A Blog Dedicated to the Study of the Gilded Age, Progressive Era, and history of the environment.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Ok, this is a little outside the realm of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, but it
falls in the public history category. All historians should consider themselves public historians, especially when it comes to commemoration of past events and people. Last week I was in philadelphia to do some site seeing. I have always been a big fan of Benjamin Franklin and was drawn to his grave in Christ Church cemetery. It is a rather large marble slab glittering from the many pennies and nickels that were tossed on it (not sure why anyone does this). Although he may be the most illustrious occupant of the cemetery, there are others of note interred there, such as Dr. Benjamin Rush, for example. In walking around I noticed that there is one noteworthy individual not marked in the map or mentioned on the website, that of Tench Coxe (1755-1824), an understudy of Alexander Hamilton who co-wrote the seminal Report on Manufactures (1791). Coxe later held some other governmental posts during the early republic, and he played hardball politics in the 1800 election by releasing an controversial letter penned by John Adams. If nothing else he proves that the founders were no saints when it came to politics. They waged bitter, personal campaigns in ways anyone decrying the current tone of political debate should recognize. I would think this would make him just as noteworthy as John Taylor, who was a grave digger at Christ Church for 50 years.