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American Aristocrats: A Family, a Fortune, and the Making of American Capitalism

Dates Playing: 9/20/2018

Venue: The Filson Historical Society


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American Aristocrats is a multigenerational biography of the Andersons of Kentucky, a family of strivers who passionately believed in the promise of America. Beginning in 1773 with the family patriarch, a twice-wounded Revolutionary War hero, the Andersons amassed land throughout what was then the American west. As the eminent religious historian Harry S. Stout argues, the story of the Andersons is the story of America’s experiment in republican capitalism. Congressmen, diplomats, and military generals, the Andersons enthusiastically embraced the emerging American gospel of land speculation. In the process, they became apologists for slavery and Indian removal, and worried anxiously that the volatility of the market might lead them to ruin. Drawing on a vast store of Anderson family records, Stout reconstructs their journey to great wealth as they rode out the cataclysms of their time, from financial panics to the Civil War and beyond. Through the Andersons we see how the lure of wealth shaped American capitalism and the nation’s continental aspirations. Harry Stout is Jonathan Edwards Professor of American Religious History, having been Professor here since 1986. He taught previously at the University of Connecticut. He has received numerous grants and fellowships, including Mellon, NEH, and Guggenheim fellowships. He is General Editor of The Works of Jonathan Edwards and General Editor of the Religion in America series at Oxford University Press. He also serves as editor to Cobblestone Magazine, Studies in Puritan American Spirituality, and American National Biography. In addition to numerous articles, he has authored or co-authored the following books: The New England Soul: Preaching and Religious Culture in Colonial New England (Pulitizer Prize finalist);An Enemy Among Them; The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism (Pulitzer Prize nominee); A New England Congregation: First Church, New Haven, 1638-1988; and Upon the Altar of the Nation: A Moral History of the American Civil War(2006) . Books he has edited or co-edited are: Jonathan Edwards and the American Experience; Jonathan Edwards; Dictionary of Christianity in America; and Benjamin Franklin, Jonathan Edwards, and the American Experience.  Professor Stout also was the Rogers Distinguished Fellow at the Huntington Library, 2011-2012.

American Aristocrats: A Family, a Fortune, and the Making of American Capitalism

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