People Who Changed America

Moderator: Jim Harvey
Role of participants: Research and present a relevant topic, lead the discussion on it and participate in discussing other participants’ topics.
Number of participants (including the moderator): 17
Time: Wednesdays, 10:00 am–noon
Place: UMass Transit Facility, Commonwealth Avenue, Amherst
Parking: Parking in adjacent Lot 45; directions will be given

Our country scarcely resembles Plymouth or any of the original colonies. What changed it? And who played a pivotal role in that change? These will be the questions at the heart of this seminar.

We will seek to identify and briefly describe the people who moved us in new directions, focusing primarily on those lesser known.  We will try to describe how their contribution occurred; why that it was important; and what the impact has been on American society. We will focus, not on great presidents but upon lessor known folk. Some examples are:

  • Peter Zenger and freedom of the press
  • Samuel Slater and the American factory
  • Eugene Debs and American labor
  • Nicola Tesla and the generation of electricity
  • Lee De Forest and the electronics revolution
  • Peter Cooper and the railroad boom
  • Charles Finney, the Second Great Awakening and the birth of reform movements
  • William Lloyd Garrison and the Abolitionist movement
  • E. B. Du Bois and the NAACP
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton and women’s rights
  • Alexander Cartwright  and the rise of baseball

Format: Seminar

Resources: TBD

The Moderator: Jim spent much of his career life in science and computers, but has developed a strong interest in history. He has lead numerous seminars over the past 13 years in LIR.

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