American Founders’ Month continues here in Florida. Today, we take a look at one of the most influential of those women who played a role in the establishment and early days of the United States: Mercy Otis Warren.
Mercy Otis Warren was one of the most well-read and literate residents of Massachusetts in her day, man or woman. A playwright and a historian, an eloquent essayist and inveterate letter writer, she was one of the loudest voices speaking out against the failures and perceived tyranny of British government in Massachusetts and the other colonies.
American Founders’ Month in Florida continues today with a look at the Sons of Liberty. The Sons of Liberty were a sometimes controversial secret society devoted to combating what it perceived as British oppression by any means necessary.
While they may be most famous for organizing boycotts of British goods and dumping tea into Boston Harbor, they also took sometimes-violent action against people seen as serving British interests. We all recall, for example, those images from the era that illustrate Sons of Liberty tarring and feathering British tax collectors.
The Bostonian Paying the Excise-Man, 1774 British propaganda print, referring to the tarring and feathering, of Boston Commissioner of Customs John Malcolm four weeks after the Boston Tea Party. The men also poured hot tea down Malcolm’s throat
Sunday is Constitution Day, so it is perhaps a good time now to share the Founder perhaps most associated with the Constitution: James Madison. Madison is sometimes referred to as the father of the Bill of Rights, and was an influential voice in the effort to replace the Articles of Confederation with a working national government under a federal system. He, like many of the Founders’, was a man of contradictions: a believer in liberty while owning slaves, an opponent of the debt and taxes necessary for waging war and yet leading (with some good cause) the United States into an ill-advised war with the British in 1812, and so much more. He was a complex man, this Father of the Constitution. One wonders what he would make of his handiwork today.
“The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right.”
What is really exciting is that the success that Florida has had in civic education, thanks to the work of its teachers and growing out of the Sandra Day O’Connor Civic Education Act, will be highlighted on center stage!
Our celebration of American Founders’ Month here in Florida continues with a look at Benjamin Franklin. Mr. Franklin may be one of the most fascinating of the people who contributed to this country during the Founding Era. He was known for his wit, his charm, his brilliance, and yes, even his way with the ladies. He may be introduced to younger kids with the story of his decidedly unwise but ultimately legendary act of flying a kite in a thunderstorm, but truly, he was so much more than that. Take some time and check out this great DocsTeach resource on dear Mr. Franklin’s time as a politician and diplomat!
And the wonderful musical 1776 is always worth checking out for some excellent historical debates and discussions. Here, Benjamin Franklin talks about what makes Americans different from their English cousins, featuring some of the wit and charm and especially intellect and passion he was known for (relevant clip begins around :34).
Friends, as you may or may not be aware, the Florida Legislature recently designated September as ‘American Founders’ Month’. While covering material related to Founders’ Month is, at this point, encouraged rather than required (though Freedom Week is still something of a mandate later this month), we will be providing you with some ‘quick-hit resources’ that can serve as either a warm up for your class or as a jumping off point for a deeper exploration. Throughout the month, we will be sharing images/slides featuring a person or group from the Founding Era. Currently, we are planning 2 or 3 a week, on a staggered schedule. And for September 1st, we are happy to introduce the resources about the Founding Fathers available at the National Constitution Center!
The Social Science Education Consortium (SSEC) invites proposals for its 2018 Conference, which will take place in Florence, Italy from June 5-10, 2018. The conference theme is Democracy at a Crossroads: Examining the Past and Facing the Future. The deadline for submissions is October 6, 2017.
SSEC is also pleased to announce the 2018 Young Scholars Travel Award. SSEC will select four young scholars for awards of $1,000 each plus a waiver of the conference fee to support their participation in the conference. Eligible applicants include doctoral students in good academic standing and early career faculty (employed in a tenure track position as an assistant professor) in the fields of social science education and related disciplines. Travel award applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time on October 6, 2017. Please see the documents in this post for more information. SSEC 2018 Young Scholars Travel Award