Did you know that George Washington’s favorite drink was whiskey?
Actually, it wasn’t.
Washington preferred Madeira, a fortified Portuguese wine from the island of Madeira.
Why the false start to today’s exploration of history?
Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan, leads us on an exploration of rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America.
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, Gregory Dowd, a Professor of History and American Culture at the University of Michigan and author of Groundless: Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes on the Early American Frontier, leads us on an exploration of the rumors, legends, and hoaxes that circulated throughout early America.
During our investigation, Greg reveals why early American men and women created rumors, legends, and hoaxes and how they circulated them; The role rumors played in shaping Euro-American-Native American relations; And, how early American rumor-making practices affect how we create and spread rumors today.
What You’ll Discover
- What Greg means by “groundless” stories
- How groundless stories circulated throughout early America
- Legends and how rumors become legends
- The Black Legend
- Rumors and the Winchester, Virginia Alarm of 1757
- The role rumors played in shaping Euro-American and Native American relations
- How and why early Americans and Native Americans accidentally created rumors
- Benjamin Franklin’s disinformation campaign
- The massacre at Gnadenhutten, 1782
- Moravians and Native Americans
- Why Euro-American rumors about Native Americans portray Native Americans as fierce warriors and threats to white settlement
- Whether early American rumor making affects how we create and tell rumors today
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Gregory Dowd
- Greg’s University of Michigan webpage
- Groundless: Rumors, Legends, and Hoaxes on the Early American Frontier
- Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815
- Alan Taylor, The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution
Episode 056: Daniel J. Tortora, The Anglo-Cherokee War
Episode 060: David Preston, Braddock’s Defeat
Episode 079: James Horn, What is a Historical Source/Jamestown
EpisoDe 082: Alejandra Dubcovsky, Information and Communication in the Early American South
Episode 088: Michael McDonnell, The History of History Writing
Time Warp Question
In your opinion, what might have happened if the “Black Legend” had not developed in 16th century? Would the rumors that originated and circulated in early America have been different?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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