Why do we refer to the men who founded the United States as the “founding fathers?”
Why do we choose to remember the American Revolution as a glorious event that had almost universal, colonial support when in fact, the Revolution’s events were bloody, violent, and divisive?
Today, we explore our memory of the American Revolution and how our memory of the event and its participants evolved with Andrew Schocket, author of Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with a historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode, we explore our memory of the American Revolution and how our memory evolved with Andrew Schocket, author of Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution.
During our exploration, Andy reveals what historical memory is and how historians study it; How presidential candidates evoke events of the American Revolution and the founding fathers; And details about how books, television shows, movies, and historic sites depict the American Revolution and the founding generation.
What You’ll Discover
- The digital humanities and the work performed by “digital humanists”
- How computers assist historians with their work
- How digital tools helped Andy write Fighting over the Founders
- Historical memory and how historians study it
- Two points of view that Americans use to remember the history of the American Revolution
- How presidential candidates evoke the founding fathers and the American Revolution in their speeches
- How the American desire to remember the American Revolution through organicist and essentialist views affects the writing and publication of history books
- How American museums and historic sites remember and interpret the American Revolution and the founding generation
- Hollywood’s portrayal of the American Revolution and the founding generation
- Whether the essentialist and organicist viewpoints extend to all interpretations of the American Revolution or just to American interpretations of the Revolution
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Andrew Schocket
- Andy’s Bowling Green State webpage
- Andy’s Website
- Andy on Twitter: @andy_schocket
- Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution
- The Magazine of Early American Datasets
- Episode 33: Douglas Bradburn, George Washington and His Library
Gary Nash, The Liberty Bell
Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek
Lawrence Hill, The Book of Negroes: A Novel
The Book of Negroes
Time Warp Question
In your opinion what might have happened if Warren G. Harding had not coined the term “founding fathers” in 1912? Would the loss of that term affect the way Americans talk about and remember the history of the revolutionary period?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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