The Long-Enduring American Fancy for British Monarchy – Vaughn Scribner

For a country like the U.S. that violently divorced itself from the British monarchy almost 250 years ago and still jealously guards its role as the arbiter of “true” democracy, modern America is surely obsessed with the British royal family. We refer to many royals on a first-name basis—Diana, Will and Kate, Harry and Meghan—which suggests some sort of intimacy with these elusive figures. We celebrate others, like Queen Elizabeth…

Environmental Studies Guide

As the effects of climate change loom ever larger in our present and future, casting an eye back through time to view how early modern and early American peoples interacted with the natural world can be fruitful. Indeed, ever since historian William Cronon published his path breaking work, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, in 1983, scholars have been examining how Indigenous, African, and…

Accounting for Life: Letterbooks, Ledgers, and the Life of Alexander Wilson – Philip Mogen

It was an August day in 1768 that the young Scotsman Alexander “Sandie” Wilson was told he would be traveling to Virginia. He had been outside with friends when he was called into his Glasgow home, sat down, and informed of the situation. “Well Sandie,” his father told him, “you must go over seas.” Several months earlier, while discussing his future, Sandie had told his father that he “wou’d like…

It’s Corruption All the Way Down – Dylan M. LeBlanc

Most of my historical subjects were corrupt. Slave-owning, slave-trading, and self-dealing government officials on the edges of Britain’s Atlantic empire, they look today like veritable icons of moral decay. Of course, today’s standards don’t matter. Historians aren’t judges of the dead. We can recognize the evils of slavery, the temptations of duplicity, and separate fact from fiction. We seek, however, to explain the driving force of our narratives without making…

Romani History is American History – Ann Ostendorf

Few Americans consider Romani people significant to the nation’s history. Unlike in Europe, where Romani people are officially counted as the “the largest European minority,” the United States lacks structures and stories that would make visible the individuals who claim this heritage. Despite this, historical sources reveal that members of this diverse diasporic community have been present in the Americas since the beginning of colonization. Famously, four “Egiptos” were sent…

A 1746 German-produced map of the Americas.

Atlantic & Global Connections Resource Guide

Early Americans were intrinsically linked to global networks of commerce, information exchange, and migration that extended around the Atlantic world–including Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and Central and South America–and to the Pacific Rim and Asia. Events or circumstances in one location, or on one continent, shaped and were shaped by those in others. The articles in this resource guide were chosen for keywords related to transatlantic cultures, and African and…

A photograph from the walls of Fort San Marcos looking at one of the corner towers

Teaching the American Revolution as a Global Conflict – Abby Chandler

Covering the American Revolution is a core expectation for teachers of early American history. I work at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, a stone’s throw from Lexington and Concord. My career began in the public history field and drawing on local historic sites is my natural inclination in the classroom. And yet my course, “The American Revolution in the World,” strays further from Massachusetts with every passing year. Now that…

The Culture of Money in Early America – Daniel Johnson

Money regularly stood at the center of popular politics in British America. A dearth of currency in England’s colonies led provincial governments to experiment with paper money beginning in the 1690s, and by the middle of the eighteenth century numerous local currencies circulated throughout the Americas. Monetary policy was a regular source of public debate, as colonial newspapers and pamphlets featured arguments over credit relations, the nature of value, and…

Quassaquanch’s and Shaumpishuh’s 1639 Map of the Connecticut Coast – Nathan Braccio

In 1639, two Algonquian sachems (leaders), Shaumpishuh and her uncle Quassaquanch of Kuttawo and Totoket, met with a few English colonists and created a map of the Connecticut shoreline that would become a site of cultural contest. This artifact is a rare example of an Indigenous map from New England–despite an Algonquian tradition of cartography. Although most of the surviving Algonquian-produced maps come from later in the 1600s, this one…