Topics in American History liner notes by Chris Jentsch
I. 1491 - The opening sounds abstract the image of a pristine Caribbean beach at the dawn of the influx of Europeans to the Americas.
II. Manifest Destiny - The 1800s conviction some held in the United States that expansion of the country across the North American continent was inexorable.
III. Lincoln-Douglas Debates - The 1858 series of formal arguments Lincoln had while losing the U.S. Senate race in Illinois to the incumbent Stephen A. Douglas (…not the noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass).
IV. Tempest-Tost - Part of a phrase from the Statue of Liberty inscription which describes some of the “huddled masses” and “yearning” “wretched refuse” as having been “tempest-tost”.
V. Suburban Diaspora - The idea that people who grew up in an American middle class suburb during the Baby Boom (and then spread out to cities or rural areas) share some sort of cultural heritage.
VI. Dominos - Invokes some of the existential dread of the Cold War, McCarthyism, and the Red Scare of the 1950s, which all contributed to the formulation of the domino theory.
VII. Meeting at Surratt’s - Hanged in 1865 for conspiring to assassinate President Lincoln, Mary Surratt was the first woman executed by the U.S. federal government. The conspirators were alleged to have consulted in her boarding house (still standing on H Street, now a Chinese restaurant) a few blocks from Ford’s Theater. Some said evidence of her participation was circumstantial, but the verdict expressed part of the general hysteria that followed the slaying.
Topics in American History by Christopher Jentsch and Jentsch Group No Net has been made possible with support from Chamber Music America’s 2015 New Jazz Works Program funded through the generosity of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.