Category: The Legacy of the Revolution

Lessons from a Revolutionary Epidemic

George Washington’s aggressive response to epidemic disease during the Revolutionary War offers lessons for today. That war was fought not just against British forces, but against an enemy far more dangerous—smallpox. Smallpox was one of the most dreaded diseases of the eighteenth century. A viral illness, smallpox caused high fever, severe headaches, vomiting, pains in […]

Joseph Winter, Lone Wanderer

On the evening of December 18, 1829, a young Philadelphia portrait painter named John Neagle set off on foot toward the home of an artist friend named Thomas Birch. It was snowing and the streets of Philadelphia must have been nearly empty. People who had somewhere to go pulled their coats tight and hurried through […]

Why the American Revolution Matters

The American Revolution was shaped by high principles and low ones, by imperial politics, dynastic rivalries, ambition, greed, personal loyalties, patriotism, demographic growth, social and economic changes, cultural developments, British intransigence and American anxieties. It was shaped by conflicting interests between Britain and America, between regions within America, between families and between individuals. It was […]

The Shot Heard Round the World

Ralph Waldo Emerson composed the Concord Hymn to be sung at the dedication of a simple memorial beside the Old North Bridge at Concord, where patriot militia had faced the British on the morning of April 19, 1775: By the rude bridge that arched the flood, Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled, Here once the […]