The National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts, has announced an excellent lineup of Lowell Lectures for this spring. These talks will be delivered in conjunction with the exhibition “Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution.”
Saturday, 17 March, 2 p.m.
“It Rained Cats and Dogs the Day the Revolution Began: A Forgotten Story of Popular Mobilization in 1775”: T.H. Breen of Northwestern University will discuss popular 18th-century publications and how they mobilized colonists into action. Drawn from his work, America’s Insurgency: Popular Political Resistance to Imperial Rule, 1775–1776, Dr. Breen will show how a popular English publication called The Crisis served as a model for our own early press.I think that insurgency book must be what Breen’s working on now. His latest was The Marketplace of Revolution.
Sunday, 1 April, 2 p.m.
“Building the Temple of Liberty: Freemasonry and the Founding of America”: Dr. Steven C. Bullock, Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, will discuss Freemasonry in the Revolutionary era, noting its role in the coming break with England, in the war that followed, and in the new American nation that emerged out of it.The museum being a Masonic institution, this will presumably be quite a popular topic for its members. Bullock has written about the topic in Revolutionary Brotherhood.
Sunday, 29 April, 2 p.m.
“Taverns and Drinking in 18th-Century Massachusetts”: Dr. Sharon Salinger, Professor of History at the University of California at Irvine, will explore the European and English origins of the tavern and its importance in the social and political world of colonial Massachusetts. Dr. Salinger will examine the laws that controlled these establishments, the groups of people who frequented them, and the use of tavern space in fomenting revolution.Salinger is the author of Taverns and Drinking in Colonial America.
Sunday, 6 May, 2 p.m.
“‘A Decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind’: The Creation of a Revolutionary Aspiration”: A distinguishing feature of the Revolutionary War was its leaders’ determination to win freedom in a way that would earn the respect of other nations. Dr. Richard Ryerson, Senior Historian at the David Library of the American Revolution, will explore the late colonial origins of this respect, its great practical value in winning European military support, and its powerful effect on colonists’ conduct in the war for independence.Ryerson spent years in Boston as an editor of the Adams Papers.
All these lectures and free and open to the public, with the support of a grant from the Lowell Institute.
In addition, last autumn’s Lowell Lecture by Brandeis professor David Hackett Fischer on “Liberty and Freedom” is now available for downloading as an mp4 file.