I’m actually writing this “first post” after publishing my actual “first post” (I’m still trying to catch on to this blogging business), so I don’t want to say a lot here, lest I give away too much of the real first post and make reading it unnecessary. Anyway, . . . the shorthand version:
I’ve just retired after nearly four decades at a “prep school,” a History PhD. teaching on the secondary level and gradually growing to like it very much. During my career, I also managed to keep my hand in scholarly activities, including publishing one book and devoting, oh, fifteen summers or so to research on a second one (so far). Now that I’ve retired, I’m going to have a lot of time on my hands: no bells ringing every 55 minutes; no classes to prepare for, tests to make up and grade, averages to figure, or student comments to write. The question remains, though, now that I have “all the time in the world,” something scholars dream about, will I be able to push that research to a successful conclusion? Hence the subtitle of the blog, “Doing History After Leaving the Classroom.”
As for the title, “Retired But Not Shy,” I hope (in a much more modest way, of course) to follow the example set by my avatar, John Quincy Adams. “Retired” from the Presidency by the electorate after one term, John Quincy could have followed the example of his father John, who suffered a similar electoral fate in 1800, and return home to Massachusetts to play the role of “Sage off the Stage,” but the younger Adams refused to do so. Instead, after a brief hiatus, he returned to public life with a vengeance, serving in the House of Representatives from 1831 to 1848. During that period, Adams waged a long fight against the infamous “gag rule,” and he did so with such vigor and determination that southern congressmen, including the Georgians I’ve been studying for the last decade and a half, became positively apoplectic at the mere mention of his name and tried everything they could short of assassination to shut him up. Adams finally did the job for them, dying of a stroke suffered on the floor of the House, in 1848.
Does that mean that I hope to keel over at my keyboard while composing yet another blog post in my inimitable prose? Not hardly! I intend to pursue a less formal brand of history through this medium, supplementing my current research efforts by blogging on related topics that won’t fit in the manuscript and “piloting” others that will appear there. I also will not be shy when it comes to treating other subjects that interest me, most of which I’m sure will fit under the rubric of “History,” but, even if they don’t, I’ll still have my say.
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For those interested in reading more of my reflections on history, here are links to my books on the subject:
Rancorous Enmities and Blind Partialities: Parties and Factions in Georgia, 1807-1845 (University Press of America, 2015)
In Pursuit of Dead Georgians: One Historian’s Excursions into the History of His Adopted State (iUniverse, 2015)
Politics on the Periphery: Factions and Parties in Georgia, 1783-1806 (University of Delaware Press, 1986)
Great to hear from the man on the other side. I love the topics, particularly the books I wish I’d read while teaching civil rights. Who wouldn’t apply that “wish” to any subject matter we, who love our discipline, would ardently love to pursue in our “leisure”? Go for it, Georgie, and send messages. I wonder what it’s like to be out of the classroom; do you still have that urge to follow through on topics arising out of class reading and discussion, simply because it’s “there”? I worry a bit that all my passion for enriching knowledge in my subject matter will diminish when I have no one to share it with, no structure to stir the pot… Will I merely grow old and wear purple and dabble with dahlias? Be a retirement role model for us all by keeping the stream alive. The conversation, indeed, goes on. And so we beat on…
Good to see you start this thing up!
It will give me an interesting to
read ( not that blogs that feature
high class user “content” such
as that wacky cat that plays the piano, is
getting old…it’s just you can’t read that type
of blog all of the time…you’ll go blind.)
We had spoken earlier about my quest
to find a readable bio of Thomas Jefferson.
I found one by our old friend Joseph Ellis, American Sphinx.
It was classic Ellis, short,extremely concise, sought (however
vainly) to separate the myth from the man. Like alot of the other Ellis books
it really wasn’t a proper Bio, It hits what could be called the turning points in
Jefferson. I still don’t care for Thomas Jefferson…he not overrated or anything…he
is the most revolutionary of the revolutionary generation, and undenialbly it’s
chief wordsmith…yet, for me, it is the words that were left out of these founding documents
that make the man so…annoying. Some of his most personal convictions gave light to
some totally daffy outside the box thinking (The whole idea about generational power
succession in government and personal finance…i’m looking at you.) He is constantly being talked down by cooler heads, like the unabashedly loyal James Madison ( who must have really enjoyed the fine art of soft pedalling because, he does it so often with Jeffersons private cum public utterances)
Jefferson also constantly waffles on slavery, although in the Virginia Dynasty this is not wholly un expected nor is
he the most disappointing anti-slavery figure turned maybe it’s not such a bad idea. A politician and a party boss who frequently denies that he is either, and excoriates both without a hint of irony.
Despite all of this evidence that giving this man any power is a good idea, he then annoyingly confounds all his critics and has one of the most successful first terms in U.S. History…Mostly on the back of a huge executive fire sale purchase, and keeping out of war with england, which he has be promising to get us neck deep into for 25 years.
Ellis is correct, it is very hard to place Jefferson in his time and keep him there.
His inimacally american political styling can be seen in everything from Roosevelt to Reagan, to Sarah
Palin and her aching Twitter thumbs.
Sorry for the abbreviation, supposed to go watch a movie with mel, my co-worker