What kind of character should Americans have? Is it possible to create a shared sense of national character and identity that all Americans can subscribe to?
Americans grappled with many questions about what it meant to be an American and a citizen of the new republic after the American Revolution. They grappled with these questions because the people who made up the new United States hailed from many different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and they wondered how do you unite the disparate peoples of the United States into one national people?
Catherine Kelly, Editor of Books at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and author of Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America, joins us to explore the world of art, politics, and taste in the early American republic and how that world contributed to the formation of American character and virtue.
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.
Ben Franklin’s World is a production of the Omohundro Institute.
As we explore this world of early American taste, Cathy reveals early American ideas about taste and how it could be used to build and shape the new republic; The ways Americans hoped taste would unify them into one, national people; And, information about aesthetic entrepreneurs, who were promoters and small business owners who attempted to capitalize on the early republican need and desire for taste.
What You’ll Discover
- The work of a historian and editor
- Vast Early America history book series
- The work of an editor of books
- The republic of taste
- How taste worked in the early republic
- How early Americans learned to develop a sense of taste
- Taste as a way to think through issues that faced the new republic
- Use of George Washington portraits to think through political issues
- National identity formation through taste
- Differences between American and British taste
- How entrepreneurs turned early republican tastes into businesses
- Life for women entrepreneurs in the early republic
- Early republican museums and wax figures
- Taste and economic class
- Linkages between early republican tastes and taste in the 21st century
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Catherine E. Kelly
- Republic of Taste: Art, Politics, and Everyday Life in Early America
- Journal of the Early Republic
- Vast Early America Book Series
- Museum of Fine Arts Boston
- Massachusetts Historical Society
- Gilbert Stuart, George Washington
- Omohundro Institute
- Babbel (Use promo code BFWorld to save 50 percent off your first 3 months)
- OI Books Flash Sale (Use promo code 01BFW before September 4, 2018 to save 50 percent)
- Episode 024: Kimberly Alexander, 18th-Century Fashion & Material Culture
- Episode 076: Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, Citizen Sailors: Becoming American in the Age of Revolution
- Episode 084: Zara Anishanslin, How Historians Read Historical Sources
- Episode 127: Caroline Winterer, American Enlightenments
- Episode 136: Jennifer Van Horn, Material Culture and the Making of America
In your opinion, how would the development of the “republic of taste” have been different if there had been no United States? If the 13 colonies of British North America had not declared and secured their independence from Great Britain would early Americans have been so concerned with ideas about taste?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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