American Revolution

  By now, it’s pretty likely you’ve heard or read something about a little musical about a "ten-dollar Founding Father without a father" played or transcribed somewhere (everywhere).

Hamilton: An American Musical is ubiquitous and its reach far exceeds the confines of Broadway’s Richard Rodgers Theatre. The excitement created by Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterwork bursts the fandom of the musical into a genuine interest in American History for many people.

So, if you were a museum in Albany, New York - a city where the Founding Father and first Treasury Secretary spent more than a little time -- what would you do?

If you answered put together a show about General George Washington's aide-de-camp and right-hand-man, you’d have had the same thought as The Albany Institute of History and Art.

A small exhibition exploring Alexander Hamilton’s time in Albany is currently on display. Curator, Diane Shewchuck, joins us to tell us more.

  Best-selling historian Nathaniel Philbrick once again takes readers deep into the American Revolution, leading them into battles and illuminating the players on the field and behind the scenes.

His latest - Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution - is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation. 

  Best-selling historian Nathaniel Philbrick once again takes readers deep into the American Revolution, leading them into battles and illuminating the players on the field and behind the scenes. His latest - Valiant Ambition - is a complex, controversial, and dramatic portrait of a people in crisis and the war that gave birth to a nation.

The focus is on loyalty and personal integrity, evoking a Shakespearean tragedy that unfolds in the key relationship of George Washington and Benedict Arnold. Philbrick gives readers a fresh view of America’s first president and offers a surprisingly sympathetic view of the man whose name is synonymous with the word traitor.

  More than fifty years before the American Revolution, Boston was in revolt against the tyrannies of the Crown, Puritan Authority, and Superstition.

In The Fever of 1721, Stephen Coss tells the story of a year that changed the course of medical history, American journalism, and colonial revolution.

During the worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history Cotton Mather convinced Doctor Zabdiel Boylston to try a procedure that he believed would prevent death—by making an incision in the arm of a healthy person and implanting it with smallpox. “Inoculation” led to vaccination, one of the most profound medical discoveries in history. Public outrage forced Boylston into hiding, and Mather’s house was firebombed.

  For George Washington, the stakes were high. If the nation fragmented, as it had almost done after the war, it could never become the strong, independent nation for which he had fought. In scores of communities, he communicated a powerful and enduring message—that America was now a nation, not a loose collection of states. And the people responded to his invitation in ways that he could never have predicted.

In T. H. Breen's book, George Washington's Journey: The President Forges a New Nation, he shows Washington in the surprising role of political strategist.

  In the summer of 1804, two of America's most eminent statesmen squared off, pistols raised, on a bluff along the Hudson River. That two such men would risk not only their lives but the stability of the young country they helped forge is almost beyond comprehension. Yet we know that it happened. The question is why.

  Sarah Vowell is the bestselling author of Assassination Vacation and The Partly Cloudy Patriot. Her latest look at history is an insightful and unconventional account of George Washington’s trusted officer and friend, that swashbuckling teenage French aristocrat the Marquis de Lafayette.

Drawn to the patriots’ war out of a lust for glory, Enlightenment ideas and the traditional French hatred for the British, young Lafayette crossed the Atlantic expecting to join forces with an undivided people, encountering instead fault lines between the Continental Congress and the Continental Army, rebel and loyalist inhabitants, and a conspiracy to fire George Washington, the one man holding together the rickety, seemingly doomed patriot cause.

  Former 2nd Lady of the United States, Lynne Cheney, has spent decades studying the nation's fourth president, James Madison. The result of that labor is the new 564-page book, James Madison: A Life Reconsidered.

Father of the Constitution, principle author of the Bill of Rights, founder of the first opposition party, Secretary of State and fourth President was a masterful politician who Cheney believes, despite all his accomplishments, has been overshadowed by other founders.

Lynne Cheney is the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney, is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and is the author of 12 books, several on American history.

Across four decades of public life, from 1776 until he left the presidency in 1817, James Madison made extraordinary contributions to the American republic. Yet, according to historian David O. Stewart, too often he is consigned to the shadows of history and concealed by his more heroic contemporaries.

In Stewart's new book Madison’s Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America, he looks to restore Madison to a proper place and explores the relations he forged which contributed to his success.

    

A prideful and unchanged narrative of the American Revolution pervades U.S. history. Serving as the event which established the nation’s sovereignty, naturally, the popular account of the American Revolution has carried with it patriotic myths which exalt select figures and influence the public spirit of Americans.

Still, according to Andrew Schocket, director of American culture studies and associate professor of History and American culture studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, the prominent narratives surrounding the prideful event are oftentimes incomplete. In his new book, Fighting over the Founders: How We Remember the American Revolution, Schocket explores how politicians, screen writers, activists, biographers, jurist, museum professionals, and reenactors portray the American Revolution and how our angled perception of the past could influence America’s future.

  In The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Edward J. Larson recovers a crucially important—yet almost always overlooked—chapter of George Washington’s life, revealing how Washington saved the United States by coming out of retirement to lead the Constitutional Convention and serve as our first president.

  George Washington was famously unknowable, a man of deep passions hidden behind a facade of rigid self-control. Yet before he was a great general and president, Washington was a young man prone to peevishness and a volcanic temper. His greatness as a leader evolved over time, the product of experience and maturity but also a willed effort to restrain his wilder impulses.

Robert Middlekauff focuses on Washington’s early years in his new book, Washington's Revolution: The Making of America's First Leader.

  The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio is major biography of the Marquis de Lafayette, French hero of the American Revolution, who, at age nineteen, volunteered to fight under George Washington.

    Joseph Ellis is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Founding Brothers. His portrait of Thomas Jefferson, American Sphinx, won the National Book Award.

His new book, Revolutionary Summer, tells an old story in a new way about the summer months of 1776 and how they witnessed the most consequential events in the story of our country’s founding.

    

  In Our Lives, Our Fortunes and Our Sacred Honor, acclaimed historian Richard R. Beeman examines the grueling twenty-two-month period between the meeting of the Continental Congress on September 5, 1774 and the audacious decision for independence in July of 1776.

As late as 1774, American independence was hardly inevitable—indeed, most Americans found it neither desirable nor likely.

    Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord.

In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Lion and Franklin and Winston, brings vividly to life an extraordinary man and his remarkable times.

Sybil Ludington's Ride

Apr 26, 2012

On a dark and rainy night 235 years ago, 16-year old Sybil Ludington rode her horse into history - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

“Listen, my children, and you shall hear, Of a ride of our female Paul Revere…”  Sybil Ludington's 40 mile trek was a small victory that helped lead to American Independence and the eventual formation of the United States.