The history of the American Revolution has been obscured by hero worship and sacred symbols. Using original sources - articles of clothing, crafts, artwork, tools, as well as documents - Alfred F. Young and Terry J. Fife attempt to "rescue from oblivion" the ordinary men and women who played so vital a role in shaping the new nation and whose ...
The history of the American Revolution has been obscured by hero worship and sacred symbols. Using original sources - articles of clothing, crafts, artwork, tools, as well as documents - Alfred F. Young and Terry J. Fife attempt to "rescue from oblivion" the ordinary men and women who played so vital a role in shaping the new nation and whose stories have been eclipsed by the extraordinary leaders of that era. Based on a permanent exhibition at the Chicago Historical Society, We the People offers an unfamiliar approach to familiar material. It addresses two central questions: What roles did ordinary people play in creating the nation? and, To what extent did they achieve the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution? More than two hundred artifacts are analyzed in their historic context to explore the meaning of the revolutionary era. The authors invite readers to evaluate and interpret visual evidence from the past: revered objects such as the original Declaration of Independence and Paul Revere's engraving of the Boston Massacre are juxtaposed with objects of everyday life - a slave's shackles, a soldier's powder horn, a letter from a "minuteman" in the the Battle of Lexington. Blending new social and cultural history with traditional political narrative, Young and Fife redefine and restore the controversies that marked the revolutionary era from the perspective of ordinary people as well as the "founding fathers." George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson figure prominently in this history, as do farmers, artisans, women, African Americans, and American Indians. The book is unique in the way it frames the period, expanding the story of thefounding of the Republic by extending it a full generation beyond the Revolution into the early national era and by extending it geographically into the Old Northwest. With arresting images and authentic voices, We the People captures an American past that will appeal to students, s
The late Alfred Young's illustrated treatment of the founding of our nation was masterfully done. It is serious but not written as a heavy academic tome. Young is one of the most well-known American academic historians and this work is outstanding.
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