Friday, December 30, 2022

1968 Cougar XR7-G

The 1968 Cougar XR7-G. Only about 600 of these "Shelbyized" Mercury Cougars were ever built. It came with a choice of five different engines, from a 302 to a 428, and four transmission choices, depending on engine selection.

Please drop one off at your convenience, preferably in dark green or black, but any color really as long as it has a clean title. I'll trade you for a really good sandwich.


Images and full history of this rare and beautiful cat can be found at


Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Woody Holton, Liberty Is Sweet (2021)

While researching my MA thesis, I spent some time studying the work of Woody Holton, McCausland Professor of History at the University of South Carolina. At the time, I was most interested in his 2007 book, Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution. My copy is still bedecked with twenty or thirty Post-it® note text flags sticking out of the text block. Unlike many historians of the Revolutionary era and the so-called "Critical Period," Holton understands the outsized role the antics of Rhode Island's Country Party played spurring the growth of the Federalists and the push to draft and ratify the US Constitution. Rather than drawing Rhode Island politics as a caricature of anarchy and vice, an image originally drawn  by those same Federalists but repeated ad nauseum by numerous historians who can't be bothered to actually read actual first-hand accounts of Rhode Island history, Holton's book was very useful in helping me to contextualize 1789s RI politics with the broader national narrative. 

More recently, Professor Holton was the keynote speaker at an April 2015 conference I attended at the Massachusetts Historical Society, "So Sudden an Alteration": The Causes, Course, and Consequences of the American Revolution. I have a binder of panel papers and other documents from that conference, which was just killer, killer! 

Here is Professor Holton delivering the keynote; I didn't have the greatest seat but I also could have left earlier for the conference and gotten there in time to snag something closer than this...

I also ran into my thesis advisor, Ron Dufour at the conference. Here we are, photograph courtesy of historian Gordon S. Wood:

I really should stop by Rhode Island College this semester and look up Ron... I've been in contact with him maybe once or twice via email in the almost 8 years since Professor Wood took this picture of us, and in person not even once. 

Anyway, I was looking through some NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) emails earlier, as I am remiss in filing some paperwork with them for the Rhode Island chapter which brought me to the NCSS website. As usual, once there I was looking at stuff which had little to do with my paperwork and I came across a page of National Humanities webinars the NCSS recorded for PD. And on that page I discovered Professor Holton's talk on his most recent book, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution, published in 2021. And in the interest of passing along good history to whoever happens upon this webpage, below is the NCSS blurb for the webinar and below that, a recording of his lecture, 

In his book, Liberty is Sweet, Woody Holton’s “hidden history” of the American Revolution, nothing is quite what it seems. The painting on the cover seems conventional: a pistol-wielding Patriot foot-soldier captures two British horsemen…but the Patriot turns out to be a woman in drag. The phrase “Liberty is Sweet” sounds like the sentiments of Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin but actually comes from a 1775 letter describing George Washington’s slaves’ aspirations to escape Mount Vernon. Holton entitles his preface “Invisible Enemies” in a nod to the Native Americans who were long omitted from the story of American Independence but actually played a crucial role in bringing on the Revolutionary War and shaping its course. And these are far from the only surprises in Holton’s astounding reappraisal of the founding of the United States.

Participants in this webinar will read some of the most surprising documents Holton found while researching Liberty Is Sweet, then discuss and debate their meaning with the author.

Note that the first 9 minutes and 4 seconds is just housekeeping NCSS stuff, and after that timestamp, the video turns to Woody Holton and his discussion of his book, Liberty is Sweet: The Hidden History of the American Revolution.