The Last News Story of Colonial America

Guest blog post by Robert G. Parkinson, author of Thirteen Clocks: How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence What was the tipping point that pushed Americans into taking the step of declaring their independence? After all, the colonies had been at war with Britain for more than a year by the end… Continue Reading The Last News Story of Colonial America

Time to Reset Your Syllabi, Vast Early America

Guest blog post by Catherine E. Kelly of the Omohundro Institute I came to the project that would become Thirteen Clocks: How Race United the Colonies and Made the Declaration of Independence the hard way – through the college classroom. Before joining the Omohundro Institute, I taught American history first at Case Western Reserve University and then… Continue Reading Time to Reset Your Syllabi, Vast Early America

Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America

What was the tipping point that pushed Americans into taking the step of declaring their independence? After all, the colonies had been at war with Britain for more than a year by the end of the spring of 1776. The other factor most attributed to causing independence, Thomas Paine’s Common Sense, was five months old by that time. What changed in May 1776 to encourage patriot political leaders in both the Continental Congress and in many of the separate colonial assemblies to support severing ties with Britain? What produced a sudden support for independence?

The Germans were coming. Continue Reading Robert G. Parkinson: The Last News Story of Colonial America

Robert G. Parkinson: The Shot Heard Round the World Revisited

Sixty years after the battle, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a triumphant hymn to the “embattled farmers” of Concord, Massachusetts who gathered at the “rude bridge that arched the flood” underneath “their flag to April’s breeze unfurled” and “fired the shot heard round the world.” Emerson solemnized the “spirit that made those heroes dare / to die, or leave their children free.” Emerson’s imagery added to the already thick layers of mythology surrounding the events of April 19, 1775, fusing together nature and nation to craft an American pastoral patriotism. Ever since, when Americans think about the start of the Revolution, it is Emerson’s chorus—of heroic white colonists fighting to preserve their liberty—that plays in the background of this nationalist legend.

But that wasn’t how some people thought about the events of that night. In fact, race played a role in how people reacted to the Lexington Alarm. Continue Reading Robert G. Parkinson: The Shot Heard Round the World Revisited