The wait is over. For the next few weeks, over-specialized nerds across the country will huddle over their desks, pencils in hand, brows furrowed, debating matchups and predicting winners. Lines will be drawn. Disagreements will be had. Relationships may be strained. The historiographical world as we know it may never be the same again.
That’s right, the Junto March Madness Bracket has finally arrived!
This year, the bracket is focused on primary sources. Specifically, primary sources that you would use in the classroom. These could be larger edited collections, single letters, or even an engraving. This is meant to introduce readers and teachers to new pedagogical tools designed to unlock the study of the past.
A few rules guided how we constructed the brackets based on your wonderful nominations:
- We tried to break up the brackets into vaguely thematic topics. As you’ll see, some are a real stretch. However, given the nature of this year’s tournament, it was hard to find a common theme, and so we ended up being creative. Don’t judge us too harshly.
- Seeds 1-8 in each bracket were mostly decided based on our anticipation of how much support those documents will receive, though obviously this took a lot of guesswork.
- Seeds 9-16 were not based on how we felt those documents would do, but were chosen based on if they created an interesting first-round matchup that would spark discussion.
- As a reminder that we give out every year: this exercise is meant to be fun. There is no way to truly determine what is the “best” document to use in the classroom. If any document doesn’t do as well as you expect, or if any subfields or subtopics seem underrepresented, it is based on readership nomination and voting. Most especially, the purpose of this year’s tournament is to use a fun venue (March Madness) to introduce teachers to a broad array of documents that they may want to consider using in the classroom.
Related to that last point, we hope that these brackets will cause lots of discussion. Why do you think a particular document deserves to go far in the tournament? How have you used that document in the past? How do you propose to use it in the future? Your campaigning is not only meant to help a document “win,” but to provide pedagogical tools to your digital colleagues.
On Monday, when voting for Round 1 begins, we will feature paragraphs in defense of various documents that are written by Juntoists. If you would like to write a paragraph to be included as well, please email it to me at benjamin.e.park AT gmail.com. Or, you are also strongly encouraged to add your commentary in the comments below.
The hashtag for this year’s tournament is #JMM15. We received a lot of digital chatter last year, and hope it continues again.
Without further ado, behold the brackets!
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
BRACKET ONE: Political History
1. Thomas Paine, Common Sense vs. 16. Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice
2. The Declaration of Independence vs. 15. John Jay, “An Address to the People of the State of New-York” (1788)
3. Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America vs. 14. William Manning, “The Key of Libberty”
4. Abigail Adams’s “Remember the Ladies” Letter vs. 13. Dessalines, Hatian Declaration of Independence, January 1, 1804
5. Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address vs. 12. James Madison, “Vices of the Political System of the United States”
6. Alexander Hamilton, “First Report on the Public Credit” vs. 11. Frederick Douglass, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
7. The Constitution vs. 10. Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, The Federalist
8. The Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774-1789 vs. 9. William Maclay’s Diary, 1789-1791
BRACKET TWO: Slavery, Captivity, and Bonded Labor
1. Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass vs. 16. David George, “An Account of the Life of Mr. David George”
2. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom’s Cabin vs. 15. Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
3. Toussaint Louverture, “Colonial Constitution of Saint Domingue” vs. 14. Richard Ligon, True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados
4. David Walker, Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World vs. 13. The Diary of Philip Vickers Fithian
5. Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God vs. 12. James Axtell, ed., The Deposition of Robert Roule
6. Lord Dunmore’s 1775 Proclamation vs. 11. Diary of William Bird of VA
7. Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slaves vs. 10. Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, La Relación
8. Richard Freethorn’s 1623 Letter vs. 9. William Moraley, The Infortunate: The Voyage and Adventures of William Moraley
BRACKET THREE: U.S. History Superstars
1. Stowage of the British Slave Ship Brookes Under the Reguladed Slave Trade Act of 1788 vs. 16. Massachusetts Bay Colony Seal of 1629
2. Paul Revere’s Engraving of the Boston Massacre vs. 15. Elkanah Watson, “Men and Times of Revolution: Memoires of Elkanah Watson”
3. Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin vs. 14. John Winthrop, “A Model of Christian Charity”
4. Jonathan Edwards, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” vs. 13. Jedidiah Morse, A Sermon, Delivered at the North Church in Boston
5. Joseph Plumb Martin, A Narrative of a Revolutionary Soldier vs. 12. Dr. Alexander Hamilton’s Itinerarium
6. The “Stamp Act Repeal’d” Teapot vs. 11. Weems, A History of the Life and Death, Virtues and Exploits of General George Washington
7. The Salem Witch Trials Records vs. 10. The Joseph Smith Papers
8. Declaration of Sentiments from the Seneca Falls Convention vs. 9. Martha Ballard’s Diary
BRACKET FOUR: Not Rush Limbaugh’s American History
1. The Papers of Sir WIlliam Johnson vs. 16. Roger WIlliams, Key Into the Languages of America
2. 1721 Catawba Map vs. 15. Peter L’Enfant’s Plan for Washington City (1791)
3. Thomas Hariot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia vs. 14. Mathew Carey, “Advice and Suggestions to Increase the Comforts of Persons in Humble Circumstances”
4. Jane’s Skeleton (Jamestown) vs. 13. Graham Crackers
5. Generic Names for the Country and People of the United States (1803) vs. 12. Samuel Woodworth, Songsheet for “Hunters of Kentucky”
6. Barry O’Connell, ed., A Son of the Forest and Other Writings by William Apess, a Pequot (UMass, 1992) vs. 11. Benjamin Rush, “Moral and Physical Thermometer”
7. Miguel Leon-Portilla, ed., The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico (Beacon Press, 2006) vs. 10. Rafter, Memoirs of Gregor M’Gregor
8. Alden T. Vaughan, ed., Early American Indian Documents, Treaties, and Laws, 1607-1789 vs. 9. Winslow Homer, The Veteran in a New Field
You can download a .doc version of the bracket here. Images are below.
Let the games begin!