#SHEAR17 Social Media Recommendations

For attendees who use Twitter during the annual meeting this week, we recommend using the official conference hashtag #SHEAR17 to make conversations easy to follow.

In addition, if you tweet about an individual session, we recommend adding a second hashtag in the form #PN[number]. Tweets about, e.g., Panel 53, “The Public Language of Class in America,” should end in the hashtags #SHEAR17 #PN53. Using both tags will make it easier for other users to follow and engage in the conversation.

Please also remember to respect panelists’ wishes regarding social media broadcasting. If they or the session chair ask that a presentation not be shared on social media, please respect their request.

SHEAR 2017: Less Than One Week Away!

Dear SHEARites, it’s less than a week until our 39th annual meeting opens in Philadelphia and I have a few updates and reminders to share with you.

  • Pre-registration is now closed. You may register on-site but please remember that we can accept only cash or checks, no credit cards.
    • Thursday registration from 5:00 to 7:30 pm at Golkin 100, Michael A. Fitts Auditorium, UPenn Law School, 3501 Sansom St.
    • Friday, Saturday, Sunday registration at the DoubleTree
  • For Saturday’s Presidential Address and Awards Reception:
    • Free shuttle vans will make a continuous loop between the DoubleTree and the Independence Seaport Museum, 211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, from 5:00 until 8:00 p.m. Return trolleys will begin shuttling back to the hotel between 9:00 pm until 10 pm.
    • If you prefer to make your own way:
      • Subway: Take the Market Street Line east to 2nd Get off and walk south two blocks to Walnut Street, turn left, and walk across the Walnut Street bridge.  The Independence Seaport Museum is the building on the right once you have crossed the bridge.
      • Bus: Walk to Chestnut Street and take either the 21 or 42 bus east.  Get off at 2nd Street, walk south one block to Walnut Street, turn left, and walk across the Walnut Street bridge.  The Independence Seaport Museum is the building on the right once you have crossed the bridge.
      • Walking from the Doubletree: Walk one block north to Walnut and turn right.  Follow Walnut for fourteen blocks; once you have crossed the Walnut Street bridge, the Independence Seaport Museum is the building on the right.
    • A reminder that HSP is offering free admission to conference-goers next week and the Museum of the American Revolution is offering discounted tickets to registered conference-goers from 19 to 23 July.

I send you traveling mercies and look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia next week. If you need anything before then, please e:mail me at robyn.davis@millersville.edu.

Warmest regards,

Robyn Lily Davis

SHEAR National Conference Coordinator

SHEAR 2017: Conference Pre-Registration Ends This Friday

If you are planning to attend SHEAR’s annual meeting in Philadelphia later this month, remember that pre-registration closes this Friday, July 7. Please also note that on-site registration is possible, but you must pay with cash or check (no credit cards), and there is an additional $30 fee as well.

Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion

Dawn Peterson is an assistant professor of early North American and U.S. history at Emory University. She is the author of the new book Indians in the Family: Adoption and the Politics of Antebellum Expansion (Harvard Univ. Press, 2017).

In 1813, Andrew Jackson invaded the Upper Creek Nation (in what is now the state of Alabama), ordered his troops to “destroy” an entire village of approximately 300 people, and then, in the aftermath, sent a surviving Creek infant home to his plantation household. He told his wife that he felt an “unusual sympathy” for the orphaned child and ordered his son to “adopt” the boy into the family. The child came to be called Lyncoya and lived in Jackson’s plantation household in Nashville for nearly 15 years before dying of tuberculosis around the age of 16. While Andrew Jackson characterized his feelings for Lyncoya as “unusual,” his behavior reveals an understudied post-Revolutionary phenomenon. Between the U.S. Revolution and the Indian Removal Act of 1830, a number of prominent U.S. whites, many of whom were slaveholders, incorporated American Indian children into their homes.

For white adopters, incorporating Native youths in their homes coincided with federal initiatives aimed at assimilating Indian people—and their lands—into the United States’ expanding national borders. In the face of highly organized pan-Indian resistance movements and longstanding transatlantic Native commercial and military alliances, Jeffersonian “civilization” policies emphasized the utility of using non-military strategies to incorporate Indian nations into the United States’ free white populace. Influenced by such popular initiatives, prominent white men—and in a few cases, women—saw their own familial homes as schools in which to educate Native boys and girls in the patriarchal property values, nuclear family structures, and male-headed agricultural practices that underpinned white male citizenship in a pro-slavery settler democracy.

Yet, this is only one part of the story. Many of the children living in white homes were actually sent there by influential Native guardians, who had their own aims in mind. As the United States tried to claim Indian lands for “white” settlement between the 1790s and 1830, this select group of American Indian women and men utilized whites’ adoptive desires to expose children to the language and literacy skills and economic cultures that would potentially support Native sovereignty struggles. By the early 1800s, a small group of Southeast Indians saw white slaveholders’ interests in incorporating Native boys into their plantation homes as especially useful. As U.S. planters rapidly invaded Southeast Indian homelands, these Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek women and men sent sons to live in slaveholding households to learn the plantation educations that supported political and economic power in an expanding slaveholding South. In so doing, they hoped to use racial slavery as a means to empower themselves, their sons, and their tribal nations against the white slaveholders who coveted their homelands.

The complex array of commitments exhibited by white adopters, Native guardians, and adopted children reveals the ways that U.S. whites and American Indian people engaged ideas about kinship in the service of both empire and resistance. Even further, it demonstrates how a set of racialized and kin-based ideologies prioritizing white settlement and racial slavery both inspired adoptive impulses on the part of late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century elites and set the stage for the territorial contests that would come to a head in the War of 1812 and finally culminate in the Indian Removal Act of 1830. At first, prominent U.S. whites believed that adopting Indians into white families—and, indeed, into a free white “national family”—seemed the most humane and efficient means to open Indian lands for white settlement and plantation slavery. Yet this plan began to deteriorate during the War of 1812. The war by and large ended Indian people’s trans-Atlantic affiliations and effectively crushed pan-Indian military alliances. Even still, Indian people continued to resist incorporation into the United States. Indeed, even adopted and putatively assimilated Indian men and women did not act as U.S. whites hoped they would. These youth frequently returned to their tribal nations, where they supported autonomous indigenous economies and state formations, which, in the Southeast, became increasingly based on the slave-driven production of export agriculture. Scrambling to foreclose upon these pro-slavery sovereignties in the 1820s, leading whites began to eschew Jeffersonian assimilation initiatives, calling for Indians’ expulsion to lands west of the Mississippi. Andrew Jackson himself famously led this charge. According to the logics of his 1830 Removal Act, if Indians refused to join the United States as adopted and assimilated subjects, then they had to leave their eastern homelands.

As our current president seeks to recover the supposedly humanitarian propensities of men like Andrew Jackson, the stories of white adoptions of Native American youths importantly highlight the violence that underpinned everyday interactions between Jackson and other prominent antebellum whites and the people of American Indian and African descent they sought to dominate and control. Indeed, rather than white adopters of Native children acting benevolently, U.S. whites proceeded in ways that they believed would secure their racial authority. In their scramble to maintain white supremacy both within and outside of their homes, however, white adopters unintentionally enabled new Native resistance strategies, ones that would subsequently reshape antebellum federal Indian policy, giving it some of the very contours that persist it to this day.

JER Social Media Rollout: Hashtags to Know and Love

Over at The Panorama, JER editor Cathy Kelly has written a post about the journal’s social media effort. SHEAR members are encouraged you to read about the relevant social media hashtags that the JER will be using and to become acquainted with the journal’s new social media editor, Dr. Nora Slonimsky.

Michael A. Morrison, 1948-2017

11/11/15 MorrisonDear Colleagues,

I write with the sad and shocking news that our dear friend and SHEAR president-elect Michael A. Morrison passed away on Sunday, May 14, 2017, at his residence.

Michael served as a professor in the Department of History at Purdue University from 1991 to 2016, retiring after 25 years. Following his military service as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, Michael received an A.A. from Henry Ford Community College; a B.A. from the University of Michigan, Dearborn; and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. A beloved educator, Michael taught “Society, Culture and Rock & Roll,” as well as courses on 19th and 20th century U. S. political history. He was the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts Teaching Excellence Award and Purdue University’s Charles B. Murphy Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award. In 1998, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named him Indiana Professor of the Year.

Michael was co-editor of the Journal of the Early Republic 1994-2004, author of Slavery and the American West: The Eclipse of Manifest Destiny and the Coming of the Civil War,  many articles and book chapters, and editor and co-editor of additional works. His wife, Nancy Gabin, survives him.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Carol Lasser
President, Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, 2016-17
Emerita Professor of History, Oberlin College

Other People’s Money: How Banking Worked in the Early Republic

Sharon Ann Murphy,  a professor of history at Providence College, examines the complex interactions between financial institutions and their clientele during the nineteenth century. She is the author of Investing in Life: Insurance in Antebellum America (2010), winner of the 2012 Hagley Prize for the best book in business history. Her newest book is Other People’s Money: How Banking Worked in the Early American Republic.

As I have worked these past few years on my new book Other People’s Money: How Banking Worked in the Early American Republic, I’ve been fascinated by the response from my fellow SHEARites. Almost every person I have talked to about the topic has responded with some version of: “Oh, we so need a book that explains bills of exchange!” This always makes me both chuckle and cringe. While I do indeed explain bills of exchange on pages 47-48, I never anticipated that this would be the main purpose or single highlight of the book. And if that’s the only thing it’s good for, then this is not going to be a very successful book.

Of course, in keeping with the series theme of How Things Worked, a main purpose of this book is to explain how money worked, how banking worked, how the fractional reserve system worked, how banknotes worked, how war finance worked, how Alexander Hamilton became a Broadway star (okay, maybe I don’t quite get there), how discounting worked, how the money multiplier worked, how inflation and deflation work, how panics worked, how incorporation worked, how branch banking worked, how the First and Second Banks of the United States worked, how the Bank War worked, how bimetallism and the gold standard worked, how the game “Robin’s alive” worked, how counterfeiting worked, how savings banks, investment banks, commercial banks, plantation banks, and building & loan associations worked, how free banks and wildcat banks worked (or didn’t work), how public and private banks worked, how note brokers and clearinghouses worked, how the independent treasury worked, how Confederate finance didn’t work, and how the National Banking Acts worked.

Wow. It sounds like I just wrote the encyclopedia of early American finance. But that is certainly not what I set out to write and, I hope, not what this book actually is. Rather, I sought to put finance back into the Early Republic, or – more specifically – to empower the average historian or history student to put finance back in. Most historians have no problem weaving together cultural experiences with political events. We readily examine how race, ethnicity, gender or class impact (or are impacted by) legal or social institutions. We can evaluate foreign policy decisions in terms of domestics concerns without breaking a sweat. The subfield boundaries of the historical profession have become much more fluid, with the best historians interweaving the sources, methods, and conclusions of multiple subfields as appropriate for their topic. And yet, for the average historian, economics and finance are rarely incorporated into these conversations. It is just too opaque, too foreign, too scary to be engaged as part of the analysis. While there is definitely a strong and ever-growing contingent of historians already comfortable embracing financial topics, they are still a very small subset of the overall profession. For the remainder, economic topics are either treated as something separate – somehow outside the bounds of the lived experience of the regular American. Or, when these topics can’t easily be ignored or relegated to the specialists, they are repackaged as something less scary.

Take, for example, the Bank War. For most students of American history, the Bank War is the main—if not the only—encounter with the history of money and banking from the Revolution through the Civil War. At its core, the Bank War was at the center of an extended debate over the acceptable role of banks and banknotes in the American economy. Most people agreed that the existence of banks provided many benefits to their local communities: facilitating exchange, encouraging commerce, enabling the completion of internal improvements projects, and generally creating more opportunities for local inhabitants to increase their wealth. Yet these benefits came at a cost, and Americans were divided over whether the benefits outweighed the costs. Although banks were supposed to promote economic stability, many believed that they were responsible for introducing even more instability into the system through their use of fractional reserve banking. Others questioned the republican implications of granting special privileges to the incorporators of banking corporations and of concentrating wealth in the hands of a few individuals. Yet historians most often tell the story of the Bank War almost exclusively from the perspective of politics. (In their defense, the Bank War did start and end as a political battle of wills between Andrew Jackson and Nicholas Biddle, along with a host of secondary characters.) This political fight, however, had economic causes and consequences that are often lost in the normal telling of that tale. It is difficult to understand the true extent of the passions behind the Bank War without first understanding how the financial system worked during the first century of the nation’s existence.

And beyond the Bank War, money and banking played a critical role in the lives of everyday Americans in the nineteenth century, shaping the society in which they lived and worked. Finance was not outside of their daily lived experiences but rather an integral part of it. Most Americans understood the promises and perils of banknotes as they navigated the monetary system with their regular transactions. They debated the pros and cons of the various banking proposals brought before their state legislatures. They dealt in promissory notes, tobacco warehouse certificates, double-name paper, and (yes) bills of exchange. Sure, some Americans employed these tools more often and understood the elements of the financial system better than others did, but not even the most isolated subsistence farmer was completely outside of the system. Thus an understanding of the financial history of this period is essential if we want to broaden and deepen our overall knowledge of the Early American Republic. My ultimate goal for Other People’s Money is to give historians both adequate background in financial topics as well as the confidence to apply this knowledge in their own work. I want to make finance just another tool in the methodological toolbox, to be taken out and employed competently – if not expertly – where and when the tool is appropriate.

Does this book accomplish all of that? You, my fellow SHEARites, will be the ultimate test. If you find this book useful and informative, that will be good. But if this book makes you rethink how you approach your own research, if it makes you rethink how you structure your syllabi, if it makes you rethink how you advise your undergraduate and graduate students in their projects, then maybe I’ll stop cringing when someone thanks me for (finally) explaining bills of exchange. Heck, if Alexander Hamilton can become a musical icon, then perhaps financial history has a place in the Early Republic after all.

SHEAR 2017: Pre-Registration and Conference Program

Pre-registration is now open for this year’s SHEAR conference in Philadelphia. The conference program is also available.

A New Look at Old Hickory

In June 1820, several dozen legislators gathered in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, then the state capital, for an emergency session. Their goal was “Relief”: legislative action to protect Tennessee households from economic crisis. The previous year, as the Panic of 1819 first hit, these same representatives had passed a law to prevent creditors from suing debtors. Now they wanted to charter a “Bank of the People,” increasing the money supply and reducing the social power of the merchants and cotton gin owners who normally controlled credit. They did so in the name of the people’s sovereignty.

But Andrew Jackson was (literally) in their way. Apparently in his Major General’s uniform, the Hero of New Orleans told those entering the state house that the proposed bank would violate the federal and state constitutions to which they had sworn fealty. Anyone who voted for it would thus be perjuring themselves, Jackson warned. That summer he also wrote an anti-Relief manifesto on behalf of “enterprising commercial adventurers” while quietly collaborating with Tennessee’s established bankers to sink the new experiment in economic democracy.

Eight years later, he won the White House by promising to restore the people’s sovereignty—to avenge them not only against foreign powers and domestic threats but also against corrupt politicians and moneyed interests.

Understanding how Jackson could take such positions without any sense of contradiction requires us to look closely at where he came from, in every sense of that loaded phrase. More to the point, we need to scrutinize his life and career before he became a legend at the Battle of New Orleans—and before he and his trusted allies began to shape and deploy that legend during the presidential campaigns of 1824 and 1828.

As of 1820, everyone knew that “the Hero” had a touchy sense of honor. Many people were aware of his youthful traumas. His economic and legal ideas were far more mysterious, except perhaps for the Tennessee lawmakers who favored stay laws and public banks.  And yet Jackson had acquired a distinct sense of commercial “justice” and the rule of law during his ascent from borderlands orphan to territorial official.  As a lawyer, judge, and confidante of Federalist elites, Jackson was a frontier version of Alexander Hamilton, one with fewer qualms about dueling and none about slavery.

Of course, the mid-Tennessee colony where Jackson came of political age was not just any frontier. During the early 1790s it was a uniquely terrifying place, besieged by Cherokee and Creek war parties and abandoned by the federal government. Both Jackson and his wife, Rachel, felt betrayed by the bloodless politicians in Philadelphia and swore revenge in the name of God’s ultimate sovereignty. They got some in 1794, when white militias waged off-the-record attacks against the “savage nations” to the south and east. But most of the credit went to state-level leaders who Jackson despised.

For most of his thirties (1797-1807), this violent man was controversial in mid-Tennessee and obscure everywhere else. He was no longer a Federalist but not really a Jeffersonian. In the wake of the Burr Conspiracy, the Sage of Monticello wrote a brief and stern letter to the Tennessee upstart, reminding Jackson that the day of the frontier avenger was over.

A new crisis with Britain and the ensuing wars of 1811-1818 changed everything. Against the hated empire and its native and black proxies, white Americans came to see their country as a kind of frontier household. They spoke of their “unexampled forbearance” against the monsters all around and lionized Andrew Jackson as the man who finally saved them from their nightmares.

This Jacksonian nation crystallized in early 1819, when Congress investigated the General’s invasion of Spanish and Seminole Florida. His supporters did not so much reject international law as appropriate it, insisting that the United States was the only innocent nation on Earth, the one country that could justly inflict rather than obey the law. Jackson was “the people’s great avenger,” the man “appointed by Heaven to tread the wine press of Almighty wrath.”

Later that year, the Panic hit, moving many thousands of people—especially in the southern and western regions were Jackson was most popular—to call for another kind of popular sovereignty against economic forces and international norms. They assumed that Jackson was on their side. This makes his rise to the White House and subsequent crusades against native peoples and national bankers all the more significant to larger narratives of capitalism and democracy in the United States.

Jason M. Opal is an associate professor of history at McGill University. He has authored Beyond the Farm: National Ambitions in Rural New England and edited Common Sense and Other Writings by Thomas Paine. His forthcoming book on Old Hickory is entitled Avenging the People: Andrew Jackson, the Rule of Law, and the American Nation.

SHEAR 2017: Pre-Registration, Hotel, and Travel Information

Hello SHEARites! The 2017 annual meeting of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic is only three months away, and plans are well underway. On 1 May, an online version of the program will be available at shear.org; printed programs will be available to conference attendees upon check-in.

For those of you eager to begin making travel arrangements, here is some helpful information:

Hotel
A block of rooms has been reserved at the DoubleTree Hotel, 237 South Broad Street, located in the heart of the Theater District on the Avenue of the Arts. Rates are $159/single or double, $169/triple, and $179/quadruple, and are valid for up to three days before and three days after the SHEAR conference, based on availability.

The hotel’s amenities include 18-hour room service, complimentary fitness center, walking track, rooftop atrium pool and sun deck. All conference attendees are responsible for making their own room reservations directly with the DoubleTree Hotel by calling (800) 222-8733 (TREE); please be sure to request the group rate for SHEAR. The deadline for making reservations at the reduced rate is 14 June 2017.

Travel
By Air: Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is the closest airport to the conference, served by domestic and international airlines with non-stop flights from more than 130 locations. Center City is 7 miles from PHL and can be reached by taxi, public transit, and shuttles and shared rides.
• Taxi – trips between the airport and downtown cost a flat fee of $28.50 (before tip) each way.
• Public transit – SEPTA trains run every 30 minutes from 4:20 am to 11:40 pm (to airport) and 5:07 am to 12:30 am (from airport). The closest station to the conference hotel is Suburban Station at 17thand JRK Boulevard (5 blocks north and 2 blocks west of the hotel, an easy 10-minute walk). One-way, on-board, cash only fare is $8.00.
• Shuttle – authorized transportation providers for Center City can be found here.

By Train: Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station can be reached by local, regional, and national rail services. The conference hotel is a short taxi ride from the station, or about a 25-minute walk. The taxi stand is outside the station’s east exit (facing downtown). If walking, take the east exit, turn right, go three blocks south to Walnut Street, then turn left and proceed east down Walnut. Cross Broad Street and then turn right and walk one block to Locust Street. The hotel is located at the intersection of Broad and Locust.
For information about schedules and pricing, please contact
AMTRAK at (800) 872-7245
New Jersey Regional Transit at (800) 722-2222
SEPTA at (215) 580-7800

By Car: Philadelphia is located approximately two hours south of New York City and two hours north of Washington D.C.
• From Philadelphia International Airport: Take I-95 North to Exit 17 (PA-611 North/ Broad Street Exit). Continue North on Broad Street for approximately 3 miles. The hotel is located on the right side, one block past Spruce Street at the corner of Broad and Locust Streets.
• From Baltimore, Washington and points South: Take I-95 North past the Philadelphia Intl. Airport to Exit 17 (PA-611 North/ Broad Street Exit). Take Broad Street North and follow Broad Street for about 3 miles. The hotel is on the corner of Broad and Locust Streets.
• From New York, New Jersey and points Northeast: Take NJ Turnpike South to exit 4 (Philadelphia/Camden Exit). Take 73 North to 38 West. Follow signs to The Benjamin Franklin Bridge. Once over the bridge follow signs for 676 West. Take 676 West to the Broad Street / Central Philadelphia Exit onto 15th Street heading South. Take 15th Street (approx 7 blocks) and make a left turn onto Locust Street. Take Locust one block to Broad Street. The hotel is located directly in front of you at the corner of Broad and Locust Streets.
• Harrisburg, Hershey and points West: Take Pennsylvania Turnpike East to exit 24 (Valley Forge). Get onto 76 E following signs to Central Philadelphia. Take Vine St. (I-676) to Broad St. exit and make a right onto 15th St. Follow 15th St. to Locust, then turn left onto Locust. Go 1 block to Broad St. and the hotel is on the corner.

Parking: Self-parking in a covered lot with in and out privileges is available at the DoubleTree for $28.00 per night.

By Intercity Bus: The Philadelphia Greyhound Bus Terminal at 1001 Filbert Street, (215) 931-4075 is served by Greyhound and Peter Pan Bus Lines. Megabus serves Philadelphia 30th Street Station from a variety of cities along the eastern corridor.

Registration
Information about the conference is available under “Annual Meeting” on the SHEAR website. Preregistration opens 1 May and is $75 for members and $110 for nonmembers; graduate students, public history professionals, independent scholars, and graduate students pay $50 (exclusive of online transaction fee). All preregistration must be completed online by 5 July 2017. You do not need to be a member of SHEAR to present at the conference, but everyone on the program must register.

If you do not preregister, you may register on-site at the conference. The on-site price will include a $30 on-site registration fee and must be paid in cash or a check made out to SHEAR.

On-site conference check-in will be open from 5:00 to 7:30 pm on Thursday, July 20, at the McNeil Center on the UPenn Campus. It will continue on Friday, July 21 and Saturday, July 22, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, and Sunday, July 23, from 8:00 am to 10:30 am at the DoubleTree.

If you have questions about registration or the conference itself, please feel free to contact me by email (robyn.davis@millersville.edu) or mobile phone at 405/409-5909.

I look forward to seeing you in Philadelphia, and I send you traveling mercies.

Robyn Lily Davis, conference coordinator