Long before Lin Manuel Miranda and Hamilton nudged us to remember that our nation’s past is neither dead nor inaccessible, similar efforts were being made in New Hampshire. After the Revolution, written by David Magidson and produced by UNH’s Theatre Education Program, dealt with New Hampshire’s legislative debate over the ratification of the United States Constitution.
We know that in 1788 the state eventually became the ninth to ratify the document, but Magidson’s work did not focus on the result. Instead, his play focused on the debate between federalists and anti-federalists in New Hampshire, and how federalist logic slowly prevailed among the 120 delegates gathered in Exeter.
In the clip below, Katherine Curtis talked to the playwright about his creation, notable New Hampshire federalists, and how he expected the public to react to the play.
That same year, Katherine Curtis spoke to UNH Manchester professor of history Jack Resch about an ongoing public history project, coincidentally titled “After the Revolution” as well. In 1985, the New Hampshire Council for the Humanities sponsored “After the Revolution” with the goal of compiling information from documents (specifically those of the immediate post- Revolution era) that had been overlooked or abandoned in dusty attics and hidden in cabinets across the state.
Resch also broached the topic of New Hampshire’s hotly contested ratification of the Constitution, speaking about the vital social information the project brought to the historic issue, including the monumental role religion played in the politics of the 1780s.
Though Miranda has hung up his spurs and Magidson’s After the Revolution has long since finished its run, Resch continues the mission. His published work includes Suffering Soldiers: Revolutionary War Veterans, Moral Sentiment and Political Culture in the Early Republic (2000), which focuses on Peterborough, New Hampshire as a case study.