Theses Doctoral

Cultural Consumption and Political Thought in the Age of the American Revolution

Hoffman, Mark Anthony

This dissertation uses the reading patterns of New York’s earliest elites, including a significant portion of the founding fathers, who checked out books from the New York Society Library (NYSL), to evaluate the shifting meanings of political thought, affiliation, and action in the years between the ratification of the Constitution and the War of 1812. The reading data come from two charging ledgers spanning two periods –1789 to 1792, and 1799 to 1806 – during which a new country was built, relations with foreign nations defined, and contestation over the character of a new democracy was intense. Using novel combinations of text and network analysis, I explore the political nature of reading and the extent to which social, economic, and political positions overlapped with what people read. In the process, I identify the key social and cultural dimensions on which New York, and by extension, American, elite society was politically stratified in its early years.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2024-09-03.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Bearman, Peter Shawn
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 8, 2019