Progress and Pleasure: Clubbing in the American Enlightenment
An Alpheus T. Mason Lecture on Constitutional Law and Political Thought: The Quest for Freedom
Darren M. Staloff, Professor of History, City College of New York and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York; Director, Hertog Scholars Program, Macaulay Honors College, CUNY
Author of Hamilton, Adams, Jefferson: The Politics of Enlightenment and the American Founding (2007), and The Making of an American Thinking Class: Intellectuals and Intelligentsia in Puritan Massachusetts (Oxford University Press, 1998)
Professor Staloff will discuss the eighteenth century club-- a critical institution for the dissemination and enactment of the Enlightenment in early America. One of a number of vital sociable institutions, the key to its success was its combination of "social contract" governance with private communities of shared interests and pleasures. The result was an institution that inculcated both the republican ideal of self-government and a regime of polite conversation and moderation. The combination of these features allowed clubs to effectively speak for the public good and represent the ideals of enlightened public intervention.