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Pauline Maier is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of American History.
She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1968. Her book publications include From Resistance to Revolution: Colonial Radicals and the Development of American Opposition to Britain, 1765-1776 (1972), The Old Revolutionaries: Political Lives in the Age of Samuel Adams (1980), and The American People: A History (1986), a textbook for junior-high-school students. In 1997 Alfred A. Knopf published her American Scripture: Making the Declaration of Independence, which appeared as a Vintage paperback the next year. That book examines the development of independence, the drafting and editing of the Declaration of Independence, and the document's transformation during the early nineteenth century from a revolutionary manifesto into a statement of principles for established governments, including, above all, that of the United States. The book also examines some ninety state and local "declarations of independence" written between April and July 1776 that had been generally forgotten but, she argues, often made a better case for independence than the Declaration Thomas Jefferson drafted for the Second Continental Congress. American Scripture was on the New York Times Book Review editors "Choice" list of the best 11 books of 1997 and a finalist in General Nonfiction for the National Book Critics' Circle Award. In 1998 she received MIT's Killian Award, given annually to one senior faculty member for outstanding achievement.
In the summer of 2002, the W.W. Norton Company published Inventing America, a new American history college textbook distinguished by its consideration of science and technology within the larger history of the United States. Professor Maier wrote the book's first eight chapters, which cover the vast chronological period from the first arrival of human beings in the Americas to the moment on March 4, 1800, when Thomas Jefferson completed his inaugural address. Subsequent chapters were written by MIT Professor Merritt Roe Smith, Professor Alex Keyssar of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, and Yale's Professor Daniel Kevles.
Prof. Maier is also known for an article on "Popular Uprisings in Eighteenth-Century America," which first appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly (WMQ) for 1970, won the Douglass Adair Award for the best article published in that journal over an eight-year period, and was reprinted in In Search of Early America: The William and Mary Quarterly, 1943-1993 (1993), a collection of the eleven most influential articles published in the WMQ over the previous half century, and for "The Revolutionary Origins of the American Corporation," an article published in the WMQ during 1993. At present she is working on a book about the ratification of the federal Constitution that is under contract to Simon and Schuster. At MIT she teaches courses on American History to 1865, the American Revolution, American Classics (in which students read "classic" works in American History such as Benjamin Franklin's autobiography or the journals of Lewis and Clark), and (with Prof. Robert M. Fogelson) Riots, Strikes, and Conspiracies in American History.
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as author at MIT World Series: Alumni Association Family Weekend,