The award-winning historian Mary P. Ryan offers a new vision of early American history that focuses on the contributions of cities and of West Coast Hispanic culture to the forging of an American system of democracy and capitalism. The history of the United States is often told as a movement westward, beginning at the Atlantic coast and following farmers across the continent. But cities played an equally important role in the country's formation. Towns sprung up along the Pacific as well as the Atlantic, as Spaniards and Englishmen took Indian land and converted it into private property. In this reworking of early American history, Ryan shows how cities--specifically San Francisco and Baltimore--were essential parties to the creation of the republics of the United States and Mexico.
Joining the discussion will be Michael Blaakman, Assistant Professor of History. Blaakman’s first book project, Speculation Nation: Land Mania in the Revolutionary American Republic, investigates the political and financial culture of a frenzied land rush that swept the new republic in its first quarter-century.