What can studying individual lives tell us about larger patterns of social and political change? In this seminar we will read and discuss a few exciting recent histories of early America, which experiment with ways to chart “a world in a life, and a life in the world.” We will also examine a few first person primary sources - accounts of life in America during the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries by people on the ground. The readings will allow us to survey a range of important topics, including the American colonies’ place in the British empire, slavery, the American Revolution, and the wider set of social transformations that characterized the Atlantic “Age of Revolutions.” The main written assignment will be a 15-20 page research paper, the primary requirement for the capstone J400 course. You will have broad leeway in choosing your topic for this paper. There will also be several short exercises designed to promote discussion and to guide you through the process of writing your final paper.