Retired historian Michael Holt is one of the most accomplished writers on antebellum politics. A professor at the University of Virginia for decades, he is perhaps best known for his grand 1999 book, The Rise and Fall of the American Whig Party. He is also the author of The Political Crisis of the 1850s, The Election of 1860, and other books. His most recent, and last (he tells us) is about president, soldier, hard drinker, and empath Franklin Pierce.
A native of Pittsburgh, Michael talks about his days as a self-professed "punching bag" for the imposing David Donald at Johns Hopkins. From there, he discusses his days on the road doing research, his take on the race issue in the 1850s, and comparing the antebellum era with today's politics. And why should we care about Franklin Pierce? Find out in this conversation from Charlottesville!
In part two of his conversation with Mark Thompson, Colin talks about Mark's move to the Netherlands, what he teaches there, and comparison between Dutch and American living. Is college in the Netherlands really free? Is it better? And what does Mark miss and not miss about the States? Things get political, but in a respectful kind of way. That said, Colin might be ready to board a plane for Groningen at any minute. Look out, Mark! Look out, Holland!
Mark Thompson is a historian of colonial America and a professor at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. A native of New Orleans, he studied under Jack Greene at Johns Hopkins University before moving to Baton Rouge. He and Colin met at LSU, where Mark was teaching and Colin was a graduate student. They talk about Mark's path to becoming a historian, surviving Louisiana, and his book The Contest for the Delaware Valley: Allegiance, Identity, and Empire in the Seventeenth Century (LSU Press, 2013). What was the story of the Dutch in the New World? Did they really buy Manhattan for $24? And how might their story affect how we think of the development of early American history?