Collections for the Classroom: America’s First Veterans

American Revolution Institute Weekly Teacher Workshops, American Revolution Institute

Washington, D.C.
November 4, 2019—March 30, 2020

James Madison wrote that veterans of the American Revolution suffered a “singular hardship” that “can never be forgotten.” Yet because America’s civilian population suffered enormously during the eight-year conflict, honoring veterans for their “singular” service took more than a generation. Enlisted men like Joseph Plumb Martin, who served seven years in the Continental Army, were left feeling “turned adrift like old worn-out horses” until the early nineteenth century, when prosperity coupled with romantic sentiment toward the Revolution fostered an appreciation for the sacrifices made by the heroes of the War of Independence. The following American Revolution Institute museum and library collection items can be used as primary sources in the classroom to tell the story of America’s first veterans.

Additionally included is a gallery of other library and museum collection selections shared during our weekly teacher workshops (following the veteran exhibit items) as well as a downloadable PDF version of our purple heart lesson to accompany the Badge of Military Merit presently on display.



download pdf version of purple heart lesson