Michael J. Connolly

About Michael J. Connolly

Dr. Michael J. Connolly is Professor of History at Purdue University Northwest in Indiana. Dr. Connolly received his Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America and is the author of Capitalism, Politics, and Railroads in Jacksonian New England, as well as many articles on nineteenth-century American History. He has been published in New England Quarterly, Modern Age, the Historical Journal of Massachusetts, and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, among others.

Boston’s Bohemian Tory

By |2021-03-21T23:21:01-05:00March 21st, 2021|Categories: American Republic, Culture, History|

Thomas Gold Appleton was Boston’s Bohemian Tory, the merry wit of the “Athens of America.” He evinced a joyful Tory sensibility that disdained class consciousness, rejected the conception of liberty as the absence of restraint, critiqued fashionable ideas of equality and democracy, and believed the best life was loyalty to people and places. In the [...]

Arthur Foote and the Cult of the Restrained in Art

By |2021-01-06T16:41:53-06:00January 6th, 2021|Categories: Culture, Music|

Arthur Foote’s “cult of the restrained in art,” so well expressed in “A Night Piece,” represents another America, a parallel native culture pushed aside by the “cult of unrestrained expression.” Foote demonstrates that one need not be Aaron Copeland or Leonard Bernstein to be fully American. Nestled in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, [...]

The Past as Battlefield: The Power of Historiography

By |2021-01-04T16:20:03-06:00January 4th, 2021|Categories: Culture, History, Politics, Timeless Essays, Truth, Western Civilization|

Historiography is not an exchange in the marketplace but a fight on the battlefield.  It has a particular point of view on the past and punishes opponents; it is power politics masked as tolerant neutrality. The Left—like those behind the 1619 Project—understand the stakes and are fighting to maintain their legitimacy.  It is time the Right [...]

Richard Henry Dana, Sr.: An American High Tory

By |2020-11-03T12:15:09-06:00November 3rd, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Democracy, Equality, History, Liberty, Politics|

Richard Henry Dana, Sr. was acutely conscious that he was a man out-of-step with the antebellum ethos, an American High Tory in an era of rising democracy. Yet Dana was not some grouchy obsolete curmudgeon, and his withering critiques of America often hit their mark, exposing the weaknesses of liberty, democracy, and equality and bullishly [...]

The Toryism of Richard Henry Dana, Sr.

By |2020-09-10T13:20:58-05:00September 11th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, History, Literature|

Richard Henry Dana Sr.’s career followed a trajectory from romantic ardor, to disillusionment, to an embrace of traditionalism and social order. His life demonstrates that New England bore a rich Tory counter tradition of law and letters, not a monoculture of Whig and Republican industrialists, social reformers, and transcendentalist dreamers. Lucretia Mott listened with horror. [...]

The Tory Tradition

By |2020-07-16T09:28:24-05:00July 13th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Economics, England, History, Liberalism, Politics|

There is a Tory tradition in America that runs against the grain of establishment Liberalism, embracing home, hearth, community, family, church, nature, and the moral realities of everyday life, and opposed to individualism, unlimited free markets, libertarianism, secularism, and the rootless loneliness of global modernity. This tradition comes from within America, not without. One day [...]

The Case for President Harding

By |2020-06-08T00:39:22-05:00June 7th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, History, Politics, Presidency|

President Warren G. Harding “died twice, for there was his physical death, and then the death of his reputation.” But in reality, he was a man of achievement, and his two-and-a-half years in office boasted more accomplishments than other presidents have achieved in four. The revisionist scholarship of the past several decades has slowly seeped [...]

What Prohibition Teaches Us

By |2020-03-30T16:10:00-05:00March 30th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, History, Politics|

As the clock struck midnight to begin 2020, talk of a new “Roaring Twenties” began in earnest. This portends a wave of retrospectives, historical, fictional, and sensational. One of these will inevitably be Prohibition, the outlawing of the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors” or their import/export into the United States and its territories. [...]

The Year They Tore Salem Depot Down

By |2020-06-26T11:48:49-05:00December 20th, 2019|Categories: Architecture, Culture, History, Modernity|

We are lesser people for the disappearance of our architectural heritage. If Edmund Burke was correct that “to make us love our country, our country ought to be lovely,” then historical preservation takes on the same importance as land conservation. Both are inheritances to be held against the bulldozers of economic development. Salem Depot [...]

The Spontaneous Disorder of Kansas-Nebraska

By |2019-11-22T11:38:12-06:00November 19th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil War, Democracy, History|

Stephen Douglas’s faith that democratic self-government on the American frontier would create a spontaneous order of lawful and virtuous communities, especially in the face of divisive issues like slavery, was disastrously misplaced and played a significant role in starting the Civil War. The Kansas-Nebraska Act passed 165 years ago this past spring, and as cannons [...]

The Problem With Anne Hutchinson

By |2021-03-21T23:24:11-05:00October 4th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Culture, History, Religion|

Anne Hutchinson bewitches most college students. When analyzing her trial transcripts, with her clever and sarcastic repartee with Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop and the Puritan ministers, they come to admire her greatly. Whiggishness creeps into their interpretation of her words and actions, seeing her as a harbinger of contemporary liberty. They believe that the [...]

The Yachtsman and the Revolution

By |2020-03-16T19:01:43-05:00September 12th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, History, Republicanism, Revolution|

James Henry Stark was a historian and defender of the Loyalists in an age of high reverence for the American Revolution. Stark’s unhappiness at the public presentation and textbook renderings of the Revolution seethed for years, until finally in 1910 he published “Loyalists of Massachusetts” to settle the debate. In March 1910, the wealthy Boston [...]

The Forgotten Corners of Alexander Stephens’ “Cornerstone Speech”

By |2020-12-03T14:23:49-06:00August 12th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil War, Equality, Government, History, Politics, Secession, Slavery, South, War|

History is complex, messy, and unyielding to our dearest wishes for easy categorization. That Alexander Stephens understood the Confederacy through its cornerstone of slavery is plainly true and explained in his own words. But the “Cornerstone Speech” goes further, planting the other corners of the Confederate state in concerns over federalism and sovereignty. Anxious onlookers [...]

Barrett Wendell and New England Orderly Idealism

By |2019-06-26T10:32:44-05:00June 25th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, History, Tradition|

Long after Barrett Wendell’s death, an elderly George Santayana remembered his former Harvard colleague fondly. “We were on the same side of the barricade.” Both he and Wendell loved the College with all its quirky traditions and sought to protect it from the academic innovations of President Charles Eliot. “We both desired to screen those [...]

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