Sunday, September 19, 2010

A bleg for U.S. historians

Hey, U.S. historians--

When you're teaching the intro survey, what documents or images or material culture do you use to illustrate the transition from Puritanism to Enlightenment thinking and republicanism? We've been spending a lot of time in Puritan New England, and my students are hungry for something new (as am I).

I'm looking for enlightening (ha!) sources from the mid-1700s that illustrate this shift in theology/politics/everyday life. I have a couple of ideas (e.g. comparing/contrasting this and this), but I'd like to hear what other folks use.

I should mention we've already looked at Winthrop, Mather, Whitefield, Edwards, and Puritan children/families (via tombstones, architecture, furniture, family manuals, wills, sermons, and Bradstreet).



The History Enthusiast said...

I usually assign excerpts of Thomas Jefferson's journals and Ben Franklin's autobiography.

Historiann said...

Not so much in the service of illustrating the Enlightenment as the expansion of markets and of goods in the 18th C, I show images of red slipware/salt glazed 17th C pottery and invite comparisons to fine china/teaware from the 18th C. This then is a useful segue to the Revolution, nonimportation, the Tea Party, etc., as well as a useful prop for talking about the gendering of private vs. public space (i.e. Rum and ale drinking in pubs versus tea drinking at home.)

Jeff Mather said...

Family shout-out! Woot!

Jeff Mather said...

BTW, I plan on updating the headstone "miscellany" soon. Anything that might be useful for your studies that you'd like to see?

Breena Ronan said...

I know nothing about this transition in American history, but I just want to say that those are some creepy big headed Puritans. Isn't perspective great?

IdahoBert said...

Gordon Wood's "Creation of the American Republic" is pretty good, though sort of long. Hope you're a speed reader and have a time machine too. :)