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Profs & Pints: America’s Birth Certificate
July 1, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0$2 – $12
Profs and Pints presents: “America’s Birth Certificate,” an in-depth look at the Declaration of Independence and its impact, with Richard Bell, associate professor of history at the University of Maryland.
The Declaration of Independence is a peculiar thing. It’s a literary masterpiece that was written jointly by a committee of fifty people. It’s short and punchy—just 1310 words long—but still somehow daunting and difficult to get a grip on. (There’s a reason most of us have never read it in full and can only quote the first third of its second sentence).
And what is it exactly? Is it a birth certificate announcing happy news, or a petition for divorce full of grievance and score-settling? Is it aimed at the American people, or King George, or someone else? Was it the first ever declaration of independence, or a cheap imitation of a genre already well established? What did people at the time make of it? What did it change? Why does it still matter?
Rick Bell, a history professor who has given thrilling Profs and Pints talks on the Hamilton musical, the genius of Ben Franklin, and African Americans in the American Revolution, returns to the stage to answer these questions and more. He’ll set this uniquely American civic text in global perspective. He’ll discuss why the Declaration caused barely a ripple when it arrived in London, and how, in the months and years that followed, it became an example and inspiration to revolutionaries across the continent, the ocean, and the globe, with more than 100 other declarations of independence being issued in other parts of the world since 1776.
Our American Revolution—a modest change in political sovereignty in a few out-of-the-way agricultural colonies on the western rim of the Atlantic Ocean—occupies pride of place in the larger history of global decolonization and post-colonialism.
Gear up for July 4th by hearing a talk that will tackle the fascinating origins, misunderstood purpose, and extraordinary global legacy of the Declaration of Independence. Dr. Bell (a Brit with a vicious sense of humor) might even make you reconsider this whole independence thing in the first place. (Advance tickets: $12. Door: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please give yourself plenty of time to place an order and get settled in.)