Today Bryan is lecturing on Royall Tyler’s 1787 play The Contrast, which he discusses in the context of anitheatrical prejudice in the early national period. (Click here for the online illustrated edition at the University of Virginia.)

Last week, I quoted from the introduction to Kenneth Jackson and David S. Dunbar’s anthology of New York writing, Empire City: New York Through the Centuries.

In 1624 when the Dutch first set up a trading post on Manhattan, their goal was not to convert the Indians or to practice a special religion but to make money. Visiting Manhattan in 1774 from Puritan Boston, John Adams expressed disdain: