Brian DeLay, associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses how the backwater of western Europe emerged from the devastation of the fourteenth century to generate the power, wealth, knowledge, institutions, and energy to initiate and develop a worldwide expansion.
Jill Lepore, Professor of Early American History at Harvard University, draws on scholarship from her book, The Name of War: King Philip's War and the Origins of American Identity, to trace how the meanings attached to this brutally destructive war have changed as the attitudes about historical actors and the political pressures on those actors have changed.
Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History at Cornell University, reinterprets the Salem witchcraft crisis from a seventeenth-century perspective, drawing not only on court records, but also on correspondence and journals from the late 1680s to the early 1690s.
Professor John Fea of Messiah College discusses the European motivations--gold, gospel, and glory--for exploration in the Americas, taking Europeans from the Crusades to the Spanish conquest and the exploitation of resources in the Caribbean. He explores as well the question of whether the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs was "complete"--military, political, economic, religious, and cultural.
Joyce Appleby, Professor Emerita, University of California, Los Angeles, explores how the men and women born after the American Revolution experienced and developed the theoretical ideas of liberty and independence put in place by their parents and grandparents.