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, April 02, 2014

Bullock on Politeness and Politics, 8 Apr.

On Tuesday, 8 April, Prof. Steve Bullock of the Worcester Polytechnic Institute will present a seminar at the American Antiquarian Society in Worcester titled “Revolutionary Passages: The Dissolution of the Politics of Politeness.” Here’s his précis of the talk:
Although politics and politeness seem quite distinct today, America’s eighteenth-century leaders saw things differently. A powerful tradition stretching from the Glorious Revolution to the American Revolution considered polished self-presentation crucial to exercising power, winning consent, and even limiting authoritarian rule. This paper considers the end of that vision, the dissolution of the connection between government and gentility in the Revolutionary years, through an examination of a range of evidence including Jefferson’s critique of slavery and the Adamses’ discussion of women’s rights.
Steve Bullock is most widely known for Revolutionary Brotherhood: Freemasonry and the Transformation of the American Social Order, his study of the Freemasons’ movement in early America. He’s been examining eighteenth-century manners and their political implications from many angles, including studies of the notorious imposter Tom Bell and the hot-tempered colonial governor Francis Nicholson.

This seminar series is co-sponsored by the history departments of Brown University, Clark University, and the University of Connecticut. This session will begin at 5:00 P.M. in the Elmarion Room of the A.A.S.’s Goddard Daniels House at 190 Salisbury Street, and will be followed by dinner in Worcester for interested attendees. If you plan to attend, please email Paul Erickson at the society no later than Monday, 7 April. That would be only polite, after all.

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