June 7, 7 pm: Michael Klarman, “The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the American Constitution”

framers-coupBoth the Constitution’s content and its ratification process raise troubling questions about democratic legitimacy. The Federalists were eager to avoid full-fledged democratic deliberation over the Constitution, and the document that was ratified was stacked in favor of their preferences. And in terms of substance, the Constitution was a significant departure from the more democratic state constitutions of the 1770s. Definitive and authoritative, The Framers’ Coup explains why the Framers preferred such a constitution and how they managed to persuade the country to adopt it. We have lived with the consequences, both positive and negative, ever since.
The Framers’ Coup is more than a compendium of great stories, however, and the powerful arguments that feature throughout will reshape our understanding of the nation’s founding. Simply put, the Constitutional Convention almost didn’t happen, and once it happened, it almost failed. And, even after the convention succeeded, the Constitution it produced almost failed to be ratified. Just as importantly, the Constitution was hardly the product of philosophical reflections by brilliant, disinterested statesmen, but rather ordinary interest group politics. Multiple conflicting interests had a say, from creditors and debtors to city dwellers and backwoodsmen. The upper class overwhelmingly supported the Constitution; many working class colonists were more dubious. Slave states and nonslave states had different perspectives on how well the Constitution served their interests.

Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod logoOur June lectures are sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

 

 

 

June 10, 2 pm: Stephen Kinzer, “The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain and the Birth of American Empire”

True FlagHow should the United States act in the world? Americans cannot decide. Sometimes we burn with righteous anger, launching foreign wars and deposing governments. Then we retreat―until the cycle begins again.

No matter how often we debate this question, none of what we say is original. Every argument is a pale shadow of the first and greatest debate, which erupted more than a century ago. Its themes resurface every time Americans argue whether to intervene in a foreign country.

Revealing a piece of forgotten history, Stephen Kinzer transports us to the dawn of the twentieth century, when the United States first found itself with the chance to dominate faraway lands. That prospect thrilled some Americans. It horrified others. Their debate gripped the nation.

The country’s best-known political and intellectual leaders took sides. Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst pushed for imperial expansion; Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, and Andrew Carnegie preached restraint. Only once before―in the period when the United States was founded―have so many brilliant Americans so eloquently debated a question so fraught with meaning for all humanity.

All Americans, regardless of political perspective, can take inspiration from the titans who faced off in this epic confrontation. Their words are amazingly current. Every argument over America’s role in the world grows from this one. It all starts here.

Our March lectures are sponsored by First Citizens Federal Credit UnionFirst Citizens

June 14, 7 pm: Nigel Hamilton, “Commander in Chief: FDR’s Battle with Churchill”

commander-in-chiefNigel Hamilton’s Mantle of Command, long-listed for the National Book Award, drew on years of archival research and interviews to portray FDR in a tight close up, as he determined Allied strategy in the crucial initial phases of World War II. Commander in Chief reveals the astonishing sequel — suppressed by Winston Churchill in his memoirs — of Roosevelt’s battles with Churchill to maintain that strategy.  Roosevelt knew that the Allies should take Sicily but avoid a wider battle in southern Europe, building experience but saving strength to invade France in early 1944. Churchill seemed to agree at Casablanca — only to undermine his own generals and the Allied command, testing Roosevelt’s patience to the limit. Churchill was afraid of the invasion planned for Normandy, and pushed instead for disastrous fighting in Italy, thereby almost losing the war for the Allies. In a dramatic showdown, FDR finally set the ultimate course for victory by making the ultimate threat. Commander in Chief shows FDR in top form at a crucial time in the modern history of the West.

Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod logoOur June lectures are sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

Heritage Award Dinner: Wednesday, June 21, 2017, 5:30 pm, Coonamessett Inn, Falmouth

Established in 2000 to mark the 100th anniversary of the Historical Society, the award recognizes individuals or organizations who have provided outstanding leadership over time to help preserve the character, culture, stories, vistas or other aspect of Falmouth’s rich history, or have inspired others to do so, resulting in a lasting legacy.

In 2017, we will be honoring two groups who work for the beautification and betterment of  Falmouth!

Our 2017 Heritage Award Recipients:

The Falmouth Garden Club: Founded in 1931 and working with the Falmouth Historical Society since 1947, the Falmouth Garden Club is one of the oldest and largest clubs in the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts. Throughout its 86 year history, the club has contributed to the civic and residential communities, centering their projects and workshops on horticulture, conservation and design.

Old Stone Dock Association: For over 50 years this neighborhood association has worked with town leaders for improvements in beautification, safety, and road maintenance around Surf Drive Beach and Bathhouse on behalf of all Falmouth residents.  In recognition of the 200th anniversary of the Old Stone Dock (1817-2017), the members of the Association have worked to create town-wide appreciation for that piece of our maritime heritage.

Each honoree has contributed to Falmouth’s culture by their work at community improvement and beautification. We salute both of these hard-working organizations!

 

The 2017 Heritage Award Dinner will be held on Wednesday, June 21st at the Coonamessett Inn, Falmouth. Dinner will be chicken piccatta or, if needed, a vegetarian option.

To purchase tickets, click below (please note: $ 35 of the admission price is tax-deductible):


Heritage Dinner June 21, 2017
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Unable to attend the Heritage Dinner but still want to make a donation to assist the event?  You can do that as well. Just click the “Donate” button below and you choose the amount you would like to give:




 





 

 

 

 

June 22, 7 pm: Robert Strauss, “Worst. President. Ever”

worst-president-everWorst. President. Ever. flips the great presidential biography on its head, offering an enlightening—and highly entertaining!—account of poor James Buchanan’s presidency to prove once and for all that, well, few leaders could have done worse.

But author Robert Strauss does much more, leading readers out of Buchanan’s terrible term in office—meddling in the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision, exacerbating the Panic of 1857, helping foment the John Brown uprisings and “Bloody Kansas,” virtually inviting a half-dozen states to secede from the Union as a lame duck, and on and on—to explore with insight and humor his own obsession with presidents, and ultimately the entire notion of ranking our presidents. He guides us through the POTUS rating game of historians and others who have made their own Mount Rushmores—or Marianas Trenches!—of presidential achievement, showing why Buchanan easily loses to any of the others, but also offering insights into presidential history buffs like himself, the forgotten “lesser” presidential sites, sex and the presidency, the presidency itself, and how and why it can often take the best measures out of even the most dedicated men.

Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod logoOur June lectures are sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

June 27, 7 pm: Michael Tougias, combo program: “The Finest Hours” and “So Close to Home”

michael-tougiasNY Times bestselling Author Michael Tougias will appear at the Falmouth Museums on the Green on Tuesday, June 27 at 7 pm. . He will give a two part multi-media presentation.  The first part covers his new book So Close To Home: A True Story of an American Family’s Fight for Survival During WWII.  The second part of the program features his bestseller The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.  The Disney Corporation has made a movie based on the book, starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck.  The program is suitable for all ages.

michael-tougias-2 For The Finest Hours, Tougias will use slides of the storm, the sinking oil tankers, the rescues, the victims, the survivors and the heroes to tell the story of this historic event which took place in February of 1952.  He will describe the harrowing attempts to rescue the seamen, especially focusing on four young Coast Guardsmen who must overcome insurmountable odds to save the lives of 32 crewmen stranded aboard the stern of the Pendleton. Standing between the men and their mission were towering waves that reached 70 feet, blinding snow, and one of the most dangerous shoals in the world, the dreaded Chatham Bar. The waters along the outer arm of Cape Cod are called “the graveyard of the Atlantic” for good reason, yet this rescue defies all odds.

Tougias says, “This event was–and still is– the greatest and most daring sea rescue ever performed by the Coast Guard, and it happened right here off the New England coast.  I felt this episode of heroism and tragedy needed to be told in its entirety because it’s an important piece of overlooked history.

   For So Close To Home, Tougias will also tell the story through a series of slides.  Thismichael-tougias-1 event happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 1942 when a Uboat sank a ship carrying the Downs family.  Tougias describes the family’s incredible fight for survival adrift at sea, but also includes the story of the daring Uboat commander who patrolled the Gulf, even going into the mouth of the Mississippi River. A book signing will follow the program.

            “I enjoy doing these programs,” says Tougias, “because I like to transport the audience into the heart of the storm so that they ask themselves ‘what would I have done.’  I don’t like to do author readings because I think they are boring, but with a slide presentation, the viewer can visually relive the adventure.”

Michael Tougias is the author and coauthor of 24 books including Fatal Forecast: An Incredible True Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea, which the Los Angeles Times called “breathtaking…a marvelous and terrifying tale.” Tougias’ previous book Ten Hours Until Dawn: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do During the Blizzard of ‘78 received an Editor’s Choice Selection from the American Library Association which selected it as one of the top books of the year.

Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod logoOur June lectures are sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod

June 29, 7 pm: Terry Ann Knopf, “The Golden Age of Boston Television”

Golden Age of Boston TelevisionThere are some two hundred TV markets in the country, but only one—Boston, Massachusetts—hosted a Golden Age of local programming. In this lively insider account, Terry Ann Knopf chronicles the development of Boston television, from its origins in the 1970s through its decline in the early 1990s. During TV’s heyday, not only was Boston the nation’s leader in locally produced news, programming, and public affairs, but it also became a model for other local stations around the country. It was a time of award-winning local newscasts, spirited talk shows, thought-provoking specials and documentaries, ambitious public service campaigns, and even originally produced TV films featuring Hollywood stars. Knopf also shows how this programming highlighted aspects of Boston’s own history over two turbulent decades, including the treatment of highly charged issues of race, sex, and gender—and the stations’ failure to challenge the Roman Catholic Church during its infamous sexual abuse scandal.

Laced with personal insights and anecdotes, The Golden Age of Boston Television offers an intimate look at how Boston’s television stations refracted the city’s culture in unique ways, while at the same time setting national standards for television creativity and excellence.

Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod logoOur June lectures are sponsored by the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod