Bringing back the pamphlet for the 21st century!
The American Conspiracy Series: Free Market Marvel
Back in the day, the pamphlet was a popular form of communication for essayists and the learned exchange of ideas. Today, pamphlets are more often promotional tools for companies, agencies, and organizations. Informational discussions generally take shape in articles or books – we publish a lot of unnecessary books these days. I thought it would be fun to bring back the pamphlet – in a digital form – in order to share some ideas that do not warrant the full-length book treatment. (I often wish we said more in less space in this age.)
The pamphlet – or e-pamph – seemed especially appropriate as my thoughts touch on the Founders, the development of capitalism in the U.S., and how this is taught in public schools. The Founders, obviously, employed the pamphlet, so it makes sense to do the same when talking about them in this way. But, whereas the Federalist Papers urged adoption of the Constitution, I want to point out that our boosterism about capitalism in the U.S. is often historically ignorant and ahistorical – by which I mean it lacks factuality about our past and ignores the actuality of economic evolution. Our economic system – as do all others – changed over time, and proponents of free market ideology sell their views by omitting the history of that and ignoring the fluidity of economics-in-practice. I’d like to return a little historicity to the discussion.
This e-pamph is actually a collection of a series of blog entries I wrote in late 2009, when I was preparing to teach a gen ed course on the first half of U.S. history – so these thoughts were on my mind. My textbook – like most – was vague on the development of capitalism in our country, and I was interested in covering that more fully in my lectures. These brief essays represent pieces I was working out in my mind about why we don’t talk about the development of capitalism and how that fits with our ideology today. There’s politics behind it, enabling a host of sins of omissions.
Available for Kindle. $1.99
The American Conspiracy Series: In the Beginning
This e-pamph is a collection of a series of entries from my blog (plus a bonus bit on Betsy Ross), circa May/June 2008 – some of my earliest posts. Clearly, my early historiophilia was more rebellion than obsessive preoccupation with scholarly plots. These are rants about how we are socialized and the role of historiography as a propaganda tool, rather than any attempt to expose some real, dark, underworld scheme. The villainy here is dangerous solely in that “only historians can betray all generations of the dead” (Nancy F. Partner) kind of way, rather than bringing actual death or dismemberment – obviously. The title is cheeky, then, instead of sensationalistic or melodramatic.
My observations mean to be irreverent but honest – and sometimes sarcastic. I want to give the lie to any claim that American historical study is a science. In that it fails as such demonstrates how we like to delude ourselves: delusion as education. We like to pretend that the shift to social science brought an end to mythologizing and gave us surer historiography (or Truth), but it just ain’t so. These are some of the lies we like to tell ourselves best.
Available for Kindle. $1.99