer my list of nominations to start the competition.

The Relación of Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: a sixteenth-century narrative of Spanish exploration and (attempted) conquest in present-day Texas and Mexico.

David George, “An Account of the Life of Mr. DAVID GEORGE, from Sierra Leone in Africa; given by himself in a Conversation with Brother RIPPON of London, and Brother PEARCE of Birmingham,” (London, 1793-1797), in Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century, ed. by Vincent Carretta (Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1996): an account by a former Virginian slave who ran away to live among Creek Indians, joined the British in the American Revolution, became a Baptist preacher, and moved out of the colonies to live in Nova Scotia and then Sierra Leone in the war’s aftermath.

“From George Washington to Major General John Sullivan, 31 May 1779,” Founders Online: Washington’s instructions to Sullivan for the summer campaign of destruction against the British-allied members of the Six Nations.

79 responses

  1. Benjamin Thompson, _New England’s Crisis_ (Boston, 1676), in _So Dreadfull a Judgment: Puritan Responses to King Philip’s War_, eds. Richard Slotkin and James K. Folsom (Hanover and London: Wesleyan University Press, 1978), 207-234. In his epic poem on King Philip’s War, Church personifies different towns who sing of their losses, as well as including distinctly mock-heroic descriptions of the setters’ futile defense.

    Roger Williams, _Key into the Languages of America_ (London, 1643).

    _The Broken Spears: the Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico_, edited by Miguel Leon-Portilla (1962; Boston: Beacon Press, 2006). Amazing narrative and lyric texts from indigenous sources.

  2. Nominations: Virginia Resolves Against the Stamp Act (Patrick Henry et al) — House of Burgesses Resolutions against the Stamp Act in 1765. Several that were initially passed were rescinded, though still published in newspapers and helped to spur political and popular protest against the Stamp Act.

    Harriet Jacobs/Linda Brent “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl” — A woman’s account of her life as a slave, running away, and hiding for ten years in an tiny attic before escaping northward.

    The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

    • Second the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin – the very first “primary source” I ever read and the one that probably made me an early American history enthusiast!

  3. Nominations:

    Continental Congress, “The Declaration of Independence,” (Philadelphia, 1776). Perhaps the most important founding document in the history of the United States.

    John Baker Holroyd, 1st Earl of Sheffield, “Observations on the Commerce of the American States,” (Philadelphia: Bell, 1783). Sheffield bristles with anger over the liberal peace terms granted to the United States and the humiliating prospect that Parliament might grant the U.S. “most favoured nation” status if it passes William Pitt’s bill, “The Provisional Establishment and Regulation of Trade and Intercourse between the Subjects of Great Britain and those of the United States of North America.” Overall, the document offers a wonderful view of how many in Great Britain viewed American independence.

    Elkanah Watson, “Men and Times of the Revolution: Memoirs of Elkanah Watson,” Winslow C. Watson, ed. (New York: Dana & Company Publishers, 1856). Elkanah Watson was in the right place at the right time to witness important events of the American Revolution. As an apprentice & later factor of the Brown Brothers of Providence, RI, Watson embarked on a journey from Rhode Island to South Carolina, remarked about the state of revolutionary America and slavery and then went to France and England where he met Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and witnessed King George III recognize American independence. Rumor has it that he helped secret drafts of what became the Treaty of Paris 1783 across the English Channel.

  4. 1. _Generic Names for the country and people of the United States_ 1803 You’ll never teach the cultural history of nation-building the same way again. And you’ll never feel more like a Fredon!

    2. Mathew Carey, _Advice and Suggestions to Increase the Comforts of Persons in Humble Circumstances_ 1832 For when you feel like teaching about how poverty gets moralized how Franklin’s maxims go mainstream.

    3. _A Popular Catalog of the Extraordinary Curiosities in the National Institute_ 1859 Pick a page and talk about the porous boundaries between art and science, natural and artificial, technology and culture, and dozens of other false dichotomies that defined nineteenth-century American culture.

    This exercise is a great idea, btw. Nicely done! I could imagine brackets organized around social, cultural, political, and economic. But I do wonder how to pit the kind of printed ephemera you can use in any single class period against something like Frederick Douglass’s Narrative.

  5. Nominations:

    Mason Locke Weems, A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General George Washington (1800), available here from the University of Virginia. A great way to discuss the legacy of the Revolution, the creation of the Washington mythos, and the culture of the Early Republic. Also has myth-busting potential in chapter 2, if that’s your cup of tea.

    Thomas Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia, available in a facsimile edition from Dover Publications and online from the Documenting the American South project at UNC-Chapel Hill. The source provides lots of fodder to discuss depictions of Natives, ideas and plans for colonization, and as a bonus has amazing images from the engravings of Theodore de Bry (based on the John White watercolors).

    Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God, published by Bedford/St. Martin’s as part of the Bedford Series in History and Culture. Like Hariot, it provides considerable room to discuss Native-English interactions, English identity, religion, and — for me at least — some local Massachusetts history.

  6. Nominations:

    William Moraley, The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley, an Indentured Servant, 2nd edition, edited by Susan Kleep and Billy G. Smith, Pennsylvania State Press, 2005.

    a complicated and complicating view of “the best poor man’s country” in the early 18th c.!

    Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier: Some Adventures, Dangers, and Sufferings of Joseph Plumb Martin (orig. 1830)

    JPM’s memoir is now the indispensable source for understanding day to day experience of ordinary soldiers in the Revolutionary War.

  7. Farish, ed., Journal of Philip Vickers Fithian, 1773-1774: A Plantation Tutor in the Old Dominion

    Paine, Common Sense

  8. I second the autobiography of Ben Franklin, the de Vaca, and the Harriet Jacobs narrative, and I would add the Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls convention on women’s rights in 1848. My other nominations are Thomas Phillip’s journal of his time as a slave trader on The Hannibal and Frederick Douglass’s first narrative.

  9. May I nominate:
    1) The Deposition of Robert Roule (James Axtell, ed., “The Vengeful Women of Marblehead: Robert Roule’s deposition of 1677,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 31, no. 4 (October 1974), 647-652. It’s a great way to get students thinking about gender and Anglo-Indian violence at the end of King Philip’s War (which of course persisted until 1678 in Maine).

    2) Bernard Rosenthal, ed., A Record of the Salem Witch-Hunt (Cambridge, 2009)–all the legal records of Salem carefully transcribed and annotated. Kind of amazeballz.

    3) Barry O’Connell, ed., A Son of the Forest and Other Writings by William Apess, a Pequot (UMass, 1992). A lovely collection of the writings of William Apess. Very teachable, A Son of the Forest (1829, 1831) is autobiographical, as are portions of The Experiences of Five Christian Indians of the Pequot Tribe (1833). His Eulogy on King Philip (1836) is rousing and a great way to think about Indian experiences in the Removal era.

    May I second Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Roger WIlliams, Key to the Language in America, and Broken Spears?

  10. I’ll go for personal favorites rather than canonical choices.

    Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Delivered at New North Church in Boston… May 9th, 1798. Illuminati everywhere!

    William Manning, The Key of Libberty (also written in 1798). A rare political manifesto by a relatively ordinary farmer. Late eighteenth century meets Occupy Wall Street. Later published in an edition edited by Michael Merrill and Sean Wilentz.

    1721 Catawba deerskin map. It appears online here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/15/CatawbaMap1721.jpg (second image) It was a map made by the Catawba for SC governor Francis Nicholson. It can be used to challenge western preconceptions about geography and cartography, especially in tandem with some of the excellent recent scholarship on Native geographies.

  11. Nominations (my “greatest hits of American constitutional and political thought, 1776-1787”; not including any documents already named by others above):

    (1) John Adams, “Thoughts on Government” (1776), combined with [John Adams], Resolution of the Second Continental Congress authorizing colonies to form new state constitutions, 20-25 May 1776, and [John Adams et al.], “The Constitution and Frame of Government of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts” (1780). A distilled introduction to the prevailing tradition of state constitution-making by its grand-master.

    (2) Oscar and Mary Handlin, eds., THE POPULAR SOURCES OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY: DOCUMENTS ON THE MASSACHUSETTS CONSTITUTION OF 1780 (Harvard U. Press) — a ground-up view of the people of a state forming their own government.

    (3) James Madison, NOTES OF DEBATES IN THE FEDERAL CONVENTION OF 1787 — yes, I know, too often used as a source of ore for originalist interpretation, and badly so, but still an amazing primary source in that it opens a window on how American politicians thought and argued about the theoretical and practical dimensions of constitution-making.

    (4) George Mason, “Objections to the proposed Constitution” (1787) — a brilliant, distilled critique of the Constitution by one of its most trenchant critics.

    (5) Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, THE FEDERALIST: OR THE NEW CONSTITUTION (1787-1788) — still a brilliant exposition and defense of the proposed Constitution though not as influential as some have thought.

    (6) John Jay, AN ADDRESS TO THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW-YORK (1788) — should always be assigned and read with THE FEDERALIST, distilling the arguments that Jay did not get to make as an author of THE FEDERALIST. My experience: students often come to admire John Jay greatly because of his reasonableness and diplomacy.

    (7) William Maclay, Diary, 1789-1791 — one of the best and most enlightening diaries of American politics, ever.

    If I am limited to three, then use nos. 1, 5, and 7 above.

    • I feel like a damn fool:

      * James Madison, “A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments” (1785), coupled with [Thomas Jefferson], “The Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom (1779, 1786)

  12. Nominations:

    -Abigail Adams letter to John Adams, March 31, 1776 – the “remember the ladies” letter; a proto-feminist answer to the Continental Congress


    -Lord Dunmore’s Proclamation – the royal governor of Virginia’s promise to free slaves who rebel against their patriot owners

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunmore%27s_Proclamation (full-text reproduction within)

    -Alexander Hamilton, “First Report on the Public Credit,” articulating the assumption of states’ debts and helping ignite political factions in the new republic (among other effects)


    Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence
    Paine, Common Sense

  13. I nominate Alden T. Vaughan, ed. Early American Indian Documents, Treaties, and Laws, 1607-1789, the whole multi-volume set! They’re invaluable for any Native American history course for allowing students to locate their own sources for research projects. I also scan sections of one volume for college-level “DBQs.” They are, simply put, fantastic.

  14. Nominating what has been most useful to me in the classroom:

    1) Henry Drax’s Plantation Instructions, which were in the WMQ and which I wrote about for The Junto.

    2) Nathaniel Bacon’s Declaration in the Name of the People

    3) ‘The Natural Tie Between Master and Apprentice has been torn asunder’, which is my favorite source for exploring class dynamics and generational dynamics and the market revolution.

    I’ll Second nominations of the Federalist.

  15. Nominating

    ‘The Journals of the Continental Congress 1774-1789’

    ‘Adams Family Papers’ (Massachusetts Historical Society)

    ‘The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion. (1861-1865)’. Report prepared by the US Surgeon General after the war detailing all sorts of useful information about the war. Examples of wounds & surgery, medical practices during the war, even casualty numbers and types of wounds received.

    https://archive.org/details/MSHWRMedical1 I’m linking to the first part, but there are really six volumes.

    I second the following:

    The Joseph Smith Papers

    The Joseph Plumb Martin memoir (not only extremely useful to see through the eyes of a private soldier but very entertaining as well)

    The 1721 Catawba map.

  16. I would like to nominate the letters between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson as contained at this location: http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/livingrev/religion/text3/adamsjeffersoncor.pdf
    Many of them can also be found at the Online Library of Liberty.

    Speaking of this library, I submit The Works of John Adams at this site: http://oll.libertyfund.org/people/john-adams

    My third nomination is for the Declaration and Resolves of the First Continental Congress at the Avalon Project. http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/resolves.asp

    I would like to second any and all nominations of Joseph Plumb Martin’s autobiography as well as the The Journals of the Continental Congress.

    I really was looking forward to this annual event and I love the choices. Consider running one on websites or blogs at some point.

  17. Nominations, based on infrequently teaching the early American survey:

    – MD Act of Religious Toleration (1649), available in the Massa & Osborne documentary reader “American Catholic History,” and elsewhere
    – Diary of WIlliam Byrd of VA, selections (1710s) in Documenting Intimate Matters: Primary Sources for a History of Sexuality in America and elsewhere
    – Judith Sargent Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes” (1790)

    – Jacobs, “Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl”
    – Douglass, “Narrative of the Life”
    – Rowlandson, “The Sovereignty and Goodness of God” (since Sarah Osborne’s World made a splash in last year’s competition)

    I’m not even an early Americanist and I find choosing just 3 so difficult. Game on!

    • I must second Byrd. Crazy and unappealing though he undoubtedly is, it’s a fantastic teaching source.

  18. I nominate:

    1. Graham crackers.

    2. Jean de Brébeuf’s Relation, 1636; Jesuit Relations v. 10.

    I second Apess and Hariot.

  19. Repost– with links:

    1. _Generic Names for the country and people of the United States_ 1803. You’ll never teach the cultural history of nation-building the same way again. And you’ll never feel more like a Fredon!

    2. Mathew Carey, _Advice and Suggestions to Increase the Comforts of Persons in Humble Circumstances_ 1832. For when you feel like teaching about how poverty gets moralized how Franklin’s maxims go mainstream.

    3. _A Popular Catalog of the Extraordinary Curiosities in the National Institute_ 1859. Pick a page and talk about the porous boundaries between art and science, natural and artificial, technology and culture, and dozens of other false dichotomies that defined nineteenth-century American culture.

  20. Has anyone mentioned Jonathan Edwards, *Sinners in a Hands of an Angry God?* yet?

    I also second The Infortunate

  21. Some nominations to think more expansively about what early America entails:

    1. Richard Ligon’s _True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados_ https://archive.org/details/mobot31753000818390

    2. The Taylor Manuscript, abridged, edited, and published in David Buisseret’s _Jamaica in 1687_ http://www.amazon.com/Jamaica-1687-Manuscript-National-Library/dp/9766402361

    3. William Cowper’s “The Negro’s Complaint”

    I second any nominations for bad poetry.

  22. Nominations connected with Great Lakes Region history

    1. Narrative of Mr. John Dodge during his captivity at Detroit (orginally published in 1779)
    One of the most engaging captivity narratives from the Midwest

    2. The Journal of J.L., of Quebec, merchant (by John Lees in 1768)
    Gives a detailed account of the perils of Great Lakes travels in the colonial period

    3. The John Askin papers
    Contains many documents important to the early history of the Great Lakes region

  23. Ugh. Historians and their texts!

    Let’s broaden our notion of sources a bit. (Super disappointed I can’t embed images here.)

    Peter L’Enfant’s Plan for Washington City (1791)

    Paul Revere’s Engraving of the Boston Massacre (1770)

    Stowage of the British slave ship Brookes under the regulated slave trade act of 1788
    (That slave ship diagram we all use.)

    And for texts I’ll second…

    T-Paine’s _Common Sense_
    Edward’s “Sinners…”
    Abigail Adams “Remember the Ladies” Letter

  24. My apologies if I missed these nominations in the threads, but John Winthrop, “Modell of Christian Charity.” Winthrop deserves a #1 seed.

    Also, George Washington’s “Farewell Address.”

    I’ll second
    1. Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands”

    2. RB Bernstein’s nomination of John Jay’s “Address to the People of the State of New York.”

    3. The Diary of Philip Vickers Fithian

  25. We need to broaden out our types of sources. Here are a few alternatives:

    Official Seal of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1629


    And how about songs? Two that already spark discussion:

    Songsheet for “Hunters of Kentucky,” Samuel Woodworth


    Francis Gage, A Hundred Years Hence (1852)


    There are many modern recorded versions of these songs, and Hunters of Kentucky is also easy to play on the ukulele (C,G, and F, with the occasional Dm tossed in.)

  26. Great idea for this year’s tournament.

    1. Dr. Alexander Hamilton’s Itinerarium, 1744. The 18th-century Bill Bryson.

    2. Adriaen van der Donck, Description of New Netherland, 1654 (2009 Nebraska edition). Everything you always wanted to know about beavers, but were afraid to ask.

    3. The “Penn Wampum Belt.” Even if it’s not from the legendary 1682 Shackamaxon treaty, it’s a powerful text.


    Cabeza de Vaca, La Relacion.
    Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.
    Paul Revere’s Boston Massacre engraving.

  27. I nominate:

    Thomas Paine, “Agrarian Justice”

    James Forten, “Series of Letters by a Man of Colour” http://oieahc.wm.edu/wmq/Jan07/winch.pdf

    David Walker, “Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World”

    I second:

    Alexander Hamilton, “First Report on the Public Credit,”

    William Manning, “The Key of Libberty”

    Mathew Carey, “Advice and Suggestions to Increase the Comforts of Persons in Humble Circumstances”

  28. I nominate:
    1) Aristotle’s Masterpiece
    2) An issue of any 18c newspaper
    3) The Diary of Elizabeth Drinker

    I second:
    1) William Maclay’s diary
    2) Dr. Alexander Hamilton’s Itinerarium
    3) David George’s ‘Account of the life…”

  29. Huzzah to a number of the textual and visual sources above, but I have to go
    ALL MATERIAL CULTURE here. If only as a matter of principle.

    With apologies that there are no visuals, but all are easily accessible/viewed online (one of the reasons they made this list).

    I nominate:
    1) George Washington’s Dentures. A small but powerful thing: they offer compelling evidence about history of science/medicine, global trade, body presentation and comportment, enslaved people, and the founders.

    2) Paul Revere’s Sons of Liberty punchbowl. An object simply reeking with iconography about American–and British–political history, it also offers insight into how issues of class, public riot, private(ish) ritual (and alcohol consumption) shaped the coming of the Revolution.

    3) The skeleton of “Jane” from Jamestown. As a teaching tool, it can’t be beaten in terms of drawing students in for discussion of early “settlement” in Virginia, issues of gender and class related to the colonial period, and of course the did they or didn’t they cannibalism question.

    • One other good reason for nominating GW’s dentures — to show the world that although they may be wood-colored they are not made of wood.

      • Very true! And thinking of our first president eating with dentures made of hippopotamus ivory and enslaved people’s teeth v. thinking of our first president eating with dentures made of wood = two very different narratives about early America.

    • I’m going to use my third and last “second” to second the “Jane” skeleton. Though someone should please second Agrarian Justice. (I’ve already spent one precious vote on Paine.)

  30. I second the nomination for The Joseph Smith Papers. If, however, the folks at the Junto are wanting specific documents rather than entire collections, I nominate as an important document within the Smith Papers “History, circa 1832” which represents a detailed, contemporary, primary source account of the Second Great Awakening. http://josephsmithpapers.org/paperSummary/history-circa-summer-1832

    I also second the Declaration of Independence and Jacob Duche’s 1775 sermon, “The American Vine” http://anglicanhistory.org/usa/jduche/vine1775.html

    • I meant to nominate Duche’s “The American Vine” outright, as I do not think it has yet been nominated.

  31. 1. Benjamin Rush, “Moral and Physical Thermometer” (1790)https://www.princeton.edu/frist/iconography/cafephotos/cp099.jpg

    2. 18th-century magazine wrappers

    3. Richard Bingham Davis, “Poems by Richard B. Davis; with a Sketch of His Life” (1807)

  32. I’ll add votes for the Model of Christian Charity and William Byrd’s Diary. I’d also add the Richard Freethorn letter from Virginia. Works great with first year students who are away from home for the first time!

  33. Nominate:
    Madison, “Vices of the Political System of the United States” (http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch5s16.html)
    Juan Gines de Sepulveda, Spanish Journal on the Indians, 1547 (http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/active_learning/explorations/spain/spain_sepulveda.cfm)
    John Easton, “A Relation of the Indian War” (http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libraryscience/33/)

    Edwads, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”
    Rowlandson,“The Sovereignty and Goodness of God”
    Weems, A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General George Washington (1800)

  34. I nominate:

    1) Jean-Jacques Dessalines, “Liberté ou la Mort” (The Haitian Declaration of Independence), 1 January 1804, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The world’s second successful declaration of independence; the document that concluded the Haitian Revolution. http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C12756259#imageViewerLink

    2) Unknown artist, “The Pillage of Cap Français,” c.1795 at the John Carter Brown Library. Shows the aftermath of the burning of Cap Français in 1793 during the Haitian Revolution. http://www.brown.edu/Facilities/John_Carter_Brown_Library/remember_haiti/places_pillage-du-cap-francais.php

    3) Toussaint Louverture, “Colonial Constitution of Saint Domingue,” 1801. This document demonstrated Louverture’s increasing autonomy as governor of the colony and inspired Napoléon Bonaparte to send an army to regain control over the colony.

  35. I nominate (all of available in print and via google books):
    – James Stephen, War in Disguise; or, the Frauds of the Neutral Flags (London: C. Wittingham, 1806) – wonderful take on geopolitics and maritime tricks in the Greater Caribbean during the eighteenth century
    – M. Rafter, Memoirs of Gregor M’Gregor Comprising a Sketch of the Revolution in New Granada and Venezuela, with Biographical Notices of Generals Miranda, Bolívar, Morillo and Horé, and a Narrative of the Expeditions to Amelia Island, Porto Bello, and Rio de la Hache, Interspersed with Revolutionary Anecdotes (London: J.J. Stockdale, 1820) – great biographical sketches of some of the most famous South American revolutionaries; also very transnational in scope, taking the reader from northern South America to the US South
    – William Walton, Present State of the Spanish Colonies, including a Particular Report of Hispaniola, or the Spanish Part of Santo Domingo (London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1810) p very important account (produced to inform the British and US public) of the early phase of the independence wars in Spanish America

    I second:
    – Ligon’s history of Barbados
    – León-Portilla’s Broken Spears
    – Toussaint Louverture, “Colonial Constitution of Saint Domingue,” 1801.

  36. I nominate a mix of manuscripts and material culture:

    1. The Diary of John Quincy Adams: 51 volumes of a life that spanned from the Revolution to the antebellum era, exceptional in exposing the vulnerability of the man (and the union) that produced it. See: http://www.masshist.org/jqadiaries/php/

    *For a specific entry (so difficult!) look at JQA’s soul-searching, post-Amistad entry on 29 March 1841 to serve as the “Spirit unconquerable” needed to continue crusading against the slave trade: http://www.masshist.org/database/viewer.php?item_id=1893&pid=15

    2. Samuel Sewall Diaries, 1681-1729: Merchant, magistrate, Salem witch trial judge, conflicted Puritan: this diary has it all, and covers the interior and exterior contours of change as New England transitioned from Puritan to Congregationalist life and governance. A provocative record of God’s will wrapped around a very personal history, Sewall’s diary is a good example of how Puritans interrogated the meaning of their own lives in the New World. See: http://www.masshist.org/collection-guides/view/fa0243

    3. Winslow Homer, “The Veteran in a New Field,” 1865: JMM invites plenty of excellent founding-era and antebellum selections, but let’s also discuss when “early America” ends. Here’s one idea. This eloquent visual comment, painted in the summer and fall of 1865, highlights a lone figure (of indeterminate age/race) returned to seasonal labor, perhaps as a metaphor for the dawn of Reconstruction. To me, its title–and the figure’s open, planted stance–seems deliberately ahistorical: determined to look forward from early America, rather than reminsisce on recent events, in order to heal Civil War wounds. See: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/67.187.131

  37. I second:

    Dessalines, Haitian Declaration of Independence, January 1, 1804

    Rafter, Memoirs of Gregor M’Gregor

  38. Nominate:
    Thomas Skidmore, Rights of Man to Property
    The Drunkards Progress [http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Drunkard%27s_Progress_-_Color.jpg]
    James McCune Smith, The Destiny of the People of Color (1843)

    James Madison, Vices of the Political System
    David Walker, Appeal
    Manning, The Key of Libberty

  39. I nominate some New Mexico History/Spanish Borderlands sources:

    “Declaration [of the Indian, Juan. Place on the Rio del Norte, December 18, 1681],” in Charles Wilson Hackett, Revolt of the Pueblo Indians of New Mexico and Otermín’s Attempted Reconquest, 1680-1682.
    Spanish interviews of Pueblo Indians involved in the Pueblo Revolt

    “Letter of governor and captain-general, Don Antonio de Otermín, from New Mexico, in which he gives him a full account of what has happened to him since the day the Indians surrounded him [September 8, 1680]”
    New Mexico Governor’s report on the Pueblo Revolt of 1680

    Lincoln’s Spot Resolutions, calling on Polk administration to identify the exact spot where American blood had been shed in 1846. Important challenge to declaration of war on Mexico

  40. Civil War era represent.

    Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave.

    Currier & Ives, South Carolina’s ‘Ultimatum’ (1861). Simply the greatest political cartoon in antebellum American history. “I’ll be ‘blowed’ if I don’t fire.” http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3a19458/

    Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural (1865). The best & most interesting speech ever given by an American president. http://www.ourdocuments.gov/doc.php?flash=true&doc=38

    Haitian Declaration of Independence
    David Walker’s Appeal
    Winslow Homer, The Veteran in a New Field

    • Just realized Walker’s Appeal and the Haitian Declaration have already been seconded. If they’re already locked in, let me second:

      Tocqueville, Democracy in America
      Skidmore, Rights of Man to Property.

  41. Nominate:

    1) From colonial Cuba, 1812 judicial testimony of José Antonio Aponte, free man of color, artist, & leader of slave rebellions, in which he describes his (now lost) work of art known as “book of paintings.” Transcribed and digitized by sociologist Jorge Pavez Ojeda:


    2) Another from colonial Cuba, arrest report and declaration of Juan Nepomuceno Prieto, July 1835. Nepomuceno was a free man of color and leader of an Afro-Cuban cabildo (mutual aid association). In the deposition, he talks about religious objects he owned. Useful for students studying the history of Santería in particular. Transcribed and digitized by historian Henry Lovejoy:

    Click to access h-lovejoy-juan-prieto-arrest-report-20121.pdf

    3) Guaman Poma de Ayala’s Nueva Corónica y Buen Gobierno, c. 1615, from colonial Peru. The entire chronicle of Inca history, with all of Poma de Ayala’s illustrations, is available online with helpful transcriptions and annotations:


  42. I will focus on material culture and witchcraft, which will surprise none of my friends.

    1. Joseph and Bathsheba Pope valuables cabinet, made by James Symonds, 1679, Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, http://explore-art.pem.org/object/american-decorative-arts/138011/detail. The Popes were Salem Village Quakers whose testimony helped to convict and executed three accused witches in 1692, but their nephew was Benjamin Franklin and their grandson-in-law was General Israel Putnam.

    2. Portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Freake and Baby Mary, anonymous, Worcester Art Museum, ca. 1674, http://www.worcesterart.org/collection/American/1963.135.html. This fashion-forward portrait of the wife a wealthy Boston merchant sitting on a turkeywork chair destroys the image of dull, somber Boston Puritans while showing the importance to them of family as well as hierarchy.

    3.Chapter 5 of Increase Mather, Remarkable Providences: An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious Providences (1684). This is widely available, in print in Burr’s Witchcraft Narratives, and on-line at several sites including the Hanover History Project at: https://history.hanover.edu/texts/matherrp.html Focusing on stone-throwing demons, the chapter provides a very different view of early New England witchcraft. In particular, the description of events in the Hortado family (pp. 37-8), a disturbing case of domestic abuse that is hidden by witchcraft accusations.

    And, I would like to second the Deposition of Robert Roule, as well as the Salem witch trials transcripts (both the easily accessible and searchable electronic version at the University of Virginia, and the more recent and authoritative, Rosenthal’s Records of the Salem Witch-Hunt.

  43. I nominate:
    1. Charles Finney, “Lecture 1: What a Revival of Religion Is,” from “Lectures on Revivals of Religion” (1835) – a clear and organized view of the new measures and revivalism of the Second Great Awakening

    2. Alexander Stephens, “Cornerstone Speech” (1861) – key for coming to grips with why the states of the Confederacy seceded from the Union.

    3. Franklin D. Roosevelt, “State of the Union Address, 1941 (aka, “The Four Freedoms” speech) – Simultaneously addresses a pivotal time in American military and diplomatic history, while also reflecting on and projecting American ideals.

    I second:
    1. John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”
    2. Second Continental Congress, “Declaration of Independence”
    3. Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the 4th of July?”

  44. I feel like I waited too long to second, there’s so much cool stuff (I’m totally bringing in Graham crackers to my survey classes when we discuss antebellum reform this semester now that someone reminded me of the connection). Nontheless…


    Massachusetts Bay Colony seal of 1629
    Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (I’d be remiss otherwise)
    Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

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