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General Richard Montgomery and the American Revolution

From Redcoat to Rebel

Hal Shelton

Brave, humane, and generous . . . still he was only a brave, humane, and generous rebel; curse on his virtues, they've undone this country.
--Member of British Parliament Lord North, upon hearing of General Richard Montgomery's death in battle against the British

At 3 a.m. on December 31, 1775, a band of desperate men stumbled through a raging Canadian blizzard toward Quebec. The doggedness of this ragtag militia--consisting largely of men whose short-term enlistments were to expire within the next 24 hours--was due to the exhortations of their leader. Arriving at Quebec before dawn, the troop stormed two unmanned barriers, only to be met by a British ambush at the third. Amid a withering hale of cannon grapeshot, the patriot leader, at the forefront of the assault, crumpled to the ground. General Richard Montgomery was dead at the age of 37.
Montgomery--who captured St. John and Montreal in the same fortnight in 1775; who, upon his death, was eulogized in British Parliament by Burke, Chatham, and Barr; and after whom 16 American counties have been named--has, to date, been a neglected hero. Written in engaging, accessible prose, General Richard Montgomery and the American Revolution chronicles Montgomery's life and military career, definitively correcting this historical oversight once and for all.

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General Thomas Posey

son of the American Revolution

John T. Posey

Revolutionary War general Thomas Posey (1750-1818) lived his life against the backdrop of one of the most dramatic periods in American history. Posey, who played a minor role in the actual War for Independence, went on to participate in the development and foundation of several states in the transappalachian West. His experiences on the late 18th- and early 19th-century American frontier were varied and in a certain sense extraordinary; he served as Indian agent in Illinois Territory; as Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, as U.S. Senator from Louisiana, and as Governor of Indiana during its transition from territorial status to statehood. 
     His biographer speculates on the contrasting influences of Thomas's ne'er-do-well father, Captain John Posey, and the family's close friend, General George Washington. Posey's progress is then followed as he raises his own family in the newly formed nation. Of particular interest is an appendix containing a detailed analysis of evidence available to support popular 29th-century speculation that Thomas Posey was, in fact, George Washington's illicit son.
 

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Gentlemen Freeholders

Political Practices in Washington's Virginia

Charles S. Sydnor

Here is a vivid picture of late eighteenth-century Virginia's keen and often hot-tempered local politics. Sydnor has filled his book with the lively details of campaign practices, the drama of election day, the workings of the county oligarchies, and the practical politics of that training school for statesmen, the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Originally published in 1952. (This book was also published under the title American Revolutionaries in the Making in 1965.)

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

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George Rogers Clark and the War in the West

Lowell H. Harrison

"Much has been written about the famous conflicts and battlegrounds of the East during the American Revolution. Perhaps less familiar, but equally important and exciting, was the war on the western frontier, where Ohio Valley settlers fought for the land they had claimed -- and for their very lives. George Rogers Clark stepped forward to organize the local militias into a united front that would defend the western frontier from Indian attacks. Clark was one of the few people who saw the importance of the West in the war effort as a whole, and he persuaded Virginia's government to lend support to his efforts. As a result Clark was able to cross the Ohio, saving that part of the frontier from further raids. Lowell Harrison captures the excitement of this vital part of American history while giving a complete view of George Rogers Clark's significant achievements. Lowell H. Harrison, is a professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University and is the author or co-author of numerous books, including Lincoln of Kentucky, A New History of Kentucky, and Kentucky's Governors."

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George Washington's Enforcers

Policing the Continental Army

Harry M. Ward

Ward discusses the duties of the various personnel responsible for training and enforcing the standards of behavior in the Continental Army, including duty officers, adjutants, brigade majors, inspectors, and sergeant majors. He includes the roles of life guards, camp guards, quarter guards, picket men, and safe guards, whose responsibilities ranged from escorting the commander in chief, intercepting spies and stragglers, and protecting farmers from marauding soldiers to searching for deserters, rounding up unauthorized personnel, and looking for delinquents in local towns and taverns.

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Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s

Yanek Mieczkowski

History has not been kind to Gerald Ford. His name evokes an image of either America’s only unelected president, who abruptly pardoned his corrupt predecessor, or an accident-prone man who failed to provide skilled leadership to a country in domestic turmoil. In Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s, historian Yanek Mieczkowski reexamines Ford’s two and a half years in office, showing that his presidency successfully confronted the most vexing crises of the postwar era. Surveying the state of America in the 1970s, Mieczkowski focuses on the economic challenges facing the country. He argues that Ford’s understanding of the national economy was better than that of any other modern president, that Ford oversaw a dramatic reduction of inflation, and that his attempts to solve the energy crisis were based in sound economic principles. Throughout his presidency, Ford labored under the legacy of Watergate. Democrats scored landslide victories in the 1974 midterm elections, and the president engaged with a spirited opposition Congress. Within an anemic Republican Party, the right wing challenged Ford’s leadership, even as pundits predicted the death of the GOP. Yet Ford reinvigorated the party and fashioned a 1976 campaign strategy against Jimmy Carter that brought him from thirty points behind to a dead heat on election day. Mieczkowski draws on numerous personal interviews with the former president, cabinet officials, and members of the Ninety-fourth Congress. In his reassessment of this underrated president, Ford emerges as a skilled executive, an effective diplomat, and a leader with a clear vision for America’s future. Working to heal a divided nation, Ford unified the GOP and laid the groundwork for the Republican resurgence in subsequent decades. The first major work on the former president to appear in more than ten years, Gerald Ford and the Challenges of the 1970s combines the best of biography and economic, social, and presidential history to create an intriguing portrait of a president, his times, and his legacy.

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The Great Yazoo Lands Sale

The Case of Fletcher v. Peck

This book tells the story of how the great Yazoo lands sale gave rise to the 1810 case in which the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice John Marshall, for the first time ruled the action of a state to be in violation of the Constitution, specifically the contract clause.

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The Green River of Kentucky

Helen Bartter Crocker

Cutting a wide east-west swath from the Appalachian foothills to the heart of the western Kentucky coalfields, the Green River valley extends from below the Tennessee border in the south to the Ohio River in the north. The Green River of Kentucky presents a picture of the unity and diversity of the people living in the Green River valley.

Helen Bartter Crocker finds that each generation of its people approached the river in a distinctive way. Early settlers used the river simply as it was -- crooked and narrow with an unpredictable water flow, and navigable only under high-water conditions. The sons of these pioneers were interested in bringing steamboats to the valley; until they succeeded in persuading the state legislature to improve the Green River and its tributary, the Barren, by a series of locks and dams, however, volunteers would work -- often up to their necks in water -- until they cleared the river sufficiently to allow steamers to reach Bowling Green at high water.

When the locks and dams were reopened following the Civil War, a local private corporation gained a near-monopoly of the river trade. Public outcry against this private ownership caused the federal government to take control, and through the Corps of Engineers, to undertake extensive river improvements. After the Great Depression, when trade was almost at a standstill, additional federal funds were appropriated for flood-control dams in the upper river and modern locks in the lower river to harness the valley's industrial potential. These opened up coal barging and recreational facilities, which ensured the future economic well being of the Green River valley.

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The Historicism of Charles Brockden Brown

Radical History and the Early Republic

Mark L. Kamrath

A new perspective on the cultural politics of Charles Brockden Brown

The novels of Charles Brockden Brown, the most accomplished literary figure in early America, redefined the gothic genre and helped shape some of America’s greatest writers, including Herman Melville, Edgar Allan Poe, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. However, little has been said about the latter years of Brown’s career. While his early novels are celebrated for their innovative and experimental style, Brown’s later historical narratives are often dismissed as uninteresting, and Brown himself has been accused of having become “a stodgy conservative.”

Through a re-examination of these neglected historical writings, Mark L. Kamrath takes a fresh look at Brown’s later career and his role in the cultural politics of the early national period. This interdisciplinary study uses transatlantic historical contexts and recent narrative discourse to unveil Brown’s philosophic inquires into the filiopietistic tradition of historiography and increasingly imperialistic notion of American exceptionalism. It recovers a forgotten debate—and radical position—about the nature of historical truth and representation and opens up for contemporary discussion what it means to write about the past.

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History as They Lived It

A Social History of Prairie du Rocher, Illinois

Margaret Kimball Brown, Foreword by Carl J. Ekberg

“His­tory as They Lived It deserves to be placed within the rich context of Illinois Country historiography going back more than a century. . . . It brings together the fully ripened thoughts of a mature scholar at the very moment that students of the Illinois Country need such a book.”—from the foreword by Carl J. Ekberg

Settled in 1722, Prairie du Rocher was at the geographic center of a French colony in the Mississippi Valley, which also included other villages in what is now Illinois and Missouri: Cahokia, Kaskaskia, Fort de Chartres, St. Philippe, Ste. Genevieve, and St. Louis.  Located in an alluvial valley near towering limestone bluffs, which inspired the village’s name—French for “prairie of the rock”— Prairie du Rocher is the only one of the seven French colonial villages that still exists today as a small compact community.

The village of Prairie du Rocher endured governance by France, Great Britain, Virginia, and the Illinois territory before Illinois became a state in 1818. Despite these changes, the villagers persisted in maintaining the community and its values. Margaret Kimball Brown looks at one of the oldest towns in the region through the lenses of history and anthropology, utilizing extensive research in archives and public records to give historians, anthropologists, and general readers a lively depiction of this small community and its people.

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