Samuel Aspenwall did not say anything about his early boyhood. He began his account of his service, as did his sister Mary in her supporting deposition, with recollections of the family arguments about the lad enlisting. He said nothing about why he wanted to serve. We can imagine war news swirling around him, his family, and his town during his boyhood by reading other historical sources: local newspapers, local muster rolls that indicate that veterans were coming and going, and understanding the interactions of town life. What veterans’ anecdotes or ministers’ sermons he heard, what games played, songs sung, or books read that caused this “Strong desire,” is something difficult even to guess. Continue Reading Excerpt: Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution, by Caroline Cox
Sixty years after the battle, Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote a triumphant hymn to the “embattled farmers” of Concord, Massachusetts who gathered at the “rude bridge that arched the flood” underneath “their flag to April’s breeze unfurled” and “fired the shot heard round the world.” Emerson solemnized the “spirit that made those heroes dare / to die, or leave their children free.” Emerson’s imagery added to the already thick layers of mythology surrounding the events of April 19, 1775, fusing together nature and nation to craft an American pastoral patriotism. Ever since, when Americans think about the start of the Revolution, it is Emerson’s chorus—of heroic white colonists fighting to preserve their liberty—that plays in the background of this nationalist legend.
But that wasn’t how some people thought about the events of that night. In fact, race played a role in how people reacted to the Lexington Alarm. Continue Reading Robert G. Parkinson: The Shot Heard Round the World Revisited
Many scholars have traced the parallels between the American Revolution and the Civil War. But in today’s global age, it is time we recognize that the first American Revolution was not the only revolution to influence America’s Civil War. Continue Reading Andre M. Fleche: The “Second American Revolution” in a Global Age
The sun is just starting to break through the morning cloud cover on this warm spring day. Last day of sunshine before we roll into a week of rain here in the Triangle, say the weather forecasters, so let’s make the most of it! In the next few days, there will be several opportunities to… Continue Reading Places to go, people to see