"Frontier Radicalism" and "A Compass Pointing Home": Informal talks with the KHS Research Fellows

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You are invited to join Kentucky Historical Society Research Fellows Amie Cox and Andrew Forney for informal talks on their research projects:

Frontier Radicalism: Rewriting Kentucky into the Politics of the 1790s

Andrew Forney (ABD Texas Christian University/Assistant Professor United States Military Academy, West Point) discusses how the giants of America’s Early Republic period dominated the traditional narrative of the 1790s. Hamilton’s economic plans, Madison’s re-conceptualization of party politics, Jefferson’s departure and return to the national stage—all helped set a framework of Eastern Seaboard progression toward the idea of a “more perfect union.” These narratives often ignore two key elements of American politics during the 1790s: the appearance of populist radicalism in the form of the numerous Democratic Societies that sprouted during this period and the perceived centrifugal forces that operated along America’s nascent frontier. Kentucky provides the perfect case study to explore the role of radicalism on the frontier during the 1790s. 


A Compass Pointing Home: the Adventurous Life of William Bratton and the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Amie Cox (SpLis, Indiana University, Bloomington) explores the life of William Bratton, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Bratton arrived on the Kentucky frontier while a young boy, living south of Frankfort in an area that shifted county boundaries as Kentucky statehood was established and its population grew. He apprenticed as a gunsmith but also learned to read, write, do arithmetic and, like many males his age, become a proficient hunter, too. The bulk of Bratton's immediate family resettled near Bowling Green in 1800, but he remained in the Frankfort area until his War of 1812 service. Questions still abound as to exactly where Bratton lived and worked, and who were the important people in his life. What experiences and activities was he willing to give up when he volunteered for the Lewis and Clark Expedition? The KHS archives will hopefully reveal a clearer picture of Bratton's life in his pre-expedition days.


Talks will take place in the Jones Conference Room at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.