J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Bullock on Polite Politics in Boston, 29 Mar.

On Wednesday, 29 March, Steven C. Bullock will speak at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston on “Tea Sets and Tyranny: The Politics of Politeness in Early America.” This presentation is based on his new book of the same name.
Even as eighteenth-century thinkers from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson struggled to find effective means to restrain power, contemporary discussions of society gave increasing attention to ideals of refinement, moderation, and polished self-presentation.

These two sets of ideas have long seemed separate, one dignified as political theory, the other primarily concerned with manners and material culture. Tea Sets and Tyranny challenges that division. In its original context, Steven C. Bullock suggests, politeness also raised important issues of power, leadership, and human relationships. This politics of politeness helped make opposition to overbearing power central to early American thought and practice.

Tea Sets and Tyranny follows the experiences of six extraordinary individuals, each seeking to establish public authority and personal standing: a cast of characters that includes a Virginia governor consumed by fits of towering rage; a Carolina woman who befriended a British princess; and a former Harvard student who became America’s first confidence man.
Steven Bullock is a professor of history at Worcester Polytechnic University. His previous work includes Revolutionary Brotherhood, a study of Freemasonry in the Revolution and early republic.

This event will take place from 6:00 to 7:00 P.M., with a reception beforehand starting at 5:30 P.M. There is $10 registration fee per person, with no charge for M.H.S. Members or Fellows. But of course all are expected to be on their best behavior.

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