Jim Christ

Sep 152021
 

On Line Meeting

George Washington claimed that anyone who attempted to provide an accurate account of the war for independence would be accused of writing fiction. At the time, no one called it the “American Revolution”: former colonists still regarded themselves as Virginians or Pennsylvanians, not Americans, while John Adams insisted that the British were the real revolutionaries, for attempting to impose radical change without their colonists’ consent.

With The Cause, Ellis takes a fresh look at the events between 1773 and 1783, recovering a war more brutal than any in American history save the Civil War and discovering a strange breed of “prudent” revolutionaries, whose prudence proved wise yet tragic when it came to slavery, the original sin that still haunts our land. Written with flair and drama, The Cause brings together a cast of familiar and forgotten characters who, taken together, challenge the story we have long told ourselves about our origins as a people and a nation.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link  https://www.amazon.com/Cause-American-Revolution-Discontents-1773-1783/dp/1631498983

About Joseph J Ellis:

Joseph J. Ellis is one of the nation’s leading scholars of American history. The author of nine books, Ellis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Founding Brothers: the Revolutionary Generation and won the National Book Award for American Sphinx, a biography of Thomas Jefferson. His in-depth chronicle of the life of our first President, His Excellency: George Washington, was a New York Times bestseller.

Ellis’ essays and book reviews appear regularly in national publications, such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The New Republic, and The New Yorker. Ellis’s commentaries have been featured on CBS, CSPAN, CNN, and the PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, and he has appeared in several PBS documentaries on early America, including “John and Abigail [Adams]” for PBS’s The American Experience and a History Channel documentary on George Washington.

Ellis has taught in the Leadership Studies program at Williams College, the Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College, and the United States Military Academy at West Point.  He lives in Western Massachusetts with his wife Eillen Wilkins Ellis and two dogs.  He is the father of three sons.

Aug 132021
 

Online Meeting – 7:00pm

For most of the eighteenth century, British protestantism was driven neither by the primacy of denominations nor by fundamental discord between them. Instead, it thrived as part of a complex transatlantic system that bound religious institutions to imperial politics. British imperial protestantism proved remarkably effective in advancing both the interests of empire and the cause of religion until the war for American independence disrupted it. That Revolution forced a reassessment of the role of religion in public life on both sides of the Atlantic. Religious communities struggled to reorganize within and across new national borders. Religious leaders recalibrated their relationships to government. If these shifts were more pronounced in the United States than in Britain, the loss of a shared system nonetheless mattered to both nations.Sweeping and explicitly transatlantic, Religion and the American Revolution demonstrates that if religion helped set the terms through which Anglo-Americans encountered the imperial crisis and the violence of war, it likewise set the terms through which both nations could imagine the possibilities of a new world.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Religion-American-Revolution-Published-University/dp/1469662647

 

About Kate Carté

Kate Carté (PhD., University of Wisconsin) is an associate professor of history at Southern Methodist University.  She is the author of Religion and Profit: Moravians in Early America (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009), and she has published articles in Church History, the William and Mary Quarterly, and Early American Studies, as well as a variety of edited collections. Her latest book is, Religion and the American Revolution: An Imperial History, chronicles how that conflict transformed Anglo-American religion between 1763 and 1792.

Jul 162021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

It was 1778, and the recent American victory at Saratoga had netted the U.S a powerful ally in France. Many, including General George Washington, presumed France’s entrance into the war meant independence was just around the corner.

Meanwhile, having lost an entire army at Saratoga, Great Britain pivoted to a “southern strategy.” The army would henceforth seek to regain its southern colonies, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, a highly profitable segment of its pre-war American empire. Deep into 1780 Britain’s new approach seemed headed for success as the U.S. economy collapsed and morale on the home front waned. By early 1781, Washington, and others, feared that France would drop out of the war if the Allies failed to score a decisive victory that year. Sir Henry Clinton, commander of Britain’s army, thought “the rebellion is near its end.” Washington, who had been so optimistic in 1778, despaired: “I have almost ceased to hope.”

Winning Independence is the dramatic story of how and why Great Britain-so close to regaining several southern colonies and rendering the postwar United States a fatally weak nation ultimately failed to win the war. The book explores the choices and decisions made by Clinton and Washington, and others, that ultimately led the French and American allies to clinch the pivotal victory at Yorktown that at long last secured American independence.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Winning-Independence-Decisive-Revolutionary-1778-1781/dp/1635572762

 

About John Ferling

John Ferling is Professor Emeritus of History at the State University of West Georgia. A leading authority on American Revolutionary history, he has appeared in many documentaries and has written numerous books, including Almost a Miracle: The American Victory in the War for Independence, Adams vs. Jefferson: The Tumultuous Election of 1800, The First of Men: A Life of George Washington, Setting the World Ablaze: Washington, Adams, and Jefferson in the American Revolution, and the award-winning A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic.

Jun 082021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

The French were the archenemies of the British and her American colonies, particularly after the French and Indian War which was begun by George Washington. So, why did America look to the French as their principal ally in the American Revolution and why did General George Washington choose a Frenchman as his chief engineer? This biography of Louis Duportail, founder and first Commandant of the Army Corps of Engineers, begins by exploring those questions. It then explores the life of this man, who is virtually unknown in America and less known in his native France.

This is an unique biography about an overlooked, even obscure, French officer that was instrumental in the American cause for independence. As a complete biography, it covers his return to France and his service in the French army. Cementing his role in the seminal events of the era, readers will also learn of his problems under the Reign of Terror and his escape to the United States where he purchased a quiet farm near Valley Forge. It concludes with his unusual death at sea and the problems of settling his estate. Duportail died in the greatest anonymity, in the greatest indifference, without earthly burial, without military honors, a dedicated monument to his glory in service to France or the United States, and without intervention of his brothers in arms to honor and recall his memory.

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Washingtons-Engineer-Louis-Duportail-Creation/dp/1633886565

 

About Norman Desmarais

Norman Desmarais is professor emeritus at Providence College and an active reenactor. He is a member of Le Régiment Bourbonnais, the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment and the Brigade of the American Revolution. He is the author of Guide to the American Revolutionary War series (six volumes about the war on land and seven volumes about the war at sea and overseas). He is also the editor-in-chief of The Brigade Dispatch, the journal the Brigade of the American Revolution and has translated the Gazette Françoise, the French newspaper published in Newport, RI by the French fleet that brought the Count de Rochambeau and 5800 troops to America in July 1780. It is the first known service newspaper published by an expeditionary force. He has also translated the journal of Louis François Bertrand Dupont d’Aubevoye de Lauberdière which was published on May 18, 2021. The Count de Lauberdière was General Rochambeau’s nephew and aide-de camp.

Apr 062021
 
Online Meeting – 7:00pm

A revelatory narrative of the 535 Pennsylvania and New Jersey privateers, privately owned ships of war some called pirates. Manned by nearly 18,000 men, these privateers influenced the fight for American independence. From the halls of Congress to the rough waterfronts of Delaware River and Bay to the remote privateering ports of the New Jersey coast and into the Atlantic, a stirring portrait emerges of seaborne raiders, battles, and derring-do, as well as incredible escapes from the great British prison ships “vulgarly called Hell,” where more than 11,000 men perished. A work 40 years in the making extracted from archives in both Europe and America, it is a tale unrivaled by any Hollywood fiction.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Privateers-Revolution-Jersey-Coast-1775-1783/dp/0764350331

 

About Donald Grady Shomette

A graduate of Pratt Institute, nationally known maritime historian Donald Grady Shomette served for over two decades as a staff member of the Library of Congress. As a cultural resources consultant and marine archaeologist, he has been engaged by myriad museums, universities, and governments. He has worked internationally under the sponsorships of the National Geographic Society, National Park Service, US Navy, and others. Author of numerous books, and contributor to many encyclopedias and anthologies of history and archaeology, his writings have also appeared in such publications as National Geographic, History and Technology, and Sea History. He is twice winner of the prestigious John Lyman Book Award for Best American Maritime History, a recipient of the Calvert Prize for historic preservation, and holds an honorary PhD from the University of Baltimore.

Jan 222021
 

Online Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Dr. Holly A. Mayer and she will be talking about her book Congress’s Own: A Canadian Regiment, the Continental Army, and American Union

Colonel Moses Hazen’s 2nd Canadian Regiment was one of the first “national” regiments in the American army. Created by the Continental Congress, it drew members from Canada, eleven states, and foreign forces. “Congress’s Own” was among the most culturally, ethnically, and regionally diverse of the Continental Army’s regiments—a distinction that makes it an apt reflection of the union that was struggling to create a nation.

The 2nd Canadian, like the larger army, represented and pushed the transition from a colonial, continental alliance to a national association. The problems the regiment raised and encountered underscored the complications of managing a confederation of states and troops.

In this enterprising study of an intriguing and at times “infernal” regiment, Holly A. Mayer marshals personal and official accounts—from the letters and journals of Continentals and congressmen to the pension applications of veterans and their widows—to reveal what the personal passions, hardships, and accommodations of the 2nd Canadian can tell us about the greater military and civil dynamics of the American Revolution. Congress’s Own follows congressmen, commanders, and soldiers through the Revolutionary War as the regiment’s story shifts from tents and trenches to the halls of power and back.

Interweaving insights from borderlands and community studies with military history, Mayer tracks key battles and traces debates that raged within the Revolution’s military and political borderlands wherein subjects became rebels, soldiers, and citizens. Her book offers fresh, vivid accounts of the Revolution that disclose how “Congress’s Own” regiment embodied the dreams, diversity, and divisions within and between the Continental Army, Congress, and the emergent union of states during the War for American Independence.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link https://www.amazon.com/Congresss-Own-Continental-Campaigns-Commanders/dp/080616851X

 

About Dr. Holly A. Mayer

Holly A. Mayer is Professor Emerita of History at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh and the author of Belonging to the Army: Camp Followers and Community during the American Revolution. Holly A. Mayer is an historian of early America. She taught at Duquesne for decades enlightened by many super students and colleagues. Her positions included History Department chair between 2007 and 2013 and Interim Associate Provost for Academic Affairs from 2017 to 2019. Dr. Mayer was also the visiting Harold K. Johnson Chair of Military History at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in 2016-2017.

She continues to be actively engaged with history as a researcher, editor, and author. Her primary interests include the social, cultural, and military histories of late eighteenth-century North America.

Jan 082021
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Donald F Johnson and he will be talking about his book Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of the Revolution

In Occupied America: British Military Rule and the Experience of the Revolution, Donald F Johnson chronicles the everyday experience of ordinary people living under military occupation during the American Revolution. Focusing on day-to-day life in port cities held by the British Army, Johnson recounts how men and women from a variety of backgrounds navigated harsh conditions, mitigated threats to their families and livelihoods, took advantage of new opportunities, and balanced precariously between revolutionary and royal attempts to secure their allegiance.

Between 1775 and 1783, every large port city along the Eastern seaboard fell under British rule at one time or another. As centers of population and commerce, these cities—Boston, New York, Newport, Philadelphia, Savannah, Charleston—should have been bastions from which the empire could restore order and inspire loyalty. Military rule’s exceptional social atmosphere initially did provide opportunities for many people—especially women and the enslaved, but also free men both rich and poor—to reinvent their lives, and while these opportunities came with risks, the hope of social betterment inspired thousands to embrace military rule. Nevertheless, as Johnson demonstrates, occupation failed to bring about a restoration of imperial authority, as harsh material circumstances forced even the most loyal subjects to turn to illicit means to feed and shelter themselves, while many maintained ties to rebel camps for the same reasons. As occupations dragged on, most residents no longer viewed restored royal rule as a viable option.

As Johnson argues, the experiences of these citizens reveal that the process of political change during the Revolution occurred not in a single instant but gradually, over the course of years of hardship under military rule that forced Americans to grapple with their allegiance in intensely personal and highly contingent ways. Thus, according to Johnson, the quotidian experience of military occupation directly affected the outcome of the American Revolution.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click on this link. https://www.amazon.com/Occupied-America-Military-Experience-Revolution-ebook/dp/B088LS81DD

 

About Donald F. Johnson

Donald F. Johnson is a historian of popular politics in Revolutionary America. He resides with his wife Sara, four cats, and a St. Bernard in Moorhead, Minnesota, where he teaches early American and public history at North Dakota State University. Before coming to NDSU in 2015 he earned a PhD in American History at Northwestern University, an MA in American Material Culture from the University of Delaware, and a BA in History and Anthropology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland

 

Jan 082021
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author Kathleen DuVal and she will be talking about her award winning book Independence Lost: Lives on the Edge of the American Revolution


Winner of the Journal of the American Revolution Book of the Year Award • Winner of the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of New Jersey History Prize • Finalist for the George Washington Book Prize

Over the last decade, award-winning historian Kathleen DuVal has revitalized the study of early America’s marginalized voices. Now, in Independence Lost, she recounts an untold story as rich and significant as that of the Founding Fathers: the history of the Revolutionary Era as experienced by slaves, American Indians, women, and British loyalists living on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

While citizens of the thirteen rebelling colonies came to blows with the British Empire over tariffs and parliamentary representation, the situation on the rest of the continent was even more fraught. In the Gulf of Mexico, Spanish forces clashed with Britain’s strained army to carve up the Gulf Coast, as both sides competed for allegiances with the powerful Chickasaw, Choctaw, and Creek nations who inhabited the region. Meanwhile, African American slaves had little control over their own lives, but some individuals found opportunities to expand their freedoms during the war.

Independence Lost reveals that individual motives counted as much as the ideals of liberty and freedom the Founders espoused: Independence had a personal as well as national meaning, and the choices made by people living outside the colonies were of critical importance to the war’s outcome. DuVal introduces us to the Mobile slave Petit Jean, who organized militias to fight the British at sea; the Chickasaw diplomat Payamataha, who worked to keep his people out of war; New Orleans merchant Oliver Pollock and his wife, Margaret O’Brien Pollock, who risked their own wealth to organize funds and garner Spanish support for the American Revolution; the half-Scottish-Creek leader Alexander McGillivray, who fought to protect indigenous interests from European imperial encroachment; the Cajun refugee Amand Broussard, who spent a lifetime in conflict with the British; and Scottish loyalists James and Isabella Bruce, whose work on behalf of the British Empire placed them in grave danger. Their lives illuminate the fateful events that took place along the Gulf of Mexico and, in the process, changed the history of North America itself.

Adding new depth and moral complexity, Kathleen DuVal reinvigorates the story of the American Revolution. Independence Lost is a bold work that fully establishes the reputation of a historian who is already regarded as one of her generation’s best.

 

BOOK PURCHASE:  To purchase this book please click on this link  https://www.amazon.com/Independence-Lost-Lives-American-Revolution/dp/0812981200

 

Kathleen DuVal

Kathleen DuVal teaches Early American history and American Indian history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her previous books include The Native Ground: Indians and Colonists in the Heart of the Continent, winner of the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award from the Arkansas Historical Association. She is also co-editor of Interpreting a Continent: Voices from Colonial America.

Dec 282020
 

OnLine Meeting – 7:00pm

The speaker for this meeting is author John Knight and he will be talking about his new book War at Saber Point: Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion.

The American Loyalist Regiment Led by the Most Charismatic British Commander of the War

The British Legion was one of the most remarkable regiments, not only of the American Revolution, but of any war. A corps made up of American Loyalists, it saw its first action in New York and then engaged in almost every battle in the Southern colonies. Led by a twenty-four-year-old libertine who purchased his commission to escape enormous gambling debts, the Legion gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics. Excelling in “special operations,” they frequently overwhelmed the Continental forces they fought, becoming the most feared British regiment of the war.

Banastre Tarleton and the Americans he led have always been characterized as brutal, immoral villains—most recently in the movie, The Patriot. But this study subverts our pre-conceived notions of patriotism. The men who filled the Legions ranks were not weak-willed collaborators or treacherous renegades, but free men as motivated by conscience as the Patriots they battled. Few were wealthy. None had a vested stake in the British Government. Each believed that in defending the Crown; they were upholding the rule of law and preserving individual liberty.

These men followed Banastre Tarleton clear across America for years, sacrificing not only their families and homes but, in many instances, their lives. Self-interest could not have persuaded them to do this. Patriotism and fidelity did. Relying on first-hand accounts—letters, diaries, and journals—and other primary sources, War at Saber Point: Banastre Tarleton and the British Legion is the enthralling story of those forgotten Americans and the young Englishman who led them.

 

BOOK PURCHASE: To purchase this book please click here:  https://www.amazon.com/War-Saber-Point-Banastre-Tarleton/dp/1594163529

 

JOHN KNIGHT earned a joint honors degree in American History and Politics from Warwick University. He was a fine-art appraiser for a number of London-based auction houses including Christie’s and Bonhams before taking up writing and lecturing full-time. A regular contributor to the Journal of the American Revolution, he splits his time between homes in Nottingham, England, and Dutchess County, New York.

 

Sep 302020
 

OnLine Meeting

The speaker will be Virginia DeJohn Anderson. She is a history professor at the University of Colorado. Dr. Anderson has co-authored a U.S. history textbook, and three books on history. Her last book, The Martyr and the Traitor: Nathan Hale, Moses Dunbar, and the American Revolution, was the honorable mention recipient of the ARRTOP 2017 Book of the Year award. In addition to contrasting the lives of Nathaniel Hale and Moses Dunbar, Dr. Anderson’s book examines in great detail how the Revolutionary War impacted towns and non-soldiers in Connecticut.

In September 1776, two men from Connecticut each embarked on a dangerous mission. One of the men, a soldier disguised as a schoolmaster, made his way to British-controlled Manhattan and began furtively making notes and sketches to bring back to the beleaguered Continental Army general, George Washington. The other man traveled to New York to accept a captain’s commission in a loyalist regiment before returning home to recruit others to join British forces. Neither man completed his mission. Both met their deaths at the end of a hangman’s rope, one executed as a spy for the American cause and the other as a traitor to it.

2017 ARRTOP Book of the Year Award (Honorable Mention)

Neither Nathan Hale nor Moses Dunbar deliberately set out to be a revolutionary or a loyalist, yet both suffered the same fate. They died when there was every indication that Britain would win the American Revolution. Had that been the outcome, Dunbar, convicted of treason and since forgotten, might well be celebrated as a martyr. And Hale, caught spying on the British, would likely be remembered as a traitor, rather than a Revolutionary hero.

In The Martyr and the Traitor, Virginia DeJohn Anderson offers an intertwined narrative of men from very similar backgrounds and reveals how their relationships within their families and communities became politicized as the imperial crisis with Britain erupted. She explores how these men forged their loyalties in perilous times and believed the causes for which they died to be honorable. Through their experiences, The Martyr and the Traitor illuminates the impact of the Revolution on ordinary lives and how the stories of patriots and loyalists were remembered and forgotten after independence.

To purchase Ms Anderson’s book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Martyr-Traitor-Nathan-American-Revolution/dp/0190055626