WHITE HOUSE MILLENNIUM EVENING
February 11, 1998, 7:00pm, East Room
with Historian Bernard Bailyn
Bernard Bailyn is the Adams University Professor, Emeritus at Harvard University. He also serves as a Senior Fellow in Harvard's Society of Fellows and is the Director of the International Seminar on the History of the Atlantic World. In his remarks, Professor Bailyn will address some of the core American ideas that crystallized during the Revolutionary Era, that have shaped our history thereafter, and that must be preserved as we move into a new millennium. On March 23, 1998, he will also deliver the National Endowment for the Humanities' Jefferson Lecture, the highest honor in the humanities bestowed by the federal government.
Professor Bailyn won the Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes (1968) for Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967), the National Book Award in History in 1975 for The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (1974), and the Pulitzer Prize in History, for Voyagers to the West (1986). Voyagers to the West also won the Saloutos Award of the Immigration History Society and distinguished book awards from the Society of Colonial Wars and the Society of the Cincinnati. Books by Dr. Bailyn are listed below.
Professor Bailyn was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and received the A.B. degree from Williams College in 1945, and the A.M. (1947) and Ph.D. (1953) degrees from Harvard. During World War II he served in the Army Signal Corps and in the Army Security Agency. He has taught at Harvard since 1949, becoming Professor in 1961 and Winthrop Professor of History in 1966, a position he held until 1981, when he became the Adams University Professor, one of Harvard's highest academic honors. He served as editor-in-chief of the John Harvard Library from 1962 to 1970, as co-editor of the journal Perspectives in American History, 1967-77, 1984-86, and as Director of the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History, 1983-1994. The former president of the American Historical Association, he is a foreign member of the British Academy and the Mexican Academy of History and Geography; in 1994 he was elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences, the first American historian to be elected to that body since George Bancroft in 1867. He and his wife, Lotte Bailyn, professor of management at MIT, live in Belmont, Massachusetts.
Professor Bailyn has written comprehensively on American history, covering social, economic, political, and intellectual topics. "I'm trying to give an account in various ways of the emergence of modern America out of a very different past, and there's no single approach to that." He won special acclaim for tracing the origins and development of American ideas about government and its relationship to the governed. He sees the influence of the American Revolution extending beyond the political realm of its time, into the present. "Whether we recognize it or not, the sense we make of the history of our national origins helps to define for us...the values, purposes, and acceptable characteristics of our public insititutions."
Books by Bernard Bailyn:
The New England Merchants in the Seventeenth Century (1955)
Massachusetts Shipping, 1697-1714 (with Lotte Bailyn, 1959)
Education in the Forming of American Society (1960)
The Apologia of Robert Keayne, editor (1965)
Pamphlets of the American Revolution, editor (1965, Harvard Faculty Prize)
The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1967; Pulitzer and Bancroft prizes)
The Origins of American Politics (1968)
The Intellectual Migration: Europe and America, 1930-1960, co-editor (1969)
Law in American History, co-editor (1972)
The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson (1974; National Book Award)
The Great Republic, co-author (1977)
The Press and the American Revolution, co-editor (1980)
The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction (1986)
Voyagers to the West (1986; Pulitzer Prize)
Faces of Revolution (1990)
Strangers within the Realm: Cultural Margins of the First British Empire, co-editor (1991)
Debate on the Constitution, editor (Library of America, 2 vols, 1993)
On the Teaching and Writing of History (1994)
Professor Bailyn studied the political discourse of the decade or two leading up to the revolution of 1776 and chronicled the formulation of ideas such as the need for a written constitution, the people as sovereign beneath only a heavenly sovereign, the constitution as the representation of the sovereignty of the people, a legislative body subordinate to the sovereignty of the people/constitution, the division of sovereignty among different governmental bodies, the need for enumeration of governmental powers, the need for enumeration of peoples' rights, and the idea that a constitution should be developed directly by the people. These innovations were developed over time by the colonials to protect the self-rule and ideas of liberty they felt were under attack by the assertion of British authority in the American colonies in the 1760's and 1770's. Professor Bailyn found the colonials' new comprehensive view of the world and America's place in it, "unique in its moral and intellectual appeal" and that it was this new perspective which wielded more influence in prompting revolution than, "an accumulation of grievances."