Boston: Atlantic Power
Wednesday, March 17 | 4:30pm
Mark Peterson Edmund S. Morgan Professor of History
SUBJECT TO OPENING GUIDELINES, AN IN-PERSON EVENT FORMAT MAY BE ADDED. STAY TUNED FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS.
Drawing from vast archives, and featuring unfamiliar figures alongside well-known ones, such as John Winthrop, Cotton Mather, and John Adams, Peterson explores Boston’s origins in sixteenth-century utopian ideals, its founding and expansion into the hinterland of New England, and the growth of its distinctive political economy, with ties to the West Indies and southern Europe. By the 1700s, Boston was at full strength, with wide Atlantic trading circuits and cultural ties, both within and beyond Britain’s empire. After the cataclysmic Revolutionary War, “Bostoners” aimed to negotiate a relationship with the American confederation, but through the next century, the new United States unraveled Boston’s regional reign. The fateful decision to ratify the Constitution undercut its power, as Southern planters and slave owners dominated national politics and corroded the city-state’s vision of a common good for all.
Peeling away the layers of myth surrounding a revered city, Peterson’s book The City-State of Boston offers a startlingly fresh understanding of America’s history.
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