J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Seven Founders

Last week guest blogger Ray Raphael laid out a challenge: Choose seven people to follow through the entire American Revolution whose stories, when combined, would tell the whole of that political, military, and social change.

I shared my thoughts, and Boston 1775 readers rose to the challenge with many more suggestions. I also promised to reveal the folks whom Ray chose to follow in Founders: The People Who Brought You a Nation, and here they are:

Choosing these particular people allowed Ray to play them off each other. For example, Dr. Young was one of the most radical and democratic politicians of the period while Laurens was fundamentally conservative. Warren strenuously opposed Morris, who in turn distrusted Young.

Washington, Martin, and Bigelow were all in the army at Valley Forge and Yorktown, but, holding different ranks, experienced the war in different ways. Morris and Laurens were very important figures in the civil government while Warren and Young wrote political essays and exercised behind-the-scenes influence. Washington, Morris, and Bigelow all invested in land development after the war; Martin was one of the small farmers who settled on such newly developed land. Only one of these people didn’t live to see Britain acknowledge American independence.

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