My name is Michael Lynch. I’m an East Tennessee native with a B.A. in History from Lincoln Memorial University and an M.A. in U.S. History from the University of Tennessee, where I’m currently a Ph.D. candidate in early American history. I’m back at my alma mater as the director of the Abraham Lincoln Lincoln Library and Museum and an instructor of history.
I just defended my dissertation, which examines the impact of eighteenth-century gender norms on frontiersmen’s participation in the American Revolution. Focusing on southwestern Virginia and present-day East Tennessee, I argue that contemporary ideas about what it meant to be a man had a profound and paradoxical effect on settlers’ relationship to the Revolution. Backwoodsmen’s commitment to the ideal of independent manhood initially pulled them into the struggle against Britain, but gender norms also strained the coalition between frontier and seaboard, and finally brought about that coalition’s collapse when the war ended.
My M.A. thesis examined evolving interpretations of Revolutionary War militiamen who fought at the Battle of King’s Mountain and the forces that shaped the way Americans remembered that event. (If you’d like to know more about my research and my professional/academic background, check out my other website.)
I spent a few years doing adjunct professor gigs, but a lot of my career has been spent in public history. In previous stints at the ALLM I helped research, write, and design exhibits in addition to assisting with collections management, publications, and various other duties. I also spent a year running a historic house museum in Kentucky, and I was a graduate assistant for academic programs at the McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture. I spent a few years on the board of the Gov. John Sevier Memorial Association, which provides support and oversight for Marble Springs State Historic Site in Knoxville, TN.
This site is basically my personal soapbox for expounding on matters relating to American history, primarily from the colonial era through the Civil War. Historical books, sites, exhibits, debates, myths, personalities, and preservation are all fair game. I’m especially interested in the American Revolution and the early history of Tennessee. As a longtime dinosaur fanatic, I tend to post about matters prehistoric and paleontological, too, so don’t be shocked if you find me meandering into the really distant past.
As John Lawton said, “The irony of the Information Age is that it has given new respectability to uninformed opinion.” I hope you find my opinions here to be informed, but not too respectable. And it should go without saying that the opinions expressed on this blog are solely mine, and not those of any institutions or organizations with which I’m affiliated,
If you’d like to email me, the address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to follow my dual Twitter accounts, too. My professional Twitter handle is @mlynchhist, where I keep my historian hat planted firmly atop my head. My other handle is @mlynch5396, where I’m liable to tweet about anything that piques my interest.
Oh, and if you’re curious about the painting in the header at the top of the blog, click here.