My panel was scheduled for Saturday afternoon. One of my c0-presenters, Ryan Quintana, is from Franklin and is teaching at Wellsley, so we compared notes about our geographic and family similarities.
I’ll be honest–I find it hard to pay attention during panels on which I am a presenter because I’m thinking about my own presentation. Ryan and Diane’s papers were good, if the questions from the audience were any indication. David Brown asked me a question about why Jackson’s slave ownership was important (or something like that). I fumbled around for an answer that in hindsight wasn’t very good.
If I had been thinking straight, I would have connected Ed Baptist’s Parish Memorial Lecture to Jackson’s pursuit of national security during the 1810s and the concomitant growth in his slave acquisitions. Jackson sought to remove southeastern Indian tribes to protect the frontier; he was also concerned about runaway slaves allying with those Indians to threaten white frontier settlers. The opening of the Southeast encouraged the cotton and land booms of the 1810s, which Jackson took advantage of for his and his friends’ personal gain. While Jackson may not have consciously allowed his slave ownership to influence his actions in the 1810s, it clearly played a role in his pursuit of Manifest Destiny and the benefits that accrued to slave holders.
I stayed in the same room to hear Craig Friend’s and Brian Schoen’s presentations. By that time, the room had grown unbearably hot, and I gave up trying to take notes. Friend’s presentation dealt with the concept of Confederate manhood, while Schoen’s addressed the diplomatic maneuverings that took place during the secession winter of 1860-61. Both were good, and my lack of note-taking was solely due to heat and fatigue.