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Virginia's Northern Neck in an Era of Transformations, 1760-1810
Accommodating Revolutions addresses a controversy of long standing among historians of eighteenth-century America and Virginia—the extent to which internal conflict and/or consensus characterized the society of the Revolutionary era. In particular, it emphasizes the complex and often self-defeating actions and decisions of dissidents and other non-elite groups. By focusing on a small but significant region, Tillson elucidates the multiple and interrelated sources of conflict that beset Revolutionary Virginia, but also explains why in the end so little changed.
Some Aspects of the War of 1812
Though the Shawnee chief Tecumseh attempted to form a confederacy of tribes to stem the tide of white settlement in the Old Northwest, in November of 1811, the Americans marched to his village at the mouth of Tippecanoe Creek. The ensuing battle ended all hope of an Indian federation and had far-reaching effects on American and British relations. The British, blamed for providing the Indians with arms, drew the ire of hawks in Congress, who clamored ever more loudly for a war to end England’s power in North America. Revised with a new introduction and updated biographical information, After Tippecanoe contains six papers originally presented as lectures in Windsor, Canada, and Detroit, Michigan, during the winter of 1961–62 by three American and three Canadian historians. Their focus is the War of 1812 as it unfolded in the Great Lakes region, with special emphasis on the conflict in Michigan, New York, and Ontario, Canada.
The Politics of Religious Controversy in the Early United States
Historian Eric R. Schlereth places religious conflict at the center of early American political culture. He shows ordinary Americans—both faithful believers and Christianity's staunchest critics—struggling with questions about the meaning of tolerance and the limits of religious freedom. In doing so, he casts new light on the ways Americans reconciled their varied religious beliefs with political change at a formative moment in the nation's cultural life.
After the American Revolution, citizens of the new nation felt no guarantee that they would avoid the mire of religious and political conflict that had gripped much of Europe for three centuries. Debates thus erupted in the new United States about how or even if long-standing religious beliefs, institutions, and traditions could be accommodated within a new republican political order that encouraged suspicion of inherited traditions. Public life in the period included contentious arguments over the best way to ensure a compatible relationship between diverse religious beliefs and the nation's recent political developments.
In the process, religion and politics in the early United States were remade to fit each other. From the 1770s onward, Americans created a political rather than legal boundary between acceptable and unacceptable religious expression, one defined in reference to infidelity. Conflicts occurred most commonly between deists and their opponents who perceived deists' anti-Christian opinions as increasingly influential in American culture and politics. Exploring these controversies, Schlereth explains how Americans navigated questions of religious truth and difference in an age of emerging religious liberty.
The 1790 Journey of Count Paolo Andreani
In the summer of 1790 the Italian explorer Count Paolo Andreani embarked on a journey that would take him through New York State and eastern Iroquoia. Traveling along the Hudson and Mohawk Rivers, Andreani kept a meticulous record of his observations and experiences in the New World. Published complete for the first time in English, the diary is of major importance to those interested in life after the American Revolution, political affairs in the New Republic, and Native American peoples.
Through Andreani's writings, we glimpse a world in cultural, economic, and political transition. An active participant in Enlightenment science, Andreani provides detailed observations of the landscape and natural history of his route. He also documents the manners and customs of the Iroquois, Shakers, and German, Dutch, and Anglo New Yorkers. Andreani was particularly interested in the Oneida and Onondaga Indians he visited, and his description of an Oneida lacrosse match accompanies the earliest known depiction of a lacrosse stick. Andreani's American letters, included here, relate his sometimes difficult but always revealing personal relationships with Washington, Jefferson, and Adams.
Prefaced by an illuminating historical and biographical introduction, Along the Hudson and Mohawk is a fascinating look at the New Republic as seen through the eyes of an observant and curious explorer.
A Social History of the Continental Army
One of the images Americans hold most dear is that of the drum-beating, fire-eating Yankee Doodle Dandy rebel, overpowering his British adversaries through sheer grit and determination. The myth of the classless, independence-minded farmer or hard-working artisan-turned-soldier is deeply ingrained in the national psyche.
Charles Neimeyer here separates fact from fiction, revealing for the first time who really served in the army during the Revolution and why. His conclusions are startling. Because the army relied primarily on those not connected to the new American aristorcracy, the African Americans, Irish, Germans, Native Americans, laborers-for-hire, and "free white men on the move" who served in the army were only rarely alltruistic patriots driven by a vision of liberty and national unity.
Bringing to light the true composition of the enlisted ranks, the relationships of African-Americans and of Native Americans to the army, and numerous acts of mutiny, desertion, and resistance against officers and government, Charles Patrick Neimeyer here provides the first comprehensive and historically accurate portrait of the Continental soldier.
Many reference works offer compilations of critical documents covering individual liberty, local autonomy, constitutional order, and other issues that helped to shape the American political tradition. Yet few of those works are available in a form suitable for classroom use, and traditional textbooks give short shrift to these important issues.
The American Republic overcomes that knowledge gap by providing, in a single volume, critical, original documents revealing the character of American discourse on the nature and importance of local government, the purposes of federal union, and the role of religion and tradition in forming America’s drive for liberty.
The American Republic is divided into nine sections, each illustrating major philosophical, cultural, and policy positions at issue during crucial eras of American development. Readers will find documentary evidence of the purposes behind European settlement, American response to English acts, the pervasive role of religion in early American public life, and perspectives in the debate over independence.
Subsequent chapters examine the roots of American constitutionalism, Federalist and Anti-Federalist arguments concerning the need to protect common law rights, and the debates over whether the states or the federal government held final authority in determining the course of public policy in America. Also included are the discussions regarding disagreements over internal improvements and other federal measures aimed at binding the nation, particularly in the area of commerce.
The final section focuses on the political, cultural, and legal issues leading to the Civil War. Arguments and attempted compromises regarding slavery, along with laws that helped shape slavery, are highlighted. The volume ends with the prelude to the Civil War, a natural stopping-off point for studies of early American history.
By bringing together key original documents and other writings that explain cultural, religious, and historical concerns, this volume gives students, teachers, and general readers an effective way to begin examining the diversity of issues and influences that characterize American history. The result unquestionably leads to a deeper and more thorough understanding of America's political, institutional, and cultural continuity and change.
Bruce P. Frohnen is Associate Professor of Law at Ohio Northern University College of Law. He holds a J.D. from the Emory University School of Law and a Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University. Click here to print or download The American Republic index.
The Promise of Independence
Carol Sue Humphrey’s The American Revolution and the Press argues that newspapers played an important role during America’s struggle for independence by keeping Americans engaged in the war even when the fighting occurred in distant locales. From the moment that the colonials received word of Britain’s new taxes in 1764 until reports of the peace treaty arrived in 1783, the press constituted the major source of information about events and developments in the conflict with the mother country. Both Benjamin Franklin, one of the Revolution’s greatest leaders, and Ambrose Serle, a Loyalist, described the press as an “engine” that should be used to advance the cause. The efforts of Patriot printers to keep readers informed about the war helped ensure ultimate success by boosting morale and rallying Americans to the cause until victory was achieved. As Humphrey illustrates, Revolutionary-era newspapers provided the political and ideological unity that helped Americans secure their independence and create a new nation.
A Documentary Collection
Eyewitness accounts of the War of Independence by British observers and participants
The letters in this collection were written mostly by British military officers and diplomats reporting directly to their superiors in London. Many of the writers were actively engaged in fighting the Americans from 1775 until 1783; others were colonial administrators traveling through North America assessing the progress of British troops.
Beginning with reports of the surprisingly violent American response at the battles of Lexington and Concord, these letters by British army officers and soldiers initially conveyed supreme confidence. Likewise, correspondents in the Royal Navy had no reason to doubt their ultimate victory, since they understood themselves to be the world’s most formidable commercial and military fleet.
As the Revolution proceeded, the Colonists confounded the British by issuing Letters of Marque to the owners of privately held ships, which enabled them to supplement the modest colonial navy with privateers that attacked and disrupted British supply lines, cutting off needed reinforcements and provisions, including food that the colonists refused to provide. Other unorthodox tactics followed, causing increasing concern among the British, including the eventual fate of many Loyalists, some of whom had fought alongside British troops. What would befall these allies if America actually achieved independence?
The near-daily reports in this engrossing two-volume collection enable us to appreciate the familiar drama of American independence from a different standpoint, one not widely studied. Little-known details emerge, such as the fact that King George III seriously considered abdicating the throne at least twice, should independence be granted to America.
The American Revolution through British Eyes is sure to captivate anyone with an interest in America’s war for independence.
U.S. Expansion to the Gulf Coast and the Fate of the Seminole, 1763–1858
Conventional history narratives tell us that in the early years of the Republic, the United States fought three wars against the Seminole Indians and two against the Creeks. However, William Belko and the contributors to America's Hundred Years' War argue that we would do better to view these events as moments of heightened military aggression punctuating a much longer period of conflict in the Gulf Coast region.
Featuring essays on topics ranging from international diplomacy to Seminole military strategy, the volume urges us to reconsider the reasons for and impact of early U.S. territorial expansion. It highlights the actions and motivations of Indians and African Americans during the period and establishes the groundwork for research that is more balanced and looks beyond the hopes and dreams of whites.
America's Hundred Years' War offers more than a chronicle of the politics and economics of international rivalry. It provides a narrative of humanity and inhumanity, arrogance and misunderstanding, and outright bloodshed between vanquisher and vanquished as well.
Americans in Spanish West Florida, 1785-1810
The book contextualizes the 1810 rebellion, and by extension the southern frontier, within the broader Atlantic World, showing how both local factors as well as events in Europe affected lives in the Spanish borderlands. Breaking with traditional scholarship, McMichael examines contests over land and slaves as a determinant of loyalty. He draws on Spanish, French, and Anglo records to challenge scholarship that asserts a particularly “American” loyalty on the frontier whereby Anglo-American residents in West Florida, as disaffected subjects of the Spanish Crown, patiently abided until they could overthrow an alien system. Rather, it was political, social, and cultural conflicts—not nationalist ideology—that disrupted networks by which economic prosperity was gained and thus loyalty retained.