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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Thursday, September 22, 2022

John Dickinson Symposium in Philadelphia, 20–21 Oct.

To celebrate the publication of the first volumes of The Complete Writings and Selected Correspondence of John Dickinson, the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia is hosting a free “John Dickinson Symposium: New Perspectives on the American Founding.”

This symposium will begin on the evening of Thursday, 20 October, with a plenary address by Jack N. Rakove: “John Dickinson, Political Conscience, and the Dilemma of the Moderates.”

The panel discussions scheduled for the following day show the wide range of issues Dickinson addressed and contributions he made:
  • Jelte Olthof, “John Dickinson: Pluralist and Orator”
  • Helena Yoo, “Letters from Before He Became a Farmer: John Dickinson’s Transatlantic Correspondence”
  • David Forte, “‘Like Lightening thro the Land’: John Dickinson and the Freedom of the Press”
Matters of State
  • Charlotte Crane, “Contribution and Representation: John Dickinson’s Contributions to the Fiscal Design of the Emerging Federal Government”
  • Charles Fithian, “‘A System, concise, easy and efficient’: John Dickinson’s Version of von Steuben’s Regulations for the Delaware Militia, 1782”
  • Nathan R. Kozuskanich, “‘A Certain Coldness in my Presbyterian Friends’: Dickinson and the Pennsylvania Radicals”
Social Justice
  • Jon Kershner, “‘Nature Planted Them in this Land’: John Dickinson’s Quakerly Diplomacy and Indian Concerns”
  • Kevin Bendesky, “‘Defending the Innocent & redressing the injurd’: The Criminal Jurisprudence and Penology of John Dickinson”
  • Jane E. Calvert, “Black Freedom and Its Limits in the Thought of John Dickinson”
Gender and Social Concerns
  • James Emmett Ryan, “John Dickinson and Public Education”
  • Rebecca Brannon, “John Dickinson and Aging”
  • Nathaniel Green, “‘From a Common Stock of Rights’: Human Rights and Political Power in John Dickinson’s America”
And that doesn’t even get into the man’s songwriting.

Two years ago, after the very first volume of Dickinson’s collected writings appeared, the Library Company of Philadelphia hosted a smaller, online event. But of course late 2020 was a time for online events. This symposium is the first time these scholars will be gathered in the same place.

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