Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture

Uncommon Sense—the blog

Author Archive

Capital, Deception, and the Heirs of Daniel Parker

· December 12th, 2018 · 1 Comment

WMQ author Tom Cutterham (October 2018) offers further thoughts on his piece, “‘A Very Promising Appearance’: Credit, Honor, and Deception in the Emerging Market for American Debt, 1784—92” (William and Mary Quarterly, volume 75, no. 4). by Tom Cutterham Where is the line between entrepreneur and con-artist? That’s the question that animates Jane Kamensky’s account of early… Read More »

Daily Life and Wartime Disruption

· November 29th, 2018 · No Comments

Today’s post is by October 2018 WMQ author Lauren Duval. by Lauren Duval The American Revolution, Mary Beth Norton asserted in her classic study, Liberty’s Daughters, had “profound consequences for the entire population” and unsettled “normal patterns of life.”[1] I found this notion particularly intriguing and I was eager to explore it further as I delved into… Read More »

A Thanksgiving playlist from Ben Franklin’s World

· November 20th, 2018 · No Comments

by Emily Sneff In 1750, Ben Franklin wrote to Peter Collinson about an experiment with electricity. Not the famous one — rather, an experiment “to kill a Turkey by the Electrical Strokes.” The Ben Franklin’s World team does not recommend this cooking technique (even though Ben remarked that “the Birds kill’d in this Manner eat… Read More »

A “Digital Research in Early America” recap

· November 14th, 2018 · 1 Comment

by Maeve Kane In October 2018, I participated in the WMQ-UCI Digital Research in Early America workshop hosted by Sharon Block and Josh Piker at University of California-Irvine. This post aims to give those who weren’t able to attend an idea of the conversations and common themes of the new scholarship presented. Most broadly, the… Read More »

Doing History: A Biographer’s Dilemma: Can We Make Arguments Out of Lives?

· November 13th, 2018 · 2 Comments

Today’s post accompanies “Researching Biography,” episode 212 of Ben Franklin’s World and part of the Doing History 3 series. You can find supplementary materials for the episode on the OI Reader app, available through iTunes or Google Play. By Catherine O’Donnell Always be arguing. It’s the historian’s version of David Mamet’s line for salesmen, “Always… Read More »

Doing History: Writing Biography

· November 6th, 2018 · 1 Comment

Today’s post accompanies “Considering John Marshall Part 2,” episode 211 of Ben Franklin’s World and part of the Doing History 3 series. You can find supplementary materials for the episode on the OI Reader app, available through iTunes or Google Play. In prior weeks, Michael McGandy has written about biography from the perspective of a… Read More »