The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of a Conscience
Author: Richard Francis
Pubpsher: HarperCollins UK
The Salem witch hunt has entered our vocabulary as the very essence of injustice. Judge Samuel Sewall presided at these trials, passing harsh judgment on the condemned. But five years later, he publicly recanted his guilty verdicts and begged for forgiveness. This extraordinary act was a turning point not only for Sewall but also for America's nascent values and mores. In Judge Sewall's Apology, Richard Francis draws on the judge's own diaries, which enables us to see the early colonists not as grim ideologues, but as flesh-and-blood idealists, striving for a new society while coming to terms with the desires and imperfections of ordinary life. Through this unsung hero of the American conscience -- a Puritan, an antislavery agitator, a defender of Native American rights, and a Utopian theorist -- we are granted a fresh perspective on a familiar drama.
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and bestselling author of Backlash—an unflinching dissection of the mind of America after 9/11 In this most original examination of America's post-9/11 culture, Susan Faludi shines a light on the country's psychological response to the attacks on that terrible day. Turning her acute observational powers on the media, popular culture, and political life, Faludi unearths a barely acknowledged but bedrock societal drama shot through with baffling contradictions. Why, she asks, did our culture respond to an assault against American global dominance with a frenzied summons to restore "traditional" manhood, marriage, and maternity? Why did we react as if the hijackers had targeted not a commercial and military edifice but the family home and nursery? Why did an attack fueled by hatred of Western emancipation lead us to a regressive fixation on Doris Day womanhood and John Wayne masculinity, with trembling "security moms," swaggering presidential gunslingers, and the "rescue" of a female soldier cast as a "helpless little girl"? The answer, Faludi finds, lies in a historical anomaly unique to the American experience: the nation that in recent memory has been least vulnerable to domestic attack was forged in traumatizing assaults by nonwhite "barbarians" on town and village. That humiliation lies concealed under a myth of cowboy bluster and feminine frailty, which is reanimated whenever threat and shame looms. Brilliant and important, The Terror Dream shows what 9/11 revealed about us—and offers the opportunity to look at ourselves anew.
People do bad things. They misspeak, mislead, and misbehave. They lie, cheat, steal, and kill. Often, afterward, they apologize. But what makes a successful apology? Why does Joe Biden's 2007 apology for referring to Barack Obama as "articulate and bright" succeed, whereas Mel Gibson's 2006 apology for his anti-Semitic tirade fails? Naturally, the effectiveness of an apology depends on the language used, as well as the conditions under which we offer our regrets. In Sorry About That, linguist Edwin Battistella analyzes the public apologies of presidents, politicians, entertainers, and businessmen, situating the apology within American popular culture. Battistella offers the fascinating stories behind these apologies alongside his own analysis of the language used in each. He uses these examples to demonstrate the ways in which language creates sincere or insincere apologies, why we choose to apologize or don't, and how our efforts to say we are sorry succeed or fail. Each chapter expands on a central concept or distinction that explains part of the apology process. Battistella covers over fifty memorable apologies from McDonald's, Martha Stewart, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Bill Clinton, and many more. Moving back and forth between examples and concepts, Battistella connects actual apologies with the broader social, ethical, and linguistic principles behind them. Readers will come away from the book better consumers of apologies - and better apologizers as well.
These essays demonstrate that support for a more aggressive battle against slavery had been growing for a number of decades before finding broad support among abolitionists in the 1850s. Ultimately the political and more militant wings of abolitionism converged after the start of the Civil War, when abolitionists worked to prod Abraham Lincoln into enlisting blacks in the Union army and adopting emancipation as one of the North's war goals.