Season 2, Episode 9: The Roots of Liberty?: An MHS Mystery
In 1860, a historically-minded donor presented the MHS with tree roots, which he claimed belonged to Boston’s famous Liberty Tree. The tree, an American elm, served as a rallying point and important symbol for protesters and rebels in the years leading up to the American Revolution. Were the roots actually from that hallowed tree? Are they even from an American elm? In this episode, we set out to solve the mystery.
Learn more about the roots:
Episode Special Guests:
Dr. William (Ned) Friedman is the eighth director of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and the Arnold Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. He is deeply interested in the evolutionary history of plants as well as the intellectual history of evolutionary thought.
Dr. Jacqueline Reynoso is a historian of Early America whose research explores processes of geopolitical imagining in eighteenth-century North America. She is an Assistant Professor of History at CSU Channel Islands.
For more on this topic, please see the following article:
Lurie, Shira. “Liberty Poles and the Fight for Popular Politics in the Early Republic.” Journal of the Early Republic 38, no. 4 (2018): 673–97.
This episode uses materials from:
Peas Corps by Podington Bear (Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported)
Psychic by Dominic Giam of Ketsa Music (licensed under a commercial non-exclusive license by the Massachusetts Historical Society through Ketsa.uk)
Curious Nature by Dominic Giam of Ketsa Music (licensed under a commercial non-exclusive license by the Massachusetts Historical Society through Ketsa.uk)