Symposium Update

In our third installment for our build-up to the September 28, 2019 symposium Before They Were Americans, today we are highlighting Phill Greenwalt. Greenwalt is co-founder of Emerging Revolutionary War and also a full-time contributor to Emerging Civil War. He graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University with a B.A. in History and graduated from George Mason University with a M.A. in American History. For the symposium, Phill Greenwalt will be presenting his talk “I wish this cursed place was burned: Boston and the Road to Revolution.”

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ERW Weekender: A Visit to Fort Stanwix

Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York, has plenty of history to offer, but it’s equally a success story of urban renewal. The fort’s original location was long swallowed up by the city’s expansion in the twentieth century, but it was then reclaimed in advance of the American Bicentennial. City blocks were razed, the fort reconstructed, and American history became a central tourist attraction in the heart of downtown Rome. It’s a “faithful reproduction,” the Park Service says, constructed using “many original plans and documents.”

The site of Fort Stanwix in 1969 and after its reclamation in 1976. (courtesy NPS)

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Review: Founding Martyr, The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero by Christian Di Spigna

ERW Book Reviews (1)

Doctor. Major General. President of the Provincial Congress. Author of political tracts. A true patriot. Forgotten.

41mPwaMUWfL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_All these words, plus many more, are titles that depict the life of Dr. Joseph Warren. However, the last term is most synonymous with the Massachusetts doctor who fell in the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775 in the early stages of the American Revolutionary War. That last word, forgotten, is exactly what author and historian Christian Di Spigna is hoping to expunge with his new biography, Founding Martyr. 

Di Spigna, an early American history expert and Colonial Williamsburg volunteer, focuses his account of Dr. Warren on not the events immediately surrounding his death at Bunker Hill and subsequent martyrdom but “to fill in the more obscure parts of Warren’s life” which will lead to understanding more of the “key period in the formation of his character, his special networks, and ultimately his medical and political careers” (pg. 7). Continue reading

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Symposium Update

Continuing to our build-up to the September 28, 2019 symposium Before They Were Americans, today we are highlighting Stephanie Seal Walters. Walters is a PhD Candidate at George Mason University. Her dissertation, “As I Glory in the Name of Tory”: Loyalism, Community, and Memory in Revolutionary Virginia, 1760-1794, focuses on loyalism within the different cultural and geographical regions of the colony of Virginia. For the symposium, she will be speaking about the impact of smallpox on the American Revolution during her talk “Smallpox to Revolution.”

Headshot of Steph Seal Walters turning towards the camera with a friendly expression. Continue reading

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George Washington’s “Favorite” Charles Lee

When you mention the name “Charles Lee” in many Revolutionary War circles, one immediately thinks of Maj. Gen. Charles Lee. Though there was another Charles Lee and it can be argued provided more contributions to the United States than the British born military general.


Charles Lee, Courtesy of Department of Justice

Charles Lee was born in 1758 on his father’s plantation Leesylvania in Prince William County, Virginia. The 2,000-acre farm that sat on the Potomac River and neighbored other Potomac River families such as the Fairfaxes, Washingtons and Masons. Charles’ father, Henry Lee II, a political colleague and friend of George Washington, Charles was one of eight siblings and five males that would solidify the Lee family’s role as leaders in politics and society. Continue reading

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The Gerrymander: A Gift from the Founding Fathers


Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Vice President Elbridge Gerry

Lately, the term “gerrymandering” is getting thrown around as some sort of new illness that afflicts the republic.  The process essentially involves drawing electoral district boundaries in ways that benefit one political party or the other and dates back to 1812 Massachusetts, when Governor Elbridge Gerry, a member in good standing of the founding generation, signed legislation radically redrawing electoral districts in the state to favor the Democratic-Republican Party.

Born in 1744, Gerry was a Massachusetts merchant and vocal opponent of British policy in the colonies who served in the Second Continental Congress, signed the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and attended the Constitutional Convention.   Like a few of his contemporaries, notably George Mason and Patrick Henry of Virginia, he refused to sign the Constitution due to its lack of an explicit Bill of Rights. Nonetheless, he went on to serve as an envoy to France in the Adams administration, then was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, as Governor of Massachusetts, and then was Vice President under James Madison.  Only a few men had a better claim on the term “founding father.”

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Symposium Update

In the build-up to the September 28, 2019 symposium Before They Were Americans, today we are highlighting Liz Williams, Director of Gadsby’s Tavern Museum. The tavern consists of two buildings: a (circa) 1785 tavern and the 1792 City Tavern. Named after its tavern keeper from 1796 to 1808, Gadsby’s Tavern was an important center of economic, political, and social life in Alexandria after the American Revolution. Continue reading

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