Presentation Date: Monday February 26, 2018
In Frontier Country, Patrick Spero addresses one of the most important and controversial subjects in American history: the frontier. Countering the modern conception of the American frontier as an area of expansion, Spero employs the eighteenth-century meaning of the term to show how colonists understood it as a vulnerable, militarized boundary. The Pennsylvania frontier, Spero argues, was constituted through conflicts not only between colonists and Native Americans but also among neighboring British colonies. These violent encounters created what Spero describes as a distinctive “frontier society” on the eve of the American Revolution that transformed the once-peaceful colony of Pennsylvania into a “frontier country.”
Join us on Monday, February 26, 2018 as we welcome Patrick Spero who will talk about his book Frontier Country. Feel free to arrive early and eat in the back room where our meetings are held. MaGerks Pub and Grill in Fort Washington has a wide variety of food and drinks on their menu. A short business meeting will start around 7:15pm. The presentation will start at 7:30pm. We encourage you to join our membership for the very small and reasonable tax deductible amount of $20.
Spero narrates Pennsylvania’s story through a sequence of formative but until now largely overlooked confrontations: an eight-year-long border war between Maryland and Pennsylvania in the 1730s; the Seven Years’ War and conflicts with Native Americans in the 1750s; a series of frontier rebellions in the 1760s that rocked the colony and its governing elite; and wars Pennsylvania fought with Virginia and Connecticut in the 1770s over its western and northern borders. Deploying innovative data-mining and GIS-mapping techniques to produce a series of customized maps, he illustrates the growth and shifting locations of frontiers over time. Synthesizing the tensions between high and low politics and between eastern and western regions in Pennsylvania before the Revolution, Spero recasts the importance of frontiers to the development of colonial America and the origins of American Independence.
Patrick Spero is the Librarian and Director of the American Philosophical Society Library in Philadelphia. As a scholar of early American history, Dr. Spero specializes in the era of the American Revolution. He has published over a dozen essays and reviews on the topic. His is the author of Frontier Country: The Politics of War in Early Pennsylvania and The American Revolution Reborn: New Perspectives for the Twenty-First Century, an edited anthology also from Penn Press. For more information on Dr. Spero’s work, visit www.patrickspero.com.
A specialist in early American history, Dr. Spero previously taught at Williams College where he served as an assistant professor of History and Leadership Studies and received recognition for his integration of new technology in the classroom. Prior to his position at Williams, Dr. Spero held the position of Historian at the David Library of the Revolution and served on their Board of Trustees. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and has held long-term fellowships from the McNeil Center for Early American Studies, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Doris Quinn Foundation, the David Library of the American Revolution, and the American Philosophical Society.