Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Hawaii Restoration Day: A Look Back to 1863

In 1843 Lord George Paulet of the HMS Carysfort seized and occupied the Hawaiian Kingdom in the name of the British Empire. Five months later, on July 26, Admiral Richard Darton Thomas arrived in Honolulu aboard the HMS Dublin. 

Admiral Thomas became the local representative of the British Commission (the government of the Provisional Cession) by out-ranking Paulet. Thomas' goal was to end the occupation. 

On July 31, 1843, Admiral Thomas returned the islands back to Kamehameha III at the site we know today as Thomas Square. Kamehameha III proclaimed the words Ua Mau ke Ea o ka 'Āina i ka Pono in a speech during a ceremony to mark his restoration. When translated to English it means "The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness."  Those words serve today as Hawaii's state motto.

One hundred and fifty years ago (1863) this article was published in The Friend, a monthly intelligencer by Rev. Samual Chenery Damon:

The Thirty-First.

The Twentieth Anniversary of the Restoration of the Hawaiian flag, by Admiral Thomas, has just been celebrated with unwonted enthusiasm. Music lent its charms, a procession its imposing display, an oration its power, a feast its satisfaction, and powder its noise, to mark the occasion. About two thousand Hawaiians were present at the feast. The Stone Church was crowded to listen to the eloquent oration of the Hon. R. G. Davis. We are glad to learn that the public will be favored with its publication, and we hope in English as well as Hawaiian. For a full report of the proceedings, we refer our readers to the Polynesian, and the forthcoming Advertiser.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Nominations for 2014 History Teacher of the Year: Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History

The Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History is now seeking nominations from students, parents, teachers, principals and community members–help us find the best history teacher in your state and the country! 

State winners receive $1,000. One teacher from each state will be awarded. State winners are automatically entered into the National History Teacher of the Year selection process. 

The National History Teacher of the Year winner receives $10,000, national recognition, and is flown to New York City, along with two students, for an awards ceremony held in his/her honor in Fall 2014. 

Elementary and High School teachers are awarded in alternating years. Fall 2014, a grade 7-12 history teacher will be awarded. Fall 2015, a K-6 teacher will be awarded.

For further information go to this link, or contact Robert Buss, executive director of the Hawaii Council for the Humanities. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

NCHE Board Members are in the News!

Here's the Latest from the National Council for History Education:

Earlier this month a member of the NCHE Advisory Council was honored by President Barack Obama, while a member of the Board of Trustees made history with First Lady Michelle Obama.

On July 10 President Obama presented a National Humanities Medal to Ed Ayers, citing "his commitment to making our history as widely available and accessible as possible." The prestigious award "honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens' engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities." In particular, the President noted, "Dr. Ayers' innovations in digital humanities extend higher learning beyond campus boundaries and allow broad audiences to discover the past in new ways."

While a professor of history at the University of Virginia Dr. Ayers headed  The Valley of the Shadow project that digitized Civil War-era primary sources from two Shenandoah Valley communities, one in the South and the other in the North. Since becoming president of the University of Richmond, he has overseen production of Visualizing Emancipation, a digital mapping website.

Those who attended NCHE's 2013 conference will remember Dr. Ayers as one of "The History Guys" who entertained and informed the audience with a live version of Backstory, their popular weekly radio broadcast. Dr. Ayers served on NCHE's Board of Trustees and is currently a member of its Advisory Board.

When First Lady Michelle Obama and former First Lady Laura Bush took the stage together at the African First Ladies Summit in Tanzania on July 2, they shared it with NCHE Trustee Cokie Roberts. A television journalist and best-selling author, Ms. Roberts hosted the unprecedented meeting of American first ladies, moderating a discussion that ranged across topics from the importance of education to the excessive attention paid to the appearance of first ladies.

A member of the NCHE Board of Trustees since 2012, Ms. Roberts is a senior news analyst for National Public Radio and a political analyst for ABC News. Especially interested in the history of American women, Ms. Roberts is the author of Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation and Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation.

To hear what she had to say about sharing the stage with the current and previous first lady, follow this link

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Edmund S. Morgan, Historian, Dies at 97

"I think that any group of people who have a system of belief that covers practically everything, and who act upon it, are bound to be interesting to any scholar." 
Edmund S. Morgan, Historian

The New York Times reported that, "Edmund S. Morgan, an award-winning historian who illuminated the intellectual world of the Puritans, explored the paradox of freedom and slavery in colonial Virginia and, in his 80s, wrote a best-selling biography ofBenjamin Franklin, died on Monday in New Haven. He was 97."

Please click this link for a detailed biography from the History News Network. Also, Wikipedia features a biography of Edmund S. Morgan. Click here

W.W. Norton & Company, Morgan's publisher, features this list of his works

We also direct you to this page from the National Endowment for the Humanities web site. 

And we close with this from Associated Press Writer Dave Collins:

A professor emeritus at Yale University, he was a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and author of more than a dozen books, including "Birth of the Republic," ''The Puritan Dilemma" and "Inventing the People," winner in 1989 of the Bancroft Prize. His other awards included a National Medal of the Humanities in 2000 and an honorary citation from Pulitzer Prize officials in 2006 for his "creative and deeply influential body of work."

Morgan shared Franklin's birthday, Jan. 17, and impish spirit. The bald, round-faced historian had a prankster's smile; a soft, sweet laugh; and a willingness to poke fun at his own prestige, joking that history books bored him and that his favorite students were the ones who disagreed with him. He attributed the success of his Franklin book to "the geezer factor."

For decades, Morgan and Harvard professor Bernard Bailyn were cited as leaders of early American studies. Joseph Ellis, who studied under Morgan at Yale, dedicated his Pulitzer Prize-winning "Founding Brothers" to his former teacher. Gordon Wood, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "The Radicalism of the American Revolution," cited Morgan for often being ahead of his time.

"When he was first writing (in the 1940s) the dominant thinking among historians was that ideas didn't matter, that the founders only cared about the rich and that they didn't mean what they were saying about freedom and government," Wood told The Associated Press in 2002. "But Morgan started with the assumption that their ideas were to be taken seriously; he was really bucking the tide."

Morgan wrote several books and essays about the country's founders, especially Franklin and George Washington, praising them not just as men of action but of inaction. He cited the "genius" of Washington in declining to seize power after the surrender of the British and found the seemingly sloppy Franklin a far more effective diplomat overseas than the ever-prepared John Adams.

An informed and accessible prose stylist, Morgan liked to imagine his readers as "ignorant geniuses"; the public knew him best for "Benjamin Franklin," published in 2002, when Morgan was 86. It was a short, lively summation that began with the unlikely image of a young, athletic Franklin. Based solely on the historian's reading of Franklin's volumes of papers, which Morgan himself helped organize, the book sold more than 100,000 copies and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award.

But Morgan never imagined that the founders were perfect or that the country's early history was unscarred by racism or sly intentions. In his acclaimed "American Slavery, American Freedom," winner in 1976 of the Francis Parkman Prize, he documented how demands for greater freedom in colonial Virginia were influenced by the rise of slavery, which gave whites a heightened sense of entitlement. In "Inventing the People," Morgan stated that politicians often used democratic language as a cover for maintaining power.

"Government requires make-believe," Morgan wrote. "Make believe that the people have a voice or make believe that the representatives of the people are the people. Make believe that governments are the servants of the people. Make believe that all men are equal or make believe that they are not."

Morgan approached his work as both scholar and hobbyist. He had no agent and didn't accept advances because he disliked deadlines. Only when the Franklin manuscript was finished did he bother showing it to the Yale University press.

"Surprise" was a favorite word of Morgan's, and he loved discovering the unexpected in American history, whether the Puritans' tolerance and even advocacy of sex, or the 1787 persecution and murder of a suspected witch just outside the State House in Philadelphia where the U.S. Constitution was being drafted.

Morgan did not plan to major in history much less specialize in the colonial era. Born in Minneapolis and raised in New Haven, Conn., and the Boston area, he dreamed of owning a ranch as a boy and preferred English to history when he entered Harvard University. In one European history test, taken freshman year, he scored 27 out of 100.

But after studying at Harvard under colonial historian Perry Miller, Morgan became fascinated by the Puritans and wrote about them in his first book, "The Puritan Family," published in 1944. "Miller was an atheist, and so was I, but we both had this tremendous regard for the intellectual grounding of their theology," Morgan told the AP in 2002.

Morgan's restless mind often led him well away from the sedentary work of scholarship. After retiring as a Yale professor, in 1986, he took up flying, set up both a wood and metal shop in his basement and put together a lathe in his garage.

Known for his thorough research, Morgan preferred the founder's own words to the books written about them. He read all of Franklin and James Madison, both of whom lived into their 80s. He also worked through multiple volumes of Adams, Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.

"I don't read many biographies," he said in 2002, acknowledging that he hadn't even gotten around to David McCullough's million-selling book on Adams. "I can spend all day reading Washington's papers. ... I can do that all day long. But if I pick up the kind of book that I write I go to sleep."

Morgan was married twice. He and his first wife, Helen M. Morgan, co-authored "The Stamp Act Crisis," published in 1953. In recent years, he collaborated on reviews and essays with his second wife, Marie Morgan.