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Historical Imagination and the Creation of the American Republic
Rome Reborn on Western Shores examines the literature of the Revolutionary era to explore the ways in which American patriots employed the classics and to assess antiquity's importance to the early political culture of the United States. Where other writers have concentrated on political theory and ideology, Shalev demonstrates that classical discourse constituted a distinct mode of historical thought during the era, tracing the role of the classics from roughly 1760 to 1800 and beyond.
War, Sacrifice, and Memory in Revolutionary America
The first martyr to the cause of American liberty was Major General Joseph Warren, a well-known political orator, physician, and president of the Provincial Congress of Massachusetts. Shot in the face at close range at Bunker Hill, Warren was at once transformed into a national hero, with his story appearing throughout the colonies in newspapers, songs, pamphlets, sermons, and even theater productions. His death, though shockingly violent, was not unlike tens of thousands of others, but his sacrifice came to mean something much more significant to the American public.
Sealed with Blood reveals how public memories and commemorations of Revolutionary War heroes, such as those for Warren, helped Americans form a common bond and create a new national identity. Drawing from extensive research on civic celebrations and commemorative literature in the half-century that followed the War for Independence, Sarah Purcell shows how people invoked memories of their participation in and sacrifices during the war when they wanted to shore up their political interests, make money, argue for racial equality, solidify their class status, or protect their personal reputations. Images were also used, especially those of martyred officers, as examples of glory and sacrifice for the sake of American political principles.
By the midnineteenth century, African Americans, women, and especially poor white veterans used memories of the Revolutionary War to articulate their own, more inclusive visions of the American nation and to try to enhance their social and political status. Black slaves made explicit the connection between military service and claims to freedom from bondage. Between 1775 and 1825, the very idea of the American nation itself was also democratized, as the role of "the people" in keeping the sacred memory of the Revolutionary War broadened.
Indians, Witchcraft, and Power in the Early American Republic
Seneca Possessed examines the ordeal of a Native people in the wake of the American Revolution. As part of the once-formidable Iroquois Six Nations in western New York, Senecas occupied a significant if ambivalent place within the newly established United States. They found themselves the object of missionaries' conversion efforts while also confronting land speculators, poachers, squatters, timber-cutters, and officials from state and federal governments.
In response, Seneca communities sought to preserve their territories and culture amid a maelstrom of economic, social, religious, and political change. They succeeded through a remarkable course of cultural innovation and conservation, skillful calculation and luck, and the guidance of both a Native prophet and unusual Quakers. Through the prophecies of Handsome Lake and the message of Quaker missionaries, this process advanced fitfully, incorporating elements of Christianity and white society and economy, along with older Seneca ideas and practices.
But cultural reinvention did not come easily. Episodes of Seneca witch-hunting reflected the wider crises the Senecas were experiencing. Ironically, as with so much of their experience in this period, such episodes also allowed for the preservation of Seneca sovereignty, as in the case of Tommy Jemmy, a Seneca chief tried by New York in 1821 for executing a Seneca "witch." Here Senecas improbably but successfully defended their right to self-government. Through the stories of Tommy Jemmy, Handsome Lake, and others, Seneca Possessed explores how the Seneca people and their homeland were "possessed"—culturally, spiritually, materially, and legally—in the era of early American independence.
The Siege of Yorktown--the military engagement that ended the American Revolutionary War--would not have been possible without the French fleet's major strategic victory in the Battle of the Chesapeake on September 5, 1781. It was during this battle that British fleets lost control of the Chesapeake Bay and the supply lines to the major military base at Yorktown, Virginia. As a direct result, General George Washington's forces and the newly arrived French troops were able to apply the pressure that finally broke the British army.
Sir Samuel Hood (1724-1816) was one of the commanders of the British fleet off the Virginia Capes during the American Revolution. Responsibility for some of the missed opportunities and gaffes committed by the British during the bloody Battle of the Chesapeake can be traced to him, specifically his failure to bring his squadron into action at a key moment in the action. Afterward, Hood defended his actions by arguing that ordering his ships to attack would have contradicted the orders sent to him by battle flag. Hood largely escaped blame, which was assigned to Rear Admiral Graves, who commanded the fleet.
Though Hood's inaction arguably resulted in the loss of the American colonies, he ultimately rose to command the Mediterranean fleet. Colin Pengelly engages the details of this battle as no other historian and sifts through Hood's own propaganda to determine how he escaped subsequent blame.
The Sixty Years' War for the Great Lakes contains twenty essays concerning not only military and naval operations, but also the political, economic, social, and cultural interactions of individuals and groups during the struggle to control the great freshwater lakes and rivers between the Ohio Valley and the Canadian Shield. Contributing scholars represent a wide variety of disciplines and institutional affiliations from the United States, Canada, and Great Britain.
Collectively, these important essays delineate the common thread, weaving together the series of wars for the North American heartland that stretched from 1754 to 1814. The war for the Great Lakes was not merely a sideshow in a broader, worldwide struggle for empire, independence, self-determination, and territory. Rather, it was a single war, a regional conflict waged to establish hegemony within the area, forcing interactions that divided the Great Lakes nationally and ethnically for the two centuries that followed.
The End of Slavery in New York City, 1770-1810
George Washington and His Protégés
Whether acting as a military officer or civilian officeholder, George Washington did not possess a reputation for glad handing, easy confidences, or even much warmth. His greatest attributes as a commander might well have been his firm command over his own emotions and the way in which he held himself above if not apart from the men he led. Understanding the full range of Washington's leadership, which embraced all shades of persuasion and coercion as well as multiple modes of command and solicitude, requires the examination of his influence on the lives, careers, and characters of the members of a diverse fraternity of younger men.
In Sons of the Father, leading scholars analyze Washington's relationships with men such as Daniel Morgan, Anthony Wayne, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Henry Knox, Nathanael Greene, Gouverneur Morris, Alexander Hamilton, and the Marquis de Lafayette. The men on whom this volume focuses were not all his closest associates. Yet all are important figures in that their interactions with Washington provide glimpses into various aspects of his capacities for management, motivation, control, and the cultivation of talent. The essays in this volume demonstrate Washington's consistency in treating all these men differently, for different reasons, at different times. It was perhaps part of his genius to recognize the individuality of the men with whom he interacted as well as the shifting requirements of changing circumstances.
Contributors: Fred Anderson (University of Colorado, Boulder) * Theodore J. Crackel (University of Virginia) * William M. Ferraro (University of Virginia) * Jack P. Greene (Johns Hopkins University) * John W. Hall (University of Wisconsin–Madison) * Peter R. Henriques (George Mason University) * Mary-Jo Kline (University of Virginia) * Stuart Leibiger (La Salle University) * L. Scott Philyaw (Western Carolina University) * Thomas Rider (United States Military Academy) * Brian Steele (University of Alabama at Birmingham) * Mary Stockwell (LSU Shreveport) * Mark Thompson (University of North Carolina at Pembroke)
British America and the Early United States
Pointing the way to a new history of the transformation of British subjects into American citizens, State and Citizen challenges the presumption that the early American state was weak by exploring the changing legal and political meaning of citizenship. The volume’s distinguished contributors cast new light on the shift from subjecthood to citizenship during the American Revolution by showing that the federal state played a much greater part than is commonly supposed.
Going beyond master narratives—celebratory or revisionist—that center on founding principles, the contributors argue that geopolitical realities and the federal state were at the center of early American political development. The volume’s editors, Peter Thompson and Peter S. Onuf, bring together political science and historical methodologies to demonstrate that citizenship was a political as well as a legal concept. The American state, this collection argues, was formed and evolved in a more dialectical relationship between citizens and government authority than is generally acknowledged. Suggesting points of comparison between an American narrative of state development—previously thought to be exceptional—and those of Europe and Latin America, the contributors break fresh ground by investigating citizenship in its historical context rather than by reference only to its capacity to confer privileges.
American Naval Hero, 1779-1820
Born to a prominent Philadelphia family in 1779, Stephen Decatur at age twenty-five became the youngest man ever to serve as a captain in the U.S. Navy. His intrepid heroism, leadership, and devotion to duty made him a perfect symbol of the aspirations of the growing nation. Leading men to victory in Tripoli, the War of 1812, and the Algerian war of 1815, and coining the phrase "Our country, right or wrong," Decatur created an enduring legend of bravery, celebrated in poetry, song, paintings, and the naming of dozens of towns—from Georgia to Alabama to Illinois. After the War of 1812, Decatur moved to Washington to help direct naval policy. His close friendships with James Madison, John Quincy Adams, and other political leaders soon made him a rising star in national politics. He and his wife Susan made their elegant home on Lafayette Square near the White House a center of Washington society. The capital and the entire nation were shocked in 1820 when Decatur died at the age of forty-one in a duel with a rival navy captain. In this carefully researched and well-written biography, historian Robert Allison tells the story of Decatur's eventful life at a time when the young republic was developing its own identity—when the American people were deciding what kind of nation they would become. Although he died prematurely, Decatur played a significant role in the shaping of that national identity.
The Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County, Pennsylvania
It is often said that the American Revolution was a conservative revolution, but in many parts of the British colonies the Revolution was anything but conservative. This book follows the Revolution in Pennsylvania’s backcountry through the experiences of eighteen men and women who lived in Northampton County during these years of turmoil. Fox’s account will startle many readers for whom the Revolution symbolizes the high-minded pursuit of liberty. In 1774, Northampton County was the second largest of Pennsylvania’s eleven counties, comprising more than 2,500 square miles, three towns (Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton), and some 15,000 people. When the Revolution broke out, militias took control. Frontier justice replaced the rule of law as zealous patriots preoccupied themselves not with fighting the British but with seizing local political power and persecuting their pacifist neighbors. Sweet Land of Liberty reawakens the Revolution in Northampton County with sketches of men and women caught up in it. Seldom is this story told from the vantage point of common folks, let alone those in the backcountry. In Fox’s hands, we see in these individuals an altogether more disturbing Revolution than we have ever reckoned with before.