Read the Revolution

November 19, 2013

Economy Building

History is quick to remember the battlefield heroes of the American Revolution, yet other heroes toiled diligently behind the scenes to ensure the war's success. In Financial Founding Fathers, authors Robert E. Wright and David J. Cowen reveal America's precarious financial state during the war, and how men like Robert Morris and Haym Solomon not only stabilized the nascent nation but helped lay the foundation for the economic superpower it became. Morris, the first Superintendent of Finance, brought order to the chaos of the early American economy--and created the first national bank.

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November 5, 2013

Common Sense

In historian Gordon Wood's book Revolutionary Characters, he proclaims Thomas Paine to be "America's First Public Intellectual." Indeed, Paine's famous pamphlet Common Sense appeared at a pivotal moment for the thirteen colonies--the debate over the value of independence had come to dominate public discussion. Paine's arguments for abolishing British claim on the colonies spread like wildfire, turning the publication into what Dr. Wood calls "the most incendiary and popular pamphlet of the entire Revolutionary era." In this excerpt, Dr. Wood parses Common Sense to explain the philosophical origins of Paine's radical thinking.

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October 22, 2013

An Unexpected Gift

In Jodi Daynard’s novel The Midwife’s Revolt, main character Lizzie Boylston inhabits a richly-imagined world of women enduring the tumultuous years of the American Revolution. The book opens with Lizzie confronting the harsh reality of sudden widowhood after the death of her husband in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775. By that December, Lizzie is feeling despondent about her self-described “loveless, lonely, barren state.” In this excerpt, she receives a Christmas Day visit from her friend and neighbor Abigail Adams--herself no stranger to the sacrifices of war.

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