Three Baylor profs featured on C-SPAN’s “American History TV” series
Over the past 18 months, history buffs nationwide have had the opportunity to hear free lectures from not one, but three Baylor history professors — thanks to C-SPAN’s “American History TV” series.
In September 2018, C-SPAN visited campus to film a lecture by Dr. Thomas Kidd on the first Great Awakening in the Americas. In his lecture, “Salem Witch Trials and the Great Awakening,” he explained how the Salem witch trials and the decline of Puritanism led to an era of traveling preachers, such as George Whitefield, and an emphasis on evangelism.
“I really enjoy that class session because it gives me a chance to introduce some of my primary expertise in history, the Great Awakening, to Baylor students — and in this case, to a national tv audience,” says Kidd.
Last spring, the cable public service channel aired “The American Military in the Revolutionary War,” featuring Dr. Julie Anne Sweet. Decked out in revolutionary period military gear, Sweet reviewed the military history of late 18th-century America. She and her students discussed how a small, inexperienced army defeated the British forces, the differing methods of war, and how much truth there is to the historical narrative of this time (which was primarily written by the winners and men in power).
“The biggest take-away has been just how different the military was back then — from the challenges of operating a flintlock musket to multiple forces in the field at the same time and on the same side,” says Sweet. “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience working with C-SPAN. It was such a wonderful opportunity for me and my students.”
A third Baylor lecture — “1890s Growing American Internationalism,” by Dr. David Smith — debuted on C-SPAN just a few weeks ago. Smith’s class discussed the growth of the internationalist worldview in 1890s America, when economic, moral and political impulses caused Americans to consider a larger role in the world for their nation. Smith detailed the actions they took, such as pursuing missionary work, arguing for the expansion of the Navy, and searching for new economic markets.
“This lecture is the story of how the United States came to understand itself as a Great Power,” says Smith. “It covers the time the United States pivots from being an isolationist country to one willing to look outward in the world and play an increasingly active role.”
Sic ’em, Drs. Sweet, Kidd and Smith!