- Conclusion: Writing To and From the Revolution
- The William and Mary Quarterly
- Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture
- Volume 74, Number 4, October 2017, 3rd series
- pp. 753-764
- View Citation
- Additional Information
In this conclusion to the William and Mary Quarterly and Journal of the Early Republic joint issue "Writing To and From the Revolution," the tensions between the American Revolution and twenty-first-century America take center stage. The issue's authors offer competing interpretations of questions ranging from the impact of letter writing to the relationship between the federal government and the trans-Appalachian West. Yet nearly all of them also argue that persistent themes of violence, alienation, and exclusion were endemic to the establishment of the United States. Given Americans' enduring interest in the founding period, readers of these articles will need to translate their nuanced and abstract arguments for nonscholarly audiences by populating them with a variety of historical actors. Such an approach can help nonspecialist audiences understand the ways in which their own lives contribute to much larger forces of change. In the same vein, many of these articles implicitly demonstrate the potential for new historical studies of the Constitution. When it is reexamined as more than a simple extension or betrayal of the American Revolution, thoughtful studies of its impact on individuals can reveal the unique connections between then and now that the Constitution offers Americans.