(03) 1831 - Kabria Baumgartner, Department of History
An annular solar eclipse occurred. Edward Smith robbed the City Bank in New York, stealing almost a quarter of a million dollars. And a slave named Nat Turner led a bloody uprising in Southampton County, Virginia. These three events took place in 1831. What else happened? Was 1831 a watershed moment in history? Simply put, what was the United States like back then? To answer these and other related questions, we will explore the movement to abolish slavery; the Second Great Awakening; and the Industrial Revolution, among other themes. We will read daily and weekly newspapers, examine advice literature by Lydia Maria Child, study narratives like The Confessions of Nat Turner, and look at fiction and art and listen to music to get a sense of American life and culture in the Age of Jackson. With a single year as our focal point, we will also examine the uses and limitations of microhistory as a methodology. This seminar may appeal especially to those students interested in the interdisciplinary study of history and microhistory.