tv American Revolution Misconceptions CSPAN July 4, 2021 6:57pm-8:01pm EDT
the office of historic alexandria in partnership with emerging revolutionary war hosted a symposium on the revolutionary war next four symposium presenters participate in a final discussion and answer audience questions about misconceptions about the american revolution. the office of historic alexandria provided the video to mark its 60th anniversary the white house historical association published a book about the irish immigrant who designed the president's house. the book is james hoban designer and builder of the white house. in one hour on the presidency a conversation about the architectural political and cultural ideas behind the mansion that's recognized worldwide. then in about two hours and 15
minutes a ceremony at james hoban's washington dc grave site to recognize his contributions to his adopted country. since this is all about misconceptions or hindsights of 2020 ish in 2021 or throw this out to the panel. whoever wants to respond first. what is one misconception either that was not covered or that was covered by a different panelists. are in general topic so like for instance vanessa covered southern campaigns, what's one misconception that she missed picking on my fellow park ranger there. i miss none. i'm just gonna say that. i'll tell them one about one huge misconception is the fact that the that war ended after yorktown. i mean, i mean there's a there's a there's so many people to
think that and you know, especially when you go down to south carolina and, georgia. it was not ended. i mean it was it was the same thing in the north, but it but it but it was really it was really it was really a hot bed in a relatively small confined area in south carolina. and then there was wayne and wayne in georgia, you know before savannah. so that's it. that's a big thing right there. and i and i find those south carolina and georgia operations really interesting. probably because i don't i know enough of enough of enough about them to be interested in him and not not them to. to you know not if anything to learn i want to get down there and go over the terrain. i know but the moderator on probably shouldn't jump in here, but i'm excited as well because there was some recent archaeological foundation findings from the come bigby river about where john laurent was killed there in late in the war. so unfortunately, i think it's still in private property, but
eventually be cool to see that location as well. so one of those tragic last deaths of the american revolution, well, that's that's another reason why i like that one pension that position he mentions, you know being discharged just before there's before after laurens was killed. so, yeah, so it's it's a shout out to joe and laurens even though he can't hear it. and i would say another you know misconception. i think travis talked a little bit about it, but just like not how defined the lines of you know, patriot loyalists or and how those you know, i think i talked a little bit about it with john honeyman as far as like trying to tease out which side people are on but you know, i think there's a good percentage of people throughout the war that were either trying
to play both sides or you know, looking out for themselves or their families, which i think anyway can you know admit is a would be you know, it's easy to to hold up those who put country or service ahead of their own individual, you know beliefs, but i think there's a large percentage of people you're trying to try and get by you know and survive this war. anyway, they could and it's not always the most heroic or just a nobling stories, but i think it would it it's the truth for many people that they were trying to yeah, just get by and if that was siding with a patriots, it's that if it's fighting with loyalist, is that and deciding with both at different times, you know, they're doing that as well and it's something that you know, we kind of tend to think of it the blue-coated americans versus the red-coated british and it wasn't that simple throughout the whole war for sure.
you actually taught todd brace. did it has done some nice work on on the number of men who changed sites, you know cup captured by the captured by the british or the loyalists and then basically so they didn't have to stay in prison. they changed sides some of them actually deserted back to the americans and some of them stayed in stayed in those units and went over the west indies and and some of those guys applied for pensions after the war from the from the federal government and got them. so it's you know, that's it. it was definitely not a cut and dried black and white war it really it's it was really complicated. i thought on that same point, you know some of the research i'm doing for the charleston during the revolution, you know, they had and this is the case new york too where they had these prison ships or they were putting a lot of the american prisoners in and yeah the british, you know in charleston were actively trying to recruit from these prisoner populations. he had to go fight in the west
indies and and it must have seen like way out for a lot of guys to get off of what would have been the most horrible conditions of the of the the british prison ships and that's where you know, you know when you talk about things are enabling or putting your country ahead. i mean the fact that so many guys refuse to do that, you know is is amazing to me that somebody would have an out of getting out of you know, starving to death or dying of malnutrition or disease on a prisonship but refuse to do that and instead, you know, stick it out, you know sometimes you know pay with life, you know what what motivates somebody to take. that stand is is pretty amazing i think about that i actually just read it red and lace article by larry babitz on the deserter serving and they're not deserters but the the guys who would turn coat and decided to join join the british legion and whether they had an effect on cow pens so that and that's a
you know, that's there's still there's still so much to be written about this period which makes it a great. great. i said i think still an open period for a lot of historians and that's why i think it's so fun. i definitely second that john. i think a lot a whole lot to study a whole lot to write a whole lot of bill. i appreciated you mentioning about art some archaeological stuff that's been found because that's continual and ongoing and we can always learn more and i think that's something that's gonna be a fun to explore as we more and more people start paying attention relating to the 250th coming up or happening. i think there you're gonna have people wanting to know this this and more information. so we've got got our work cut out for us. thank you something you said but ask about i actually teach and i don't take any offense to what you said earlier, so don't feel i don't follow up on that why
there's so much conceptions because actually being in the teaching world at the high school level. they're not being taught revolution. at least i can only speak for pennsylvania. i don't know if that's true country why but they're not taught early american history in high school. they don't get it. we start in 1920 in high school. and so why is that a problem because in theory they should be getting in a middle school, but they're not because basically until they get the high school. nobody is forced to actually learn anything. so we have kids coming in the high school that don't have basic skills. let alone the base knowledge. they should be coming in with because they're socially promoted until they get the ninth grade. so even though they're technically being taught early american history and i think it's eighth grade in, pennsylvania. they're not actually learning it or remembering any of it, and then they come to high school. they're not taught it. so you're you know, getting to your point where we have we're producing high school graduates. that don't are the america's founding. well, there's the reason well in south carolina, it's fourth
grade when they learn about basically a lot of the it's almost it and i think you're right that we're missed. we're trying to teach them some of the stuff slightly younger age. but really it should be in high school. we start to dive into some of the universal meanings behind the american revolution. i mean if you boil it down to its most simplest terms. most fourth graders most sixth graders they're getting some of it. but once you hit high school and you start to have more of that. going to go life experience or you start to have a better understanding of the world around you just because at that age and the way your brain has has started to develop. that's the time to really instill some of these life lessons that you can learn from. our american history and so it's it's unfortunate that we don't have that. kind of more in-depth curriculum
i get that they're learning about a lot of world history at least from my experience with studying any sort of high school curriculum. and thank you mike for being a wonderful teacher despite your limited resources. but but yeah, that's i get that they're trying to earn understand things that the global level but we miss a lot of opportunity for them to really um, take to heart some of what we can learn from the american revolution and right. we're having adults. i mean i the most the best math class i ever took. was in college and it was the the quote unquote dumb math class because i hate math even though i took like calculus and high school. i don't know how i passed. was when i basically learned how to balance a checkbook because i took the dumb math class and how to apply for a loan. so those are life skills. we'll think of the life skills that we can learn from history that we're not teaching kids before they leave the the
regular school system so history because you're right about the standardized test issue because we're not a test at subject we get pushed aside and then they don't care if there's kids pass that class because we're not important. yeah, and that's it, and i don't want to say for my because i have friends that teach another districts. it's it's across the board. it's happening everyone and i was a problem. i remember 20 years. it was in high school growing up here in northern virginia near alexandria, you know one of my first exposure to the history of the revolutionary war and george washington was going the mount vernon learning about the history at the actual places where the history happened and waiting in school a you know, excitedly to finally get to the revolution and high school. we actually did learn about the revolution and it was all of you know a half hour class and it was more about the causes and more about the effects and it was like, oh, yeah, and there was a battle at lexington and yorktown, but if you want to
learn about more about that, you can read on your own or whatever and it was like i've been waiting all this time actually be able to do this in class and it was it was blown over and just a couple sentences and and or you know, you know personally, you know, that's where i think like the places being able to go to gatsby's tavern be able to go to brandywine battlefield being able to go to the places where the actual history happened is great because because you actually go there and learn from the site and from people who are as knowledgeable about the importance of these places and in that history that oftentimes is kind of blowing through in school or classrooms that you know, and you know teachers have you all sorts of competing interests and in you know, lots of different subject matter and lots of different things. but i'll tell you i think i think in the in light of the the time time constraints and curriculum constraints and all
that stuff. i think that i think the best thing to teacher the history teacher can do or an english teacher or you know, whatever teacher but history teacher is what we're talking about right now is is to is to ignite an interest in in a lot of kids a couple kids, you know one kid. um that's if you can do that and and it means they go on and look look at stuff on their own. that's that's phenomenal. i i think at the ed as best history. again, this is the best of all possible worlds history will not only give you an idea of our history or world history. but like in in america will will help make you familiar with the founding documents make you familiar with our government and also like like english class or literature class should teach you empathy. because um, you know when you when you get into the into the first person documents and you see what people have experienced on a personal level which which is a way to build which is the way to build an understanding like a larger event. that's where you're going to get
get empathy from and that's where you get from literature and and all that and that's a that's a huge thing for understanding history. right there. so i know i'm supposed to just be the moderator, but i'm going to inject here decided a unique experience. i got graduated from a high school and a military base in northern england. so it was a department of defense school and from there. it was actually interested because our history and service classes were a little more in tune with what was exactly happens our graduate in early 2000. so right after 9/11, i was ever on a military school providing her convenience. so like we actually they our teachers actually try to tune it into what was actually happening with the military in the history as well. so it was kind of interesting the the seat of his lines on maps that we talked about how the routes they made it through to yorktown and so forth and having someone talk about how they used that and military practice and theories and so forth on the front line actually
having i thought it was so cool and being a fifth grade when like someone's father came in dressed in his battle dress uniform or something and they talked about how they're studying the same thing. we were and so forth so that's that's probably why i got caught up in history so you can blame that department defense schools and everything for my but i do have a i want to get this question because i think will be great to for the panelists. so it came in from one of our attendees here. it goes probably most americans picture of the rev war at his 250 with the sum yet to be produced film or tv series. what would you pitch as the perfect story to tell americans on film about the revoir at 250 fiction or nonfiction? and he finishes this question was saying like a saving private ryan of 1781. so the pick one you're gonna pitch at the spielberg. what's it going to be?
towards the battle. of because it's totally you know the the what i was talking about before in my presentation that kind of grassroots idea of you know, you got to protect your home and country literally because you get this threat from ferguson saying if you don't fall in line, i'm gonna basically destroy your farms and kill all your family and you know just completely destroy you and these mountain men these frontier men these backcountry men were like, i don't think so and they march over 300 miles. to find ferguson and well, we know how that ended before you be born vanessa. this isn't that pretty much the the patriot right there. that's what they do. and oh my god, i knew missing the patriot at earlier was gonna come back to me. it's okay. so i i have a lot to say about hollywood and historical films it all started when i first saw
the santa fe trail about john brown's right on harpers ferry and what a disaster. it is so amazing that hollywood tries to do. i'm gonna get off my soapbox soon. i promise. it's so amazing that hollywood tries to turn history into this fanatical like fantasy world when the actual history is just as crazy and exciting and thrilling and adventurous and sad and thrilling. as what hollywood wants to make it so they need a proper telling of that story and tell the story of the individuals that participated in that and not fictionalize it. do feel like something about men would have had facial hair like me like by the time they aren't stare. um or me or michael right here. so but the thing but the thing with facial hair is if they did have it it would have been would have been cultivated. it would have been nicely thought cultivated, you know would it would have been an
eventually they would have shaved at some point, but you know, yeah appreciate john this is cultivated. so i do appreciate that vanessa though, but i'm biased towards my own campaign. he knows we don't know. i'm working on a new book to cover the river war with for mercer and fort my friend and i think the story of the seeds are for mifflin and what those guys went through. would be just as because you know, i think you're gonna tell the story from the average soldier, you know, almost like a band of brothers, but you create a river version of that and that the stories of that siege and what those guys went through in that and that swamp if you it wasn't an island. it was a swamp, you know, joe supply martin's accounts and a french officer. i think it's the no not the floor right or do i have that right? i think you're the floor. yeah. i'm pretty sure yes this description of the fighting on that island. i think that would make if it was just on one hour documentary. i think it would make a
compelling story. well then. yeah, then you have the explosion of the augusta and then you have the battle of red bank. so that's that's like that's like through the roof. that's what i'm currently working on wow for mercy job. that's cool. right. i ran cross country in high school for practice. we used to report mercer back to the high school. that's awesome. that's awesome. i'm actually gonna give a shout out to my and compatriots because it's not within the past. it's only within the past like 10 years really that i've really learned about. the day of lexington and concord, you know, it's not just the battles of lexington and concord, but it's today. and and how people evacuate evacuated their houses, you know, you had women and children or old people and pregnant women and you know, leaving her houses and going out in the countryside. you have the you have the the conquered minuteman and with with some other joint-ins standing on a hill. past conquered bridge watching the british march past them.
not firing on them. they march past them to go to another house to look for artillery and it wasn't until the the british came back and holding on the other side of the bridge. that the firing finally took place, you know, so there was a question about whether they actually wanted to fire on the british and then towards the end of the battle you you had this these horrible. horrible bloody incidents closer into boston where the the british the british were that they cornered. um and if people saw that they'd be horrified. you know, what if they saw the true story of that entire day not only would be exhausting. but they'd be horrified. and yeah, and that's an event that everybody thinks they know everything about but it's not. you know, let's just so much that's not known about it, you know. and that's just a small microcosm of the entire war. there's just so much, you know, you could bring an experiences of women women with the army women women at home. trying to keep keep things together black blacks who who joined lord dunmore, you know.
it's you know, you could have you can have the story of colonel titus in colonel tie and in new jersey who basically committed an integrated group of whites and blacks loyalists. so yeah, there's there are so many really cool stories, and we could never trust anybody to do do it justice because they would methodox somehow but someone did say that you have ken burns do it. we're good right now. okay, ken burns. does it well, like what you say john about like having people see something that they don't really i i think that people view the american revolution as idealize in like a pain like watching crossing and delaware. they don't view it really is messy bloody difficult as actually was that's actually one of the things i actually do like about the patriot is that it focuses more on this military conflict because i think you know you watch a lot of things
and you know, the focus is on the causes the ideals the formation of our government and our country, which is all important and but you know, there was a war that had to happen in order for all that to happen and and being able to show that i really do like the idea of yeah like a band of brothers type mini series to try and show this i think a great unit to follow through would be the third virginia regiment which saw action in new york trenton princeton. brandywine germantown. was that valley forge does the the march down to charleston's cat? i mean probably end like braveheart where you know, these all guys all get captured or whatever, but you know, if you have you been talking to jim tomb i've been talking about this idea. i think any 250th film i would love to see if i'm sure there
will be some but i'd also love to get that dynamic of kind of back to travis's presentation of like that kind of where loyalties lie and how you figure that out? i think there's a lot that can be said, you know, we we automatically are like, oh, yeah the british they were the bad guys and we won and that's fine. but there's so much more to it than that and and that would be really interesting to explore into a deep dive into like a band of brothers type series because you can really explore that. yeah, yeah. no, it's gonna say early on i booked there. i read the i got into reading kenneth roberts, you know robin arms rundle and then i stumbled on his book of all over wiswell about a loyalist. what a great book. i mean he takes a little he takes him from from boston all the way down to to the carolinas. and you know you get it you get a view, you know for being written in the 30s or 40s. it's still great book. and he gives you a whole view of
the lord the whole loyal side and brings it down to a human level and that you know, that's that's the kind of stuff. that's yeah. really amazing. i'm gonna interject here because i think it'd be awesome to do a social network of the 1775 70 after lexington concord and how they're able to pass this message on from like all the way down to the carolinas by april 28th. and i mean everyone remembers playing as a kid the game of telephone in a classroom by the time i got around 12 kids. the story is distorted. so it's amazing that the story passed down the easter seaboard and it actually still had a semblance of truth. i think we cool to have like the mark zuckerberg of the 18th century and do the social network committees of correspondence, but then you version word. we're ends up at the end of this wall screwed up. yeah. i mean the poor people in georgia going what's going on. so we have this from billy
coming in washington is not known for being a tactical genius in your opinion. who was the best battlefield commander in the an army wow, i'm gonna think about that mark your excuse since you're george washington fanatic will will excuse you from yeah. well, i'll go first and okay and while yeah, tactically he made some mistakes is as i mentioned in my talk earlier his battlefield composure inspired his man and help me to some of the victories that was important. they just also meld it into our last discussion, too. they're really does need to be a good buy-offic on washington. although i will say i think david morris's portrayal of washington and john adams is the perb and i think that the best version i think jeff daniels is all right job in in the crossing, but but nobody even more all portray him to old rob
says he said he's too old. yes. he looks old, but he composure the reserve the dignity. he nails it with that. rob is setting off camera here right now. just showed the shoulders and was like, i'm not even on the panel and i'm being yeah name jobs. i'm gonna say yeah. i was just gonna say even if it's just based on cowpens. it's just you know with it with a really tiny force at the end of his tether. and and basically his tactics inspired greens, you know greens it it feel for courthouse. um where they basically you know beat the crap out of that they lost the battle, but they decimated the british ranks. so yeah, i mean. that's what i was gonna say. that's who i was gonna say. i i mean you've got this gruff.
a kind of soldier whose leading and inspiring, you know, the the soldiers and read them, but he's also taking advantage of as much information as he's got and using it and and the way he's able to like i just really love the fact that he took what was a misconception about militia and used it to his advantage at calvin's successfully and it's kind of like i mean, how can you not like daniel morgan so he was gonna be who i would have said but to defend to defend washington before he became a real bureau cat bureaucrat william was the onset of 77 and especially 78 and went through the rest of the war. i mean, he you know, he he was a bureaucrat before that, but he at the battles of trend in princeton. he i think he would let loose he didn't have as many responsibilities. it was basically do or die. and so his his tactical just in those two battles is his
technical. you know verve right there was was probably enough to keep him up top. and like i said, i think after that he did his responsibility just over really overwhelmed them and he was kind of keeping army together and trying to direct you know, all the division commanders and but i i think at trenton and princeton he was able to let loosen and become a basically a small unit commander to a certain extent. for preparation only during the war just agree with that because i'm racking my brain trying to run through everybody that i worked with. like in terms of research in them. and because i focus so much on the 77 campaign, he's got a bunch of lackluster people wondering man. yeah, yes answer billy was looking for is what brian threw up in the in the chat and that's benedict arnold being the best battlefield commander in the sense of and i think that's on
his the boot monument. that's up there at saratoga saying that he is the most brilliant of the american commanders and brian mentions. yeah, he won on land and see at belcher island in and was known as a particularly, you know enabling general, but yeah, i think all everybody's view of him has been obviously tarnished by his ultimate trees and so but yeah tactically speaking. i mean, yeah, i think any argument can made that arnold is one of the best tactical commanders on the american side. but yeah as michael he said he doesn't have much competitions. yeah. it so here's a another question now that billy's not allowed to ask any more questions. and so he's already been disqualified in the background of most of our screens.
here are multiple volumes of books that we have a question came in and said, what is your pre-2000 or non-modern favorite book on the american revolution? it can't be the merging rev war series or ones that have been published by service beatty or other publishers like they were good soldiers. so now my my mine is mine is charles royster a revolutionary people at war. i mean my i mean admittedly the continental army focus. even though i do two branch out a little bit, but that's that's a that's a magnificent book. it really is and it'll really open your eyes as far as motivation and and you know brings it down to a personal level. i mean there are others but you know, that's that for me that stands the top. it's gonna be a journal or diary that somebody had published. sure. well, yo honeywell's diary. yeah. there you go. yeah, that's another one. that's a great one. yeah passionate your officer.
i'm gonna piggyback off of mike and say joseph plum martin. yeah, that's what i was thinking. i don't know how much of his information is a hundred percent, but it really immerses you in the experience. i think actually i'll give you another one that's not a dire journal and i won't even say specific one the series of books that feel free. no press published for the bicentennial. oh, yeah. yeah great set of books for how old they are. yeah there there are a few which are few which are real are like really simplified and they're okay, but but there's some brandywine long island saratoga, there are phenomenal and then some of the other really off the wall books. yeah. they're so good. i'm trying to look across the room of my room where books know it's not early 2000 are pretty thousands, but derek beck's series on igniting the american revolution is one of them if you've had the chance to read it's a two-volume series basically on the prelude into the american revolution.
igniting and i'm trying to bring up the other title because it's missing the war before independence. oh two volume series. i almost read like fiction when you read through and you're like realize that you get to the footnotes or the end notes at the end of the book. you're like, oh it's done. there's a type of box, but what's the other name? derek beck? oh great. yeah 90 and the warped for independence got to bring it up to 1776 because the questions all it's always baffled me is obviously that oh, well, we just start a war. how did he become patriots so far spending years at george washington birthplace national monument. where do you become from a british? prevents your officer to suddenly leading the american revolution like was that everyone wants that one moment where they split but it's not really that one moment that it switches but so yeah, so i know i'm struggling as moderator because i have to interject because i'm a history. yeah guy, but mark besides death. what is the luck pre-2000.
i mean i would say i mean one of the best i think is is douglas southall freeman watching biography and i think they because of how he takes it as far as from washington's point of view. what information he's gathering at the time, you know, it's a great campaign study from his point of view and the other one i'd say is a devil of a whipping about the battle calvin's because babit's takes it not only the, you know, the accounts of the people who fought in the battle, but also using archeology and experiment, you know reenactors and experimental archeology to the judge distance in place and stuff like that and trying to you know on the landscape, you know being able to interpret that battle. i just think it by taking in all these different aspects. it really brings it to life. and so yeah, i would argue.
so without bus is all we have someone is asking is anyone currently working on a new biography of daniel morgan if you think he needs a new biography of out there he's been talked about a little bit but so now so i'm sorry whoever asked that question. nobody in this panel is currently working on a daniel morgan fired. they're right something about him not too long. yeah. it was pretty good. someone else. okay. i was gonna say i will recommend because my mike was talking about hazen's regiment how holly mayor who did a book back in the 90s called belonging to the army about camp hours. she just wrote a book on hazen's regiment. and i haven't gotten it yet, but knowing how i am from what everything i've heard. i heard of it. it's it's sounds like it's good. it's really good. so that's that's a unit study. you're getting more unit studies out of the revolution which used to be a civil war thing.
so you're finally getting to get more and more unit studies. we're also seeing someone add it's a question for blaine, but i'm gonna add to it as a he said a future symposium topic could be the race to the dan river after the battle of cow pens. we've seen a lot of southern literature on this southern gambit or to the ends of the earth or all into the world. why do you think historians are focusing on this on this race to dan? probably could because green green was them. he was a masterful. um not a tactician, but you know an operational commander. i mean he he was amazing for for what he did in the south, you know, basically leading cornwalls on a long run. and let him let him basically just you know take his army onto the rocks into carolina's even though even though the army survived. i mean, you know, he ran one hell of a good race.
and he kept his army intact, which is what washington did on a larger scale. plus the subsisting yourself into carolinas is not easy. he knows as corn wells found out but also, you know as the american commanders as green found out. that's it. that's a huge, you know, the fact that he was quartermaster for a period during the valley forge winter and afterwards i mean that that was a huge huge part of what enabled him to do that campaign so successfully really so yeah. it's a it's a fascinating. it's a fascinating campaign and the fact that it's it was done with the with a minimum of of bang bang shoot them ups, you know, i mean it was it was a lot of maneuvering. so, yeah, it's i second that. yes, i think it's good for any you know, focus on the the southern campaigns during the revolution because i think you know until yeah again as much as you hate it the patriot i i feel like you know there really
wasn't there's not much focus on how important these battles were and and you know, obviously you have the american civil war that you know, most of the population has some sort of emotional or intellectual attachment to and then but you know the revolution playing such an important role that like it's often overlooked. so i think that it's great, you know as we start nearing the the 250 at that, you know, i hope that there's yeah more interest in encouragement and researching and learning more about the the southern campaigns our revolution because they are yeah pretty significant. and and yeah, so i think it's great, you know if it's greens march to the dan or go for courthouse or calvin. all sin or any of these things, you know, i think it's great. so keep it coming. it's a lot greener morgan the best partnerships strategic and tactical. is there a better partnership
than those two gentlemen in the american revolution? mmm, washington and knox. oh, yeah. yeah. from from from seven from 70 70 late 75 76 onwards. yeah, right. the only thing they really kills me. is that after the revolution and when washing his president or even after washing his presidency during the quasi war wash and puts hamilton to lead the army in front of knox that i think really hurt knox's feelings. but yeah, i think they've always been did you look? but sandra what happened to germantown? oh, you know every everybody has it. everybody has a as a failing now and again, you know, really
that's actually how knox died. i think someone goes what happened to germantown. it's when he took that i yeah, he had a hiccup there but military to leave a castle in your rear. you're gonna be fired up. here we go. do we need a therapy session on henry knox determantown. michael can get it out of this system here. so it's gonna have to let her shock. i think tell me that there's somebody else. i did one of these other i forget what round table wasn't somebody was trying to say that sullivan was a blame for all the army's us throughout the war war guys. wow, the french may agree with you, but that's a and newport there. but look at that scapegoat
there. yeah, i mean, so all right. let's test your expertise as historians here. we talked a lot about myths and basic conceptions of the war. most of them have been on the military side of things outside of the military sphere. is there a myth or misconception that the general populace has becoming ingrained with that you would like to reverse we're going to start right now. we're gonna reverse the trend. so a myth outside the military of the american revolution. hmm i hate the most basic one would be that all the colonists supported the war effort. i mean and we kind of hit on that with the loyalist discussion that i but i think there is a misconception out there from average americans that everybody was for independence. yeah, i'd agree with that. yeah. yeah, that's mine. mike's claiming it and claim it.
so i'm gonna reverse i'm gonna throw this out there that i mean as it becomes a more world war with france and spain everything going on. we have this misconception that we are the 13 colonies are the most important colonies in the british empire, but you actually notice that the british evacuate philadelphia and where did troops go they go down to the caribbean or west indies they go to the florida so forth because they are vastly more important few years ago called the bc time before covid. i was able to go to barbados and the whole island has tunnels dog underwear, they could bring infantry and calvary a guy could sit on a horse and go into the tunnels of barbados. go across the island come out on the other side. was that how important the island of barbados was to to the british? and so i think that's misconception that when the american colonies your boat. it's the biggest issue in in the british empire and i think we
that because obviously we are americans and so we think we're kind of a big deal as they say the kids say today, but throwing it out there. yeah the piggyback off that bill, you know, i think we all could think that when we did win our independence that we were then this world player that was out there, you know, and what would the reality was was, you know, they find the treaty and then every european country was kind of like a bunch of vultures standing around these colonies waiting to pick these people all because they think that we would be able to stand as our own country. and i think that's why it's so important when you follow early american history up through past the war of 1812 until we actually you know, make ourself a player on the world fair. i mean you mentioned ewald's diary you all that guys are up in canada. basically, you know waiting for this experiment and american
liberty to collapse and then you have these calls up for the pickings. and so, you know, i i think we tend to think of ourselves of we you know, it's all happened, you know washing cross the delaware. we won yorktown. we became a country we signed the constitution and we became a world power and it really didn't play out that way and there's all these kinds of, you know constant, you know the whole idea of this being an experiment is it couldn't be more true. that's a perfect word for it because and you know always until this very day, you know, we're still experimenting as whole idea of you know, someone argue the revolution that really hasn't even stopped. we constantly are redefining ourselves and you know how this whole idea of self-government, you know, you know tested during the civil war, you know, and it constantly being tested and so it's kind of interesting to to view ourselves not as a world power that was started in 1776, but really something that
evolved from, you know, 13 independent states. their independence bought this bloody war and you know continue to make it work over the years. for the england england had had the english channel and an avian. we were we were lucky enough to have the the atlantic ocean and no navy. otherwise, we may have not as survived. someone actually put in the chat a great comment by blaine says who's misconception. is that the declaration of independence was signed on july 4th. yeah, i mean one of the most obvious and it's actually a month later than most. i think right august 2nd or august 4th. i think that a lot of the folks come in beside it getting some of the dates mixed up but just yeah throwing out there is one of the major misconceptions. that also just to kind of be part of that is also you know. one thing and that was it like
okay declaration of independence and now we're off and running that it was really this big buildup and it wasn't just one single thing that we were like, let's all get together and make this decision. i mean, you have two continental congresses that happen and there they're having these conversations and trying to figure out if this is the right thing to do and it's not just one time. they all got into a room sign this declaration and done that was really complicated and it ties into some of those. thoughts and ideas that we've been talking about with some of the the people who are experiencing this history where it's like, you know, which side do you pick? do you -- the pick the comfort of british rule where you know, you're protected you've got, you know troops that are going to be able to or british troops that can help protect you against native american attacks, or do you you know rebell against the only government you've known and it's it's so complicated and so complex. and it builds to yes, july 4th
independence, whatever but there's so much more even after that before we can really get to kind of the heart of okay here we're doing this. only figures the autumn after the declaration was was signed. it looked all over it looked like it was that was going to be the end right there, you know, i mean and then later on you had the economy was horrible. i mean it was you know, the was rampant inflation and they're having a hard time feeding the army and keeping it together and you know, it's so it went waves during the war really did. um, and again a lot of people just don't realize that they really don't realize it realize that at all what a near-run thing. it was a number of times. okay, our first september 11th, september 1776. it's john adams and ben franklin are meeting with the hell brothers to discuss. the peace commission the peace commission, you know that's only a few months after they signed
the declaration. yeah. yeah. yeah, i think a good word is is the fragility of the whole thing. i think yeah, people don't realize how fragile everything was and that it was all yeah, it could have all gone away anytime. they're at numerous points throughout the war. so it's a it's pretty amazing that it did fall into place the way did it's this we got a little over 10 minutes left. let me i'm gonna throw hand grenade into this. not just one of the course obviously we are dealing with a bass pandemic inoculations vaccinations, washington. introduces inoculation or very least and to the kind of army. so with that being said besides it's the small box inoculation. what is one thing on the
periphery that actually let me go back to that. let me ask. is that a good idea? what are you on the view of smallpox the epidemic that the belief that smallpox would have been a major player if washington does not inoculate. is that a myth? is that blown out of proportion because you hear a lot about all these this virus being so five, so is that just 21st century reading onto it? later on after the war you have the yellow fever epidemic. so you hear about these two big viruses, are they blown out of proportion? or are they pretty accurate on how detrimental they could have been if they didn't do such fast efforts like inoculation? it it would have decimated the army and i mean you look you look look at what it did to the northern army right after the retreat out of canada. i mean it even killed i forget i forget his name, but i thought it was john. i'm not she said yeah john
thomas even killed john thomas, but on the islands up and up in the saint lawrence. they are i think was surreal. basically, there was there was a smallpox camp in the middle island, and it was just full of bodies and and and to these people, i mean that the fact that the fact that he began in spring of 77, maybe early winter 77 with the smallpox camps. i that may i think that may use difference. i mean just just after your town. i mean, you know, we had this huge victory at yorktown and then i think is where i think is john house diary and a lot of other counts the army is being decimated by. well somebody smallpox, but also i think my other diseases i think it was typhus and other things that as a as they headed north from from yorktown to head back to to the northern states. they were being dropped off at different different different parts and i mean to philadelphia hospitals and barracks were full of these guys.
and yeah it i think it really would have been a real mess and if you've ever read about if you ever read about the effect of smallpox have on people which i just did it for an article not too long ago. that's freaking horrific. it's on it's it's a horrific disease. i mean if it doesn't. at the very least. it's probably gonna leave you disfigured you know with with pox cars all over your face. and it's liable to i forget what the percentage of deaths from from smallpox was but it was relatively high, but it was a horrible death too. it's just a horrible. it's it me of a ebola. um, that's that's the kind of death it was. so yeah, i think it was it was a huge thing that you did that the you know, he got smallpox vaccine or inoculation. into the army at least i decided to throw disclaimer. i just finished the box. i was like on my head here
yesterday and it was like wow, like how like i mean literally went through until you said the canadian army and the militia so forth it's killed what three out of every every soldier it killed on the battlefield all the two or three would die of smallpox and so forth. so i just didn't know what what you guys thought about it. so i thought i'd bring it up because obviously you can't escape current news today about a different virus that is wrapping our world. so well connected in the fact that we've we've we've eradicated knock wood. we've eradicated smallpox at this point, which is, you know, another unbelievable huge thing. i mean, you know, i think it's the i think it's one of the few diseases. we've actually been able to eradicate. so and also just to talk about misconceptions, you know, i think that just how deadly all this stuff. was you know, first of all how deadly the whole war was in the sense that you know, you know about 25,000 americans die about
25,000 crown forces die. i mean you're talking 50,000 people deaths and you're talking about in the colonies that time you have a little over two and a half million people. that's all one percent of the whole population dies as a result of the war which you know into days population you're talking like three million people dying and you're also talking, you know in the majority of these deaths. yeah aren't battlefield deaths majority of them are from disease and just how you know, yeah terrible these disease is where and as you know, and as you mentioned, you know what we're experiencing now with covid and that's with all the science and technology we have can't imagine how terrifying it would be not knowing how these different diseases are being spread, you know, i wrote a whole blog post about 1793 yellow fever pandemic and philadelphia and just you know the total lack of understanding of how that disease spread.
i mean there they were wearing masks lighting bonfires in the streets, you know doing all these things not realizing that was the mosquitoes that were passing this disease around and so, you know, just the the fear they must have pervaded society at that time, you know how they were able to deal with that kind of uncertainty. you know, it's it makes you we should all be grateful. we live in a time very we do because it's it would have been terrifying not knowing yeah how how often death would be coming around everybody's door. i mean you mentioned john mentioned yorktown the camp fevers george, washington's stepson catches camp fever and dies just a couple weeks after the surrender at yorktown. i mean this did not yeah, he did not choose between class. or or skin color or anything else like that. everybody was a lot of people getting a sick but people are dying left and right and it was a common thing that everybody
had a deal with and so it's yeah, like i said, we should be grateful we live the time here. that's a great point. i mean, we always talk about that other war that happens in houses big the population was and the deaths and so forth. that's i think one of the misconceptions of the american revolution is how much death and dying and loss of life. there was i mean one percent of the population is a astronomical figure at that time and i think that gets all written off because of later wars and so forth. but yeah great point there mark so we got about five minutes left like to include let's go around to top of my screen from michael all the way down vanessa your last no offense, but we have other meetings to attend together. so that's last but any last smith's misconceptions hindsights that weren't covered michael i mean just because of the work that i do i think
people understand how much maneuvering these troops went through in between these battles. i think people see battles that set piece things and don't realize what goes on in between them and how it affects both arms. and i just know working on my german town book the amount of maneuvering washington does between brandywine and germantown and the miles those guys put on in that basically three week period is insane. i don't know the number of tough my head, but it's probably close to 60 70 miles that they're putting on just marching not mentioning the other skirmishes and minor engagements that takes place. i don't think people appreciate that aspect the soldier life when they you know, they can understand that conflict the battle and what people go through but what about in between those battles and how does it affect their fighting ability going in the next battle? i think i just think that's something that needs to be appreciated a little bit more. all right. no, that's great point. thanks mike, john.
personal number. um, i'll actually go back to african americans or americans of africa descent. i mean is you you had you had you had the number that that actually fought for you know for the week side. that's just the cause of independence, but then you had it all the africans who? this didn't necessarily fight for the british, but they they went over to the british side, and that wasn't done because the british were against slavery that was done as a really pragmatic. pragmatic strike against the americans against you know against against the rebels. they did they did promise in their freedom. but but when you look at how they were treated during yorktown campaign, especially when they caught smallpox, which largely was then and they were left by the wayside or they where they were chased out of the british lines basically defend for themselves. you know, there were they were basically pawns, you know, there
were pawns, you know of the british and and the situation at the time, you know again you some people here about the book with negroes the end of the war about all the all the the black americans who were who went to canada and, you know gain their freedom some were sent the liberia, um someone to west indies a few fewer actually rein slaved. but you know, it wasn't because of this this great large. yes that the great this great idea of the british wanted freedom for blacks. it was it was a pragmatic move. i mean that the british actually stood stood by the african americans or the blacks at the end of the war says a lot for him because washington wanted them returned, that's why the book of negroes was made washington wanted a list a documentation of all the blacks that had been basically quote unquote stolen from americans and he wanted them returned but carlton refused to do that, so that that's that itself is a shining light, but but their treatment post war in canada was not always good.
you know again, it's a really it's really tough. and not a you know, and i don't mean it's so fun, but not again not a black and white situation. um, so that's my two cents. just you, john mark. yeah, now, you know and yeah, i'll go back to you know, the campaign. i mentioned trenton princeton and you know, we just talked about how fragile everything was. you know, i think nothing nothing shows that more than that campaign and although the the myth is this painting of washing crossing the delaware confidently and going on to great victory in the founding of the country that the time it was how close we came to actual defeat and you know, i love this quote, you know from john adams to his wife when he says posterity. you will never know how much it
costs the present generation to preserve your freedom. i hope you will make good use of it. if you do not i shall repent in heaven that i ever took half the pains preserve it. it's a great quote to realize we should be. and that in the all of this that this entire the country as we know it today, we're not have been possible without the the sacrifices and the efforts of these people 250 years ago. so yeah, i think it's more not to remember it's not this myth. this was actual actually happened. no, great. thanks mark for sharing and this smiley. yeah, you're making me follow that like, oh man. he's a fellow park ranger. so you i know i got a one of them right now. i i think i it kind of piggybacks a little bit on what mark was saying that you know,
there's a essentially that misconception of the fact that maybe this history doesn't matter or that it's not relevant to today, but it is and i think that's our biggest challenge going forward into the 250th is you know, obviously we're commemorating a lot of this a lot of these events but really finding those deeper connections and truly understanding why this history is important. connecting with these stories that are both unknown and untold and and really just seeing how this these stories are are relevant to today's modern time, and i think i think we've got a lot of work ahead of us. but events like this and continued programming are what's going to help us get there. and so hopefully one day we can dispel the misconception that a 250 year old history doesn't matter anymore because it does all right. so, uh both thank you.
all mike john mark and vanessa for being part of the panel great questions and answering thank you for all those who put questions in the chat as well. so for the collision, i'll pass it over to liz here. to end our day well, thanks again. all this was really amazing, and we've got a lot of love in the chat for our full day of conversation and i got to say it's my my tavern heart is happy because these are the types of things that would have happened in our public dining room these conversations and these debates and we kind of pick up at gatsby's tavern museum we pick up from all of this this these stories that we've heard over the course of today and we pick up we won. yay. what happens next? what do we do? how do what do we what do we become so i highly encourage you to come visit us in alexandria because we explore that story of what happens next and it's not it's just as complex and messy
as the revolution and prior. so again, thank you to our speakers. thank you to everyone at home and as we always say at gatsby's tavern museum a haza to everyone. american history tv on c-span 3 every weekend documenting america's story funding comes from these television companies and more including comcast. are you think this is just a community center? no, it's way more than that comcast is partnering with a thousand community centers to create wi-fi enabled listings. so students from low-income families can get the tools. they need to be ready for anything. comcast along with these television companies supports american history tv on c-span 3 as a public service. to market 60th anniversary the white house historical association has published a book about the irish immigrant who
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