John Dickinson: America’s First Political Hero
Tuesday, December 13, 2011 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM (EST)
Jane E. Calvert
Associate Professor of History
University of Kentucky
Before 1776, few men equaled Founding Father John Dickinson in international reputation and influence and none surpassed him. Colonial legislatures sought his council, Congress sought his guidance, the French philosophe Voltaire proclaimed him the American Lycurgus, and the British considered him, as John Adams put it, the “ruler of America.” Jefferson proclaimed that “his name will be consecrated in history as one of the great worthies of the revolution.” Yet, today few Americans are aware of this great patriot’s contributions for one main reason: He refused to vote on or sign the Declaration of Independence. Despite taking up arms for the American cause, his reputation never quite recovered even though he held significant leadership positions following the war. Historians have been confounded by how this great champion of American liberties could not sanction American liberty.
Join us on December 13, 2011, at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Club to hear historian Dr. Jane E. Calvert of the University of Kentucky and, visiting associate professor at Yale, describe John Dickinson’s achievements and explain the apparent contradiction in his thinking and behavior. Her talk will highlight the religious influences on Dickinson’s political philosophy and show how, even more than most Founding Fathers, Dickinson’s values, causes, and example speak loudly to us today.
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